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January 2003 Americana Catalog.

COLONIAL COINS

THE J. HAROLD COBB COLLECTION OF WASHINGTON PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURAL BUTTONS

INTRODUCTION TO THE J. HAROLD COBB COLLECTION

J. Harold Cobb was a certified public accountant in Hamden, Connecticut and a partner in the firm of Seward & Monde. He began collecting Washington Inaugural Buttons in 1950, buying four specimens from Clarence March of Lewiston, Maine and four from Sally Luscomb of the Just Buttons Museum in Southington, Connecticut. By 1956, his collection numbered 58 pieces and was the largest in existence. Like some other extremely advanced collectors, Cobb acquired whole collections in order to acquire desired pieces or to get items for trading. Waldo Moore's small collection of four pieces, plated in the December, 1944 issue of The Numismatist, passed from Moore to William Frederick Sunday and thence to Cobb. Cobb bought Sunday's collection in 1956, adding 14 buttons in one purchase. In addition to Moore's pieces, Sunday had also bought the F.C.C. Boyd Collection, so that became part of Cobb's holdings in 1956, too. Unfortunately, few other facts are remembered about Cobb, other than that his closest friendships were with other like minded collectors. When Cobb died in 1968, the collection was willed to his son, and on the latter's passing the following year, it was stored in a vault where it remained until late last year. Cobb's collection, as presented below, now includes 37 Washington buttons and 5 other pieces. They are, without a doubt, the finest collection ever sold at public auction. Cobb's family has been extremely helpful in preparing the descriptions to follow, particularly by having loaned Cobb's own scrapbook of clippings and data on buttons. Stack's feels it is a great honor to have been chosen to catalogue and present for sale these remarkable, historic Washington Inaugural Buttons, and thanks the Cobb family for their confidence in our firm.

The first modern plated catalogue of Washington buttons for collectors was David F. Johnson's American Historical Buttons (1942). Six years later, Johnson published Uniform Buttons, which expanded his listings and gave the names to many of the buttons that we use, today. The standard catalogues on the series of Washington Inaugural Buttons are by Alphaeus Albert. Albert first published on the subject in the February, 1948 issue of The American Antiques Journal. Washington Historical Buttons (1949, hereafter WHB) was enlarged and replaced by Records of American Uniform and Historical Buttons (1976, hereafter RAU), the latter being the best attribution guide to the field. J. Doyle DeWitt's A Century of Campaign Buttons 1789-1889, published in 1959, was useful for Washington buttons but only to collectors of political items in general. Less well known, but actually more thorough in its listings, is J. Harold Cobb's own George Washington Inaugural Buttons & Medalets 1789 & 1793. Privately published in 1963, Cobb recorded that he had sold 97 copies and kept two for himself, so the production run may have been only 100. The following year, Cobb issued a pamphlet entitled Additional Facts on George Washington Inaugural Buttons & Medalets 1789 & 1793, which contained updated rarity ratings and ownership and discovery notes. In 1968, the year Cobb died, his long time friend and co-collector, Elmer A. Piercy, issued a privately printed update of Cobb's book which incorporated the 1964 update information. Interestingly, Cobb also issued a series of four 8 x 10 photographic plates of specimens in collection that he sold by subscription to a handful of collectors (only 28 sets were sold).

Cobb and Alphaeus Albert were close friends and collaborators during the 1950's and early 60's. The two worked together on establishing rarity ratings, sizes and metallic compositions of buttons, etc. Albert, known as ``Dewey'' to his friends, was an expert at repairing broken shanks and frequently did this favor for his friend Cobb.

Soon after the appearance of Albert's Washington Historical Buttons in 1949, which really popularized the field beyond the select circle of button collectors it had been restricted to previously, the number of collectors began to increase. With ever growing demand for specimens by new collectors, but a very small and inflexible supply, it was inevitable that enterprising persons began ``creating'' new specimens to fill the unmet demand. Cobb, Albert, Johnson, and others in the field were aware of this and did their best, in the pages of the button collectors publications, to alert consumers to the growing menace of fakes, reproductions, and copies. The situation at the time was not unlike that of today in the field of Charleston Slave Hire Badges, which enjoyed a market renaissance in September, 1993 with the sale of the Ford Collection and has suffered since from the attentions of counterfeiters.

