Author Topic: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)  (Read 32314 times)

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Offline KONDi

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The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« on: October 21, 2012, 11:30:49 PM »
Dear coin collectors and coin dealers,

Today I would like to introduce you a short history of old Shanghai bread token. I did some research about the most famous bread token in the world.

In general, everything we know about Shanghai tokens comes from the article "The Coins of Shanghai" by A. M. Tracey Woodward, published in the China Journal for August 1937 (shortly before his death), and reprinted that same year in the Bulletin of the Numismatic Society of China.

Hall & Holtz bread tokens:

The company began business in Shanghai in the mid 1800's (September 1855), was founded by Edward Hall and Andrew Holtz. Woodward interviewed workers at the Hall & Holtz company, which was still in business in the 1930's, and one of them told him in 1929 that the original tokens were made in England about 30 to 35 years earlier -- sometime in the 1890's (between 1899 to 1894) with a round hole in the center. Most collectors belive that these tokens were made around 1895.

In 1925 the business was sold to a Mr. J. Neil, so the counterstamp was put on beginning in 1925. To distinguish the old tokens from those issued under his authority, the round hole was repunched into a square hole and the letter "N" (for Neil) was stamped on them. So all the tokens were made around 1895, but those with a square hole and letter "N" were used in the 1920's and 1930's.

There is another type of Hall & Holtz token, which comes in values of one loaf (about 31mm) and one small loaf (26mm) with round centerhole and apparently in copper (or brass). These have on one side a long inscription in English, and on the other side, the value in English in the center, surrounded by a ring of Chinese characters. I have never seen one of these for sale, and they are not listed by Woodward. The second series of tokens, just mentioned, says in English "Estab. 1848" but this must refer to Holtz in business by himself before the partnership. Hall didn't arrive in Shanghai till 1850.

The location of Hall & Holtz Co., Ltd: Nanjing Road

The metal composition: copper-nickel (CuNi)
Diameter:
1) one loaf: 27,40mm - 27,50mm
2) half loaf: 33mm
The weights are not constant.
Woodward lists the half loaf at 106 to 111 grains and the one loaf at 175 to 184 grains. Woodward says they are sometimes found with counterstamped numbers.I would guess only 5 to 10 pieces have come up for sale in the past 40 years.

A half loaf with "N" sold on Ebay 22nd May 2011 for 898 USD:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/RARE-HALL-HOLTZ-LTD-SHANGHAI-CHINA-TRADE-TOKEN-/200607858979?item=200607858979&ViewItem=&nma=true&si=tZGY1%2F7bTE2kGrGvu2uVxHETnDo%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

On 27th Sep. 2012 identical piece sold for 699 USD:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/China-Shanghai-Hall-Holtz-c1898-1-2-Loaf-with-N-Token-RRR-/221128101122?nma=true&si=tZGY1%2F7bTE2kGrGvu2uVxHETnDo%3D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

In China there are many catalogs about old chinese tokens, like the page from this old chinese tokens' book. But I think the best catalog for old Shanghai token is: The chips and coupons in old Shanghai, which includes beautiful clear pictures of all tokens made in Shanghai and also some coupons.

More information about old Shanghai bread token you can find on:
http://www.virtualshanghai.net/Photos/Images?ID=150
and...
http://www.shme.com/old_shanghai/wing.htm

Thank you for your reading. I hope that you enjoy it:)

from Shanghai
KONDi
CCC member 368
2012.10.22
11:21am
« Last Edit: October 21, 2012, 11:34:04 PM by KONDi »
KONDi
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Offline KONDi

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Re: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2012, 05:18:16 AM »
Which half-loaf do you like?
PK N13
Nr 1 is my half-loaf and on right is half-loaf which I found from some auction house
and the winner is... N12
KONDi
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Offline KONDi

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Re: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2012, 05:27:14 AM »
Recently, I discovered also something very interesting.
I found on half loaf with round hole from 1895 number 3909 and on one loaf with square hole and "N" counterstamp there is number 3996. I believe it was made by the same person. But I have no idea what those number chopmarks could mean. Perhaps it could mean some store place in old Shanghai. I am wondering, did those 2 number chopmarks did this company or some other person. I think it will be very hard or impossible to find out. But who knows. What is your opinion about those 2 numbers?
KONDi
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Offline dragondollar

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Re: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« Reply #3 on: December 29, 2012, 06:00:05 AM »
For the PK, i think yours look better, the square hole is straight and there is no part of the design missing. The other token has a damaged 利.

Offline Bearcat

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Re: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2012, 05:31:36 PM »
Hey Kondi, I very much enjoy and appreciate you sharing your research...especially including the old photos of businesses which issued tokens in "Old Shanghai". Thanks!

