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    Description

    Undated Ricketts's Circus Token, XF Details
    Rulau-E-Pa-430, Three Known in Silver

    Pennsylvania 1793 Ricketts Circus Silver R-E-PA-430--Plugged--NGC Details. XF. Rulau-E-Pa-428, Julian UN-32, R.8. Original Ricketts's Circus tokens exist in silver and copper with reeded edges, while restrikes are known in copper with plain edges and struck on double-thick planchets. We are aware of only three silver originals: this piece, a second Donald Partrick example in MS62 that sold in January 2021, and one in the American Numismatic Society Collection.


    Descriptions of the acts in this renowned circus sound amazing even in our era of instant entertainment of infinite variety. In his fascinating account of this circus company in "Entertainments at John B. Ricketts's Circus, 1793-1800" (Educational Theatre Journal, May 1978), James S. Moy cites an early advertisement outlining eight acts, with the third as:

    "He [Ricketts] rides one horse, standing erect, with his face toward the tail-Plays with two ORANGES in the air, the turns round keeping up the Oranges alternating. He throws up an Orange and receives it on the point of a SWORD, at the same time standing on the saddle without the assistance of the bridle reins, turns about and throws a somerset [somersault]."


    Sadly, a tragic fire on December 17, 1799, caused by an unattended candle in a backstage area at the Philadelphia arena, precipitated the end of the Ricketts company. The theater was full, but the performance had not started and there were no injuries. Ironically, the evening's entertainment was supposed to include a pantomime act involving a spectacular conflagration.

    This silver rarity is readily identified by the impressively inconspicuous plug through the wreath stem at the lower reverse; it is even less visible on the corresponding area of the obverse, though the end of the sword is missing. The surfaces exhibit varying shades of silvery antique-gray patina with modest high-point rub. Here is a wonderful opportunity to attain a captivating artifact of 18th century Americana.
    Ex: McSorley (1/23/1971); Donald Groves Collection (Stack's, 11/1974), lot 349; Donald G. Partrick.


    View all of [The Donald G. Partrick Collection ]

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2021
    22nd-25th Thursday-Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 25
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 348

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