The problems of copies and fakes led, ultimately, to a falling out between Cobb and Albert and the end of a long and cooperative friendship. In 1947, in response to a request for information about Washington buttons in one time dealer Tom Elder's collection, Mrs. Elder replied for her husband (``Mr. Elder has been ill with bad colds & run down but some better.'') saying he had a few, including the oldest one, which ``were first made up as coin''. Cobb obtained Mrs. Elder's letter and seems to have interpreted her statement to mean those buttons were overstruck on circulating coins. There is no evidence he was able to purchase any of Elder's buttons, however, and so never saw those Mrs. Elder described.

Then, in 1949, a previously undescribed type appeared. It was owned by a New Jersey collector and impressed Albert enough that he included it in WHB as his No.13. Although Albert described it as possibly exhibited in 1902, he seems not entirely to have been convinced of its authenticity, as he noted that it was struck on ``previously used metal.'' His misgivings were not, however, enough to stop him from pursuing other specimens, for the following year he unsuccessfully bid against Rochester, N.Y. collector William Frederick Sunday (ANA board of governors, 1928) for the Ruth Find.

The Ruth Find was named after its owner, Warren P. Ruth, president of the Pennsylvania Dutch Button Club. Ruth announced the discovery of a find of buttons in 1950, owned at the time, so it was said, by an old soldier. Ruth published the find in May, 1950 and Albert was later able to study its contents. He found that one button was struck on a piece of brass with the remnants of other lettering on its back that dated it to after 1870. Other buttons were struck over host coins, including British, U.S., and Vermont Republic coppers. In the meantime, of course, Cobb purchased Sunday's collection intact, including the Ruth Find pieces. Albert concluded that the Ruth Find was not old and published his opinion in 1966. In RAU (1976), Albert definitively listed the Ruth Find as ``Other Washington Buttons'' under his numbers WI.101 through WI.117, away from the regular button series and even apart from the ``Unauthenticated Specimens''. The conclusion was inescapable that Albert did not have faith in the contents of the Ruth Find.

Cobb never forgave Albert for what he saw as sour grapes more than pure button research, and he let his friendship with Albert fade away during the 1960's. How much the 17 year-long dispute and disappointment contributed to Cobb's death in 1968, is impossible to estimate. Despite the fact that many of Cobb's other collector friends (Piercy, Luscomb, and DeWitt, for example) had confidence in the Ruth Find, and added pieces from it to their collections, Albert's contrary opinion was overwhelming.

Describing the Cobb Collection has presented almost as many challenges as collecting them must have offered. Albert's 1976 study is easily obtainable but his 1949 book with Cobb pieces plated is harder to find. Cobb's own 1963 catalogue is very rare, but rarer still is the 1964 update. Piercy's 1968 volume helps, but there's nothing like having the originals to work with. DeWitt's original 1959 edition is mildly useful but Sullivan's 1981 revision of DeWitt was not well edited and the 1976 Albert equivalences given there are often misleading. The Fuld/Rulau revision of Baker's catalogue of Washington medals and tokens includes some pieces but not all. In the listings to follow, we have regularly included Cobb, both Albert (1949 and 1976), DeWitt, and Fuld/Rulau attribution numbers. The titles of the buttons are the ones commonly used today, with some of the older names given to add the flavor of the time in which Cobb collected. Most of Cobb's buttons were once lightly polished, but this has done little to harm them and over time has given them a remarkable visual appearance of classic quality. Each of his buttons has a label pasted on the back which has his attribution number on it, along with the older (1942) David F. Johnson number. We have included weights, diameters, and our opinions of the metallic compositions of the buttons. It should be noted that neither Cobb nor Albert were always accurate in distinguishing brass from copper, and tended to call any really dark brown looking button bronze. As with composition, so with rarity. There is no settled list of rarity ratings for Washington Inaugural Buttons. Albert's 1976 ratings are the most comprehensive but they are both out of date and are estimate ranges. Cobb and Sally Luscomb maintained a specimen record list in the 1950's and early 1960's. Although the list seems never to have been published, Cobb recorded in his scrapbook the names of owners of rare pieces. The cataloguer has included both Albert's estimates and Cobb's named records (where known) in the descriptions of the great rarities in the collection.

In all but a few cases, there is no certainty about what these buttons were made of. Bright yellow looking pieces might be brass or gilt copper. Darker brown looking ones could be copper or just toned-down brass. Short of metallic analysis, composition will always be a matter of opinion. Naturally, such analyses are few and far between. The most reliable results we know of were from tests run by Winterthur. One GW in Linked Rings, formerly catalogued as brass, was found to be 94% copper; whereas one GW in Oval center was accurately described as brass and found to contain 74% copper and 22% zinc.

LONG LIVE THE KING
The ``Daddy'' of Washington Buttons

Lot# 1326     

Long Live the King. Cobb-unlisted; Washington Historical Buttons, p.12; Records of American Uniform and Historical Buttons-EG (line drawing); DeWitt-unlisted; Rulau/Fuld Medallic Portraits-unlisted. Very Fine to Extremely Fine. Brass, silvered or tinned. 163.0 gns. 36.2mm. Original shank. Single piece. Pale silver on the front, darker on the back. Cobb's descriptive labels on the back. LONG LIVE THE KING on a ribbon with decorative ends, crown above, crossed rose and thistle for England and Scotland below, dotted border around. Extremely rare. Albert did not have a specimen to illustrate in 1976 and used a line drawing, possibly of this piece. Outstanding quality, superior to the one to follow. This specimen was put away not long after it was made and did not come on the market until 1961. These are believed to have been struck in 1789, following King George III's recovery from porphyria. It is assumed that this type inspired the Long Live the President inscription found on some Washington Inaugural Buttons. This piece was bought for Cobb by Joseph Sawicki from Sotheby's (London) sale of the Duc de Meppen's collection (May 1, 1961). {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

A SECOND EXTREMELY RARE LONG LIVE THE KING BUTTON

Lot# 1327     

Long Live the King. Cobb-unlisted; WHB, p.12; RAU.EG (line drawing); DeW-unlisted; R/F-unlisted. A second. About Good. Brass. 109.0 gns. 34.4mm. Shank broken. Single piece. Deep yellow brown. Front quite granular in appearance. Cobb's descriptive labels on the back. Same types as the first. According to Cobb's notes, this specimen was found in a ruined stone wall in Gowanus, Brooklyn, N.Y., on the 1776 Battle of Long Island site. Cobb acquired it from the Waterbury Companies, Inc. following a vote of their board of directors authorizing its sale to Cobb. Another example, in Sheffield plate, was excavated in Maine and published in the January, 1966 issue of the National Button Bulletin. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

MAGNIFICENT 1789 LIBERTY CAP BUTTON
Of the Highest Rarity

Lot# 1328     

1789 and Liberty Cap. Cobb 1, WHB-unlisted (unknown to Albert in 1949), RAU.WI.26 (incorrectly plated as WI.27), DeW.GW1789.42, R/F-unlisted. Extremely Fine. Brass. 105.1 gns. 33.8mm. Original shank. Single piece. Magnificent, rich golden yellow orange in color with iridescent purple highlights in places. Back dark, as expected. A gorgeous piece of undoubted museum quality. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. Liberty cap on a pole like the type on the Half Cents and Large Cents, the pole dividing 1789 in the middle. Lovely engraving work with a wonderful, antique feel. Of the highest rarity: Albert did not rate it in 1976. Cobb knew of only one in 1963, but added a second in his 1964 update, which had been bought by Massachusetts collector Helen Richmond from a Florida button dealer. Cobb believed it dated to 1789. Albert listed it in 1976 under ``Unauthenticated Specimens,'' probably because he had never seen one. The piece he plated does not look like Cobb's and may have been Richmond's. His only comment at the time was ``The device is engraved on a plain Colonial button'', indicating that he thought the button, at least, was of the 1789 period. We note that Albert also listed the unique 1789 Washington profile piece in the Smithsonian as ``unauthenticated,'' even though it had been put into the Mint Collection by Adam Eckfeldt in 1838 and described by Snowden in 1861. Cobb recorded the following comments about this piece: ``Albert: `Probably the only one known like it. In a class with the Profile with date (Smithsonian) WHB No.1 in the Smithsonian Institute collection;' DeWitt: ``I really think it is a tremendous item.''' {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

OUTSTANDING 1789 EAGLE AND SUN

Lot# 1329     

1789 Eagle and Sun. Cobb 4, WHB.2A, RAU.WI.1A (original), DeW.GW1789.4 (misattributed as AW-11A), F/R.B.1010. Extremely Fine to About Uncirculated. Brass. 114.3 gns. 34.2mm. Original shank. Single piece. Lovely, rich yellow brass in color with some golden orange highlights. Back darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. MEMORABLE ERA MARCH THE FOURTH 1789 around a displayed eagle, shield on breast, sun above head. Outstanding quality for one of these, finer than any other we have seen offered for sale. This type is very scarce in any condition but must be accounted as extremely rare in this high state of preservation. There was one in the Mint Collection, placed there by Eckfeldt in 1838. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

AN EXTREMELY RARE COBB 4a EAGLE AND SUN

Lot# 1330     

1789 Eagle and Sun. Cobb 4a, WHB.2B, RAU.WI.1A (original), DeW.GW1789.4 (misattributed as AW-11A), F/R.B.1010. Very Fine. Copper. 100.3 gns. 34.0mm. Original shank. Single piece. Deep coppery red and brown. Back darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. Old graffiti on back resembling the Stars and Stripes. Types as the preceding's. Extremely rare: Cobb knew of only three specimens. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

REMARKABLE GW IN OVAL BUTTON

Lot# 1331     

GW in Oval Center. Narrow Spacing Between GW. Cobb 5, WHB.3A, RAU.WI.11A, DeW.GW1789.7, F/R.B.1016. About Uncirculated. A remarkable specimen, finer than almost every other seen. Brass. 117.2 gns. 33.8mm. Original shank. Single piece. The front is a lovely, rich golden yellow brass color. The back is darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in a banner around the top, GW in an oval in the center. Top serif of G very close to upper left serif of W. While this may be the Washington Inaugural Button type most usually encountered at shows, this piece is decidedly uncommon because its condition is so outstanding. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

COBB 5a GW IN OVAL BUTTON

Lot# 1332     

GW in Oval Center. Medium Spacing Between GW. The Calver Pattern. Cobb 5a, WHB.3A, RAU.WI.11B, DeW.GW1789.7, F/R.B.1016. Very Fine to Extremely Fine. Brass. 106.2 gns. 34.1mm. Original shank. Single piece. The front is a bright, rich medium golden yellow brass in color. The back is darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in a banner around the top, GW in an oval in the center. Top serif of G farther from upper left serif of W than the preceding, not as far as the next. This variety was discovered after the publication of WHB. Albert gave it its own listing in RAU. Unaccountably, neither DeW nor R/F recognize it as a distinct collectible. Cobb's 5a was called the Calver after the specimen in the William L. Calver Collection plated in the N.Y. Historical Society's January, 1926 Quarterly Bulletin. In May, 1946 a linen bag containing five GW in Oval buttons appeared at the Eastern National Button Show in Springfield, Massachusetts. The buttons had been in the estate of a 90 year old resident of the town. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

COBB 5b GW IN OVAL CENTER

Lot# 1333     

GW in Oval Center. Wide Spacing Between GW. Cobb 5b, WHB.4A, RAU.WI.11C, DeW.GW1789.8, F/R.B.1017. Very Fine to Extremely Fine. Brass. 129.7 gns. 34.1 mm. Original shank. Single piece. The front is a deep, rich golden brown brass in color. The back is darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in a banner around the top, GW in an oval in the center. Top serif of G farthest from upper left serif of W than on any others. Banner ends slanted. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

COBB 5c GW IN OVAL CENTER

Lot# 1334     

GW in Oval Center. Wide Spacing Between GW. Cobb's Emilio Variety. Cobb 5c, WHB.4A, RAU.WI.11C, DeW.GW1789.8, F/R.B.1017. Very Fine. Copper. 101.8 gns. 34.3 mm. Original shank. Single piece. The front is a light brown with pale purple and rose overtones, some areas brighter. The back is darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in a banner around the top, GW in an oval in the center. Same wide spacing between G and W as on the preceding, but banner ends are straight. Cobb seems to have discovered this variety and named it the ``Emilio'', after the piece in the Captain Emilio Collection of Military Buttons at the Essex Institute. Cobb believed it to be the commonest of all the GW in Oval varieties. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

SCRIPT GW WITH CROSS IN CIRCLE BORDER

Lot# 1335     

Script GW with Cross in Circle Border. Cobb 6, WHB.9, RAU.WI.6, DeW.GW1789.27, F/R-unlisted. Extremely Fine to About Uncirculated. Brass. 97.1 gns. 32.0mm. Original shank. Single piece. Beautiful, medium golden brass color. The back darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. GW in script letters in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in raised letters around, sun rays around the middle, outer border of depressions within which tiny crosses. Extremely rare: Albert rated this R-6, in his estimation there being only three to five known specimens. Cobb knew of only three different examples (his, Wilson's, and Shurko's). There was one in S.H. Chapman's Parsons sale (1914), lot 585, described as ``the only one I have seen.'' {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

THE 1949 ALBERT PLATE SPECIMEN

Lot# 1336     

Script GW with Salient Border. 23 Impressions. The Gardner Pattern. Cobb 7, WHB.7 (this piece), RAU.WI.5A (different specimen), DeW.GW1789.17, F/R.B.1017. Fine. Brass. 81.8 gns. 31.4mm. Shank resoldered (probably by Albert). Single piece. Bright, pale yellow brass color. The back darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. GW in script letters in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in raised letters around, a salient border around composed of 23 impressions. Extremely rare: Albert also rated this R-6, with between three and five known specimens. Cobb knew of only two examples (his, ex Sally Luscomb in 1950 and Wilson's). The Albert Plate Specimen, chosen to illustrate WHB.7 in 1949. After Cobb and Albert fell out, a different specimen was used to illustrate RAU.WI.5A in 1976 (but see next lot). An example of this type was illustrated by Asa Bird Gardner in the Magazine of American History in 1883. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

THE 1976 ALBERT PLATE SPECIMEN

Lot# 1337     

Script GW with Salient Border. 24 Impressions. Cobb 7a, WHB-unlisted (unknown to Albert in 1949), RAU.WI.5B (this piece), DeW-unlisted (his GW1789.17, with 23 impressions, is misattributed to WI.15B), F/R-unlisted (B.1007 is the 23 impressions variety). Fine. Brass. 85.7 gns. 31.3mm. Original shank. Single piece. Dark golden brown, the surface quite granular in appearance. Back slightly darker. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. GW in script letters in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in raised letters around, a salient border around composed of 24 impressions. Extremely rare: Albert rated this R-6, with between three and five known specimens. The Albert Plate Specimen, chosen to illustrate RAU.WI.5B in 1976. The fact that Albert used a plate of Cobb's specimen to illustrate 5B suggests he did not have one of his own to photograph. Accordingly, there may actually be fewer than three to five specimens known. Cobb knew of only one specimen, his, found by Peter Shurto in 1962 in a jewelry box in an Old Saybrook, Connecticut estate (R.I. Bannister's). {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

SCRIPT GW WITH INDENTEE BORDER

Lot# 1338     

Script GW with Indentee Border. 32 Punch Marks. Widely Spaced Rays. The Grant Pattern. Cobb 8a, WHB.8A, RAU.WI.7C, DeW-unlisted (his GW1789.26 is attributed as WI.7B), F/R-unlisted. Very Fine. Copper. 74.0 gns. 31.6mm. Original shank. Single piece. Nice, rich deep reddish brown and golden yellow. Back slightly darker. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. GW in script letters in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in raised letters around, widely spaced sun rays in the middle, an indented border around composed of 32 punch mark impressions. Very rare: Albert rated this R-5, meaning fewer than 10 specimens were known. Cobb knