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4 encased cents, reverse of indian head, off center, horseshoe and a vulcanite encased

Encased Cents of the 1901 Pan American Exposition

Pan American Exposition 1901 N.Y. U.S.A.

Pan American Exposition 1901 N.Y. U.S.A.

       

1901 Pan Am Expo - Buffalo, N. Y.

The 1901 Pan American Exposition is thought to be the first time that "encased" coins were made. The encasing of coins in aluminum is thought to have come about at that time due to the availability if aluminum and it's being inexpensive. The early process used for making pure aluminum was time-consuming and expensive. Aluminum makes up about 8% of the earth's crust and is the 3rd most element, following oxygen and silicon. (1)

"Aluminum, that wonderful new metal! Eulogized on medals of the early 1890s as malleable, tasteless, sonorous, ductile, untarnishable, odorless, and one-quarter the weight of silver, it is no wonder that this "discovery" would capture the fancy of a nation...The first significant attempt to isolate aluminum from alumina (aluminum oxide) was by an English electrochemist. Sir Humphrey Davy, in 1807. Convinced that alumina had a metallic base, he named the metal aluminium, later revising the word to aluminum...At $17 an ounce (in 1854) it was worth nearly its weight in gold. In 1886 the price of $8 a pound still made it prohibitive for use in industry. It wasn't until Charles Hall invented his Hall process of reducing aluminum by electrolysis in 1886 that it started coming down. It wasn’t until the very late 1880s that numismatic items started to appear. Metalworking firms liked the medal for a wide range of products. Medal makers used aluminum in over 150 different medals for the Columbian Exposition in 1892. "   (2)

I believe the ready availability and low price combined with it's malleability made the manufacture of encased coins possible. The coin made the item something to keep and using it as an inexpensive advertising or souvenir piece began. As a pocket piece, it was something a merchant could give away and the customer would keep and hopefully visit the merchant again. As it was inexpensive to manufacture and small enough to be easily carried by visitors to the Expo, it in my opinion was an excellent souvenir. The fact that so many of the pieces still remain is a testament to their being used as souvenirs.

There are a number of varieties known to exist. The obverse says, "Good Luck / Keep Me and Prosper" and has a horseshoe, a wishbone, and a four-leaf clover on the obverse of the encasement. The reverse says, "FROM THE / GROUNDS OF THE / PAN AMERICAN / EXPOSITION 1901 / 20th CENTURY PENNY" with the phrases inside a chain and the image of a buffalo at the bottom. This piece recently sold on eBay for over $300.

Fred Lavin's "PANorAMa of the PAN=AM" has a complete list of Pan Am encased varieties.

Fred Lavin lists 13 round aluminum encased with die variety making it 23 distinct pieces, 7 round vulcanite (hard rubber), one horseshoe-shaped with three varieties, three wishbone shapes, a frying pan, and a reported buffalo shape. Fred uses "EC" plus a number to designate these encased. All EC numbers below are taken from Fred's book.

Four leaf clover left and right obverse
Four leaf clover left and right obverse

EC01A and EC01B - Four leaf clover stem facing left and right on the obverse. Reads: "GOOD LUCK SOUVENIR / PAN-AMERICAN EXPOSITION / BUFFALO, N.Y."

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1901 reverse of four leaf clover
1901 reverse of four leaf clover

Reverse of the two 1901 Pan Am Expo cents. Reads: "LUCKY PENNY / POCKET PIECE / I'M IT" crossed horseshes surround the cent

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Note that the imprint of the four-leaf clover carries over to the Indian cent making it easy to ensure that the coin was not replaced. The stem of the four-leaf clover bends left or right. James M. Lawniczak's article referenced above offers a detailed explanation of the left-pointing stem additional varieties based on the number of denticles. The right has no varieties that are currently known.

The 1901 exposition was held in Buffalo, NY. This led to the use of the image of a buffalo, (properly called the North American Bison) to be used on all sorts of souvenirs including "encased cents". The image below is another unusual piece. I have seen a couple of examples of this piece although I do not currently own one. Note the image of a "buffalo" on the obverse centered so that the cent is in the buffalo. I'd like to know the significance of the "dustpan" on the reverse. Was it for cleaning up after the buffalo's?? For a better explanation of the "Pan" read Fred Lavin's article. "PANorAMa of the PAN=AM" posted separately.

dust pan 1901 Pan American Exposition encased cent obverse
dust pan 1901 Pan American Exposition encased cent obverse

ECO5 - 1901 Pan American Exposition encased cent obverse. Obverse reads: "I WAS AT" image of buffalo facing west left) surrounds the cent then, "1901" on the mound under buffalo.