Offline KONDi

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Re: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2013, 10:32:54 PM »
Dear Bearcat,

Thank you for your words of recognition. You are welcome. It is my pleasure to share information about those old Shanghai tokens with you guys :001_tongue:

Dear dragondollar,

Thank you for voting on my half loaf with "N" counterstamp from 1925:)
KONDi
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Offline KONDi

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Re: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2013, 10:41:40 PM »
Dear all,

I discovered recently a book, which is also a catalog about old Shanghai token.
Sheets are black and white and there are some information about this. This book is from 1991.
I think it is worth to have it if you are interested in old Shanghai tokens.
The other book, which is more like a catalog---The Chips and coupons in old Shanghai is from 2005.
So far those are the only 2 books available on a market about old Shanghai tokens.
I found some sample sheets from this book. So I would like to share with you.
I hope you will enjoy as always :tongue_smilie:
KONDi
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Offline KONDi

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Re: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2013, 10:53:37 PM »
1)Hu & Sun - Shanghai Tokens; Extensive text (Chinese), plus 170 tokens illustrated, rarity guide.  107p+31pl, sc, 1991

2)The Chips and Coupons in Old Shanghai; Mainly color plates of coupons and metallic tokens including brothel coins, gambling, amusement, bar, liquor, restauranat, bread & transportation in 30 chapters by type. Shanghai was China's foreign enclave, thus many items have western script. Gorgeous phoography complemented by old photos of shops and street scenes. Chinese text with English chapter headings.   279p, 8.5x11.5", hc, 2005

3)Smith, Kenneth & Kirk Catalogue of World Transportation Tokens (Etc.); Series of books in various editions, worldwide coverage (except USA). Not many Asia / Africa listings, though China, Egypt, India, Israel, Iran, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, and Turkey are represented.   (Original 1967 work covering all categories $20). Please take a look from a page which is about old Shanghai bus tokens.

I found this all here and just wanted to share with you guys:
http://www.coincoin.com/bkZZ.htm

If you will have those 3 books/catalogs, then it will help you to collect Old Shanghai tokens:)
KONDi
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Offline KONDi

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Re: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2013, 04:28:36 AM »
More information and reference you can find in this book about Hall & Holtz Ltd old Shanghai tokens.
Before Hall & Holtz Ltd used copper-nickel tokens before 1895, they were using some other tokens. I believe these were copper ones. But I am not sure.

I also found some glossary with name in English and Chinese of all old Shanghai companies:

http://www.virtualshanghai.net/Texts/Appendices?ID=10

Enjoy!:)
KONDi
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Re: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2013, 11:32:09 AM »
Dear all,

Today is my lucky day N30 N4
I bought ONE LOAF Hall & Holtz Ltd old Shanghai bread token from 1925 with "N" counterstamp.
It is really hard to find these ONE LOAF tokens! HALF LOAF tokens you can still find from time to time but ONE LOAF tokens (those from 1925 + "N" and square hole as also 1895 without "N" and round hole) it is really hard to find.
I think my ONE LOAF is in VF condition. The "N" counterstamp is not so clear and rotated with square whole and of course it is not so beautiful like this XF condition ONE LOAF with "N" counterstamp which I found on the Internet. However I think it is beautiful token after all.
So let's PK for my ONE LOAF (on the right side) and the other ONE LOAF (one left side) N13
I hope I can find one day ONE LOAF with round hole from 1895. This is the only one which is missing for this set :001_wub:

Dragondollar what do you think about my ONE LOAF? :001_rolleyes:
KONDi
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Offline dragondollar

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Re: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2013, 12:10:06 PM »
呵呵 this time your token does not win, even with the nice 包浆 :) But this is indeed an interesting piece. I have never seen these tokens here in Beijing. How much are those tokens worth?

Offline KONDi

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Re: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2013, 06:53:10 AM »
Dear dragondollar :001_smile:,

Thank you for your opinion. Yes, I know that this time my ONE LOAF wouldn't win, but I still love it :001_wub:
Now I am looking for similar bread token with round hole from 1895.
The one which I bought is from 1925 with "N" counterstamp. I took better photo of my 1925 old Shanghai bread token.
Now I know I won't get hungry, I will go to some bakery in Shanghai to get my ONE LOAF N16
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Re: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2013, 12:24:15 PM »
 :001_smile:

Offline KONDi

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Re: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2013, 08:16:31 AM »
"There is another type of Hall & Holtz token, which comes in values of one loaf (about 31mm) and one small loaf (26mm) with round centerhole and apparently in copper (or brass). These have on one side a long inscription in English, and on the other side, the value in English in the center, surrounded by a ring of Chinese characters."

According to this what I found out. These are ONE LOAF and ONE SMALL LOAF are made of copper and those are much more rarer than those made of copper-nickel.

BTW, I would like to apologize everyone who was reading this post, because I made mistake here. The correct diameter for each should be:

The metal composition: copper-nickel (CuNi)
Diameter:
1) one loaf: 33mm
2) half loaf: 27,40mm - 27,50mm


KONDi
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Offline KONDi

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Re: The mystery of bread token from old Shanghai (1895-1925)
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2013, 08:23:22 AM »
In this book:
Hu & Sun - Shanghai Tokens; Extensive text (Chinese), plus 170 tokens illustrated, rarity guide.
page nr 16-17-18-19 and 111-112 you can find information about those tokens (Photo in attachment).

Ma Chuande book: "Coinage in Shanghai Bound" 1999 you can find also some informaton about those tokens on page nr: 205-206 (photo nr: P1020847)
KONDi
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