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dust pan 1901 Pan American Exposition  encased cent reverse
dust pan 1901 Pan American Exposition  encased cent reverse

EC05 - Dust Pan encased from 1901 Pan American Exposition. The image of a dust pan surrounds the cent. "PAN-AMERICAN / EXPOSITION" there is a small horseshoe ar the bottom center

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EC06 - small horseshoe, shamrock and wishbone. Obverse reads: GOOD LUCK / KEEP ME / AND PROSPER

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EC06 - A gloge is on the reverse. The reverse reads: "NORTH / CLEVELAND, O U.S.A. / PAN-AMERICAN SOUVENIR." an interesting point is that along the bottom edge in tiny letters it says: WHITEHEAD & HOAG CO. NEWARK, N.J. very similar to what Earl Fankhauser did with pieces he sold.

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This piece is interesting and not seen as often as the readily available "four-leaf clover" variety. It has "Pan American Exposition / Souvenir / Buffalo N.Y." on the obverse and "Good Luck and Prosperity" on the reverse with crossed cornucopias at the top.

1901 Pan American Prosperity encased obverse
1901 Pan American Prosperity encased obverse

1901 Obverse reads: "GOOD LUCK / KEEP ME / AND PROSPER" with symbols for horseshoe, four-leaf clover, and wishbone.

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1901 Pan American Prosperity reverse
1901 Pan American Prosperity reverse

1901 Pan American Souvenir encased cent "Prosperity" Reverse Reads: 20TH CENTURY / GROUNDS OF THE / EXPOSITION 1901 / PAN-AMERICAN / FROM THE each in a link of a chain that surrounds the cent. A raised image of a buffalo in the link at the top.

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EC08 - Obverse 1901 Pan American Souvenir encased cent. Obverse reads: PAN AMERICAN / SOUVENIR / EXPOSITION / BUFFALO, N. Y.

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EC08 - 1901 Pan Am Expo. The image is of crossed cornucopias with the legend: GOOD LUCK AND / PROSPERITY

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1901 Obverse reads: KEEP ME AND NEVER GO BROKE / I BRING GOoD LUCK In tiny letters at top REC'D Trade Mark a horseshoe surrounds the cent.

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EC10 - 1901 Pan American encased cent reverse. It reads: USE EASYBRIGHT POLISHES / PAN-AMERICAN BUFFALO 1901 This legend was in quotes. at the bottom it said: 'DONT LOSE ME'

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EC03 - Obverse 1901 Pan American Souvenir encased cent. Obverse reads: I AM YOUR MASCOT / SOUVENIR PAN-AMERICAN / EXPOSITION BUFFALO N.Y. Two small four-leaf clovers separate the legend.

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1901 Pan Am Expo EC03.LUCKY PENNY POCKET PIECE / SAVE ME / AND HAVE GOOD LUCK A horseshoe surrounds the cent.

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1901 Pan American Prosperity encased obverse

EC12 - 1901 Offset cent 32 mm encasement (1.26 inches). Obverse reads: PAN AMERICAN EXPOSITION / BUFFALO, N.Y. ON EITHER SIDE OF THE CENT GOOD / LUCK

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EC12 - 1901 Pan American Souvenir encased cent. Reverse Reads: GOOD / LUCK "good" on left, "luck" on right of the cent. Four-leaf clover, horseshoe and wishbone symbols across the bottom.

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EC04 - Obverse 1901 Pan American Souvenir encased cent. Obverse reads: SOUVENIR OF GOOD LUCK /PAN AMERICAN EXPOSITION / BUFFALO, N. Y.

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EC04 - 1901 Pan Am Expo The image is of crossed wishbones, with the legend: LUCKY PENNY / POCKET PIECE. There is the following in small type under the Lucky Penny.PAT. APPLIED FOR

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Since the Pan-Am Exposition was often referred to as the "pan" in literature and exunomia related material it is not surprising that "pan" related souvenirs were popular. This "Frying Pan" encased is a really neat piece. It should have a pin attached to the handle. Since the exposition was called the "Pan" American several souvenirs picked up on the "pan" as a theme. I believe there are several styles of encased pans out there, but don't see them often on eBay or ever anywhere else. They are often found with the handle broken off or bent without the stick pin as seen here. The complete encased frying pan with the handle and pin in perfect shape with a full red cent sells for over $250.

EC55 obverse souvenir frying pan. Obverse reads: BUFFALO on the handle and PAN AMERICAN EXPOSITION / *LUCKY PENNY* in the pan. These could be worn as a stick pin in either a tie or lapel.

ED55 Reverse of 1901 Souvenir Encased Frying Pan Variety. The reverse reads: BUFFALO EXPOSITION / *1901* These are usually found with the pin gone and frequently the handle is broken or damaged.

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1901 frying pan obverse
1901 frying pan obverse

Obverse of 1901 Souvenir, some do not recognize this as encased. The cent is held in place by four prongs. From a traditional point of view this is not encaased, I feel it is. It reads: PAN AMERICAN EXPOSITION / BUFFALO in the bottom of the pan. The handle reads: SOUVENIR

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1901 frying pan reverse
1901 frying pan reverse

Reverse of 1901 Souvenir Encased Frying Pan Variety. The legend is stamped from the obverses side and shows through on the reverse.

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The frying pan above right has the cent held by four small "v" shaped punched out pieces from the pan bottom. While not totally encasing the cent it firmly holds it in place. The frying pan appears to be made of copper and is a thin gauge.

The following piece is perhaps one of the first if not the first horseshoe shape. Note the "buffalo" at the bottom of the obverse. Also of note is the way the bottom is cut out to form the horseshoe.

EC51 - Obverse Buffalo running right at the bottom. PAN AMERICAN EXPOSITION around the edge.

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EC51 - Reverse: KEEP ME AND NEVER GO BROKE and PAT. APR. 11, 99 in a horseshoe. At the bottom: I BRING GOOD LUCK

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EC52 - Wishbone shaped. Obverse: A large four-leaf clover at the top between two horseshoes. GOOD in small type on left side of the four-leaf clover, LUCK on right side. KEEP ME on the left side and AND PROSPER on the right. PAT. APD FOR in tiny letters at bottom.

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EC52 - Reverse: Buffalo charging left at top. PAN AMERICAN EXPOSITION 1901 surrounds 3/4th of the cent at the bottom

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Pan American Vulcanite Encased

At the Pan American Exposition, a number of encased cents were made using a vulcanite (hard plastic) encasement which had a sticker affixed to the reverse of the piece. Below are a number of examples. It is interesting to note that the color of the vulcanite varied. Fred Lavin listed all know Pan Am souvenirs in his book, "PANorAMa of the PAN=AM" an illustrated guide to souvenirs from the PAN=AMERICAN EXPOSITION of 1901 in Buffalo, NY. I have included the "EC" number Fred used for the encased souvenirs at the beginning of the explanation with each image. I have also included the numbering system James M. Lawniczak in his article from the no longer existent ECI site. They are ar the end of the explanation paragraph and are formatted (NY)-BUF-PX-XX. The first vulcanite encased below is not in Fred's book so I am giving it, EC-38 the next number available. I do not have images of EC31 - "WHERE DOES GRASS GROW? / IN MEXICO / YOU'R (sic) A BUFFALO / PUT ME OFF / PAE / EX-PO"; seen with a blue or green rim" or EC37 - "OH FUDGE /FORGET IT /PERHAPS TAINT TRUE /PUT ME OFF AT BUFFALO". If you have these pieces please share an image with me for this page. Email: bdperdue1@netsacpe.net

Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent
Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent

EC38 - Obverse of 1901 Indian cent - "I AM NEVER BROKE / LUCKY SOUVENIR" Encased Vulcanite.

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Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent
Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent

EC38 - Reverse of 1901 "IT'S UP TO YOU / GO AS FAR AS YOU LIKE / PAN-AMERICAN / BUFFALO" Encased Vulcanite.

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Pan American Expo vulcanite Government Building
Pan American Expo vulcanite Government Building

EC33 - Reverse picture of "GOVERNMENT BUILDING" 1901 Souvenir Encased Vulcanite.

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Obverse of Pan American Expo vulcanite Government Building
Obverse of Pan American Expo vulcanite Government Building

EC33 - Obverse of "Government Building" 1901 Souvenir Encased Vulcanite. Reads: "I AM NEVER BROKE / LUCKY SOUVENIR" Encased Vulcanite

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Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent Missouri
Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent Missouri

EC32 - Obverse of 1901 Encased Vulcanite - "YOU'VE GOT TO SHOW ME / I'M FROM MISSOURI / PAN-AMERICAN BUFFALO" (NY)-BUF-PX-85

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Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent Missouri
Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent Missouri

EC32 - Reverse of 1901 Encased Vulcanite - "You've Got To Show Me / I'm From Missouri / Pan-American Buffalo" (NY)-BUF-PX-85

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Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent Obverse of 1901 Souvenir Encased Vulcanite with the image of the Triumphal Arch
Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent Obverse of 1901 Souvenir Encased Vulcanite with the image of the Triumphal Arch

EC34 - Obverse of 1901 Vulcanite encased "Triumphal Arch" (NY)-(BUF)-PX-80

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Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent Reverse of 1901 Souvenir Encased Vulcanite with the image of the Triumphal Arch
Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent Reverse of 1901 Souvenir Encased Vulcanite with the image of the Triumphal Arch

EC34 - Reverse of 1901 Vulcanite encased "Triumphal Arch" (NY)-(BUF)-PX-80

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Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent image of night view of the tower
Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent image of night view of the tower

EC36 - Obverse of 1901 Vulcanite Encased "Night VSiew of Tower (NY)-(BUF)-PX-83

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Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent image of the night view of the tower
Pan American Expo vulcanite encased one cent image of the night view of the tower

EC36 - Reverse of 1901 Vulcanite Encased "Night View of Tower (NY)-(BUF)-PX-83

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Pan Am Temple of Music 1901 Pan Am Exposition, Buffalo, NY
Pan Am Temple of Music 1901 Pan Am Exposition, Buffalo, NY

EC35 - Reverse Vulcanite Encased - Pan Am Temple of Music 1901 Pan Am Exposition, Buffalo, NY ((NY)-(BUF)-PX-81)

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Pan Am Temple of Music 1901 Pan Am Exposition, Buffalo, NY
Pan Am Temple of Music 1901 Pan Am Exposition, Buffalo, NY

EC35 - Obverse Vulcanite Encased - Pan Am Temple of Music 1901 Pan Am Exposition, Buffalo, NY ((NY)-(BUF)-PX-81)

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The vulcanite pieces are rare, especially with the sticker intact and in good condition. The Indian cent is usually in close to mint state and full red as the edges of the piece are raised on both obverse and reverse. I find it interesting that the color of the vulcanite varies on each piece. I see red, orange, green and black on the Temple of Music. I am calling the coin side the obverse of these pieces since the "heads" side of the coin is shown. As you can see on these pieces they were sold as a "Lucky Souvenir". These pieces are currently commanding between $150 and $375 on Ebay.

In his Introduction to the 1901 Pan American Expo Series, (3) James M. Lawniczak lists seven vulcanite encased:

  • (NY)-(BUF)-PX-80. 1901, RD,38mm, vulcanite, holed in middle for cent to sit in, about twice as thick as the aluminum. I Am Never Broke// Lucky Souvenir / Patent Applied for\\ [thin paper sticker on back -- picture of the Triumphal Arch]// Triumphal Arch. This has a blue edge and border, grey black background and yellow lettering. Another sample has a white edge and border. JL, PAECS (with the white border), all the -80 series should run $100 or so.
  • (NY)-(BUF)-PX-81. Same as -80 except has orange border and Temple of Music on rev.
  • (NY)-(BUF)-PX-82. Another example with an orange border and the Government Bldg. pictured on the rev.
  • (NY)-(BUF)-PX-83. Green, with a Night View of Tower pictured (the Electrical Tower at night), printed at the bottom: Night View of Tower.
  • (NY)-BUF-PX-84. Dark green, with words on the rev.: Where Does Grass Grow?/ In Mexico/ Your Buffalo/ "Put Me Off"/ Pan American/ Expo.
  • (NY)-BUF-PX-85. Red with words on the rev.: You've Got to Show Me/ I'M/ From/ Missouri/ [line across]/ Pan-American/ Buffalo.
  • (NY)-BUF-PX-86. Oh Fudge/ "Forget It"/ Perhaps Taint True/ "Put Me Off/ At/ Buffalo".

You can see from the images above examples of (NY)-(BUF)-PX-80, (NY)-(BUF)-PX-81, (NY)-(BUF)-PX-82, (NY)-(BUF)-PX-83, (NY)-BUF-PX-85 - the sixth image above "It's Up To You / Go As Far as You Like / [line across]/Pan-American Buffalo is not listed.

Fred Lavin in his book, "PANorAMa of the PAN=AM" an illustrated guide to souvenirs from the PAN=AMERICAN EXPOSITION of 1901 in Buffalo, NY, has a complete list of all encased souvenirs from the 1901 Pan Am Expo. The list and the entire chapter about Pan Am encased is available HERE.



Footnotes:

  1. Aluminium   wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium
  2. David Schenkman TAMS Journal Vol 30, No. 6, December 1990, as quoted from E-Sylum v20n24a12
  3. Introduction to the 1901 Pan American Expo Series, James M. Lawniczak - An Introduction to the Pan-Am Series as posted on the ECI website. (Site no longer available)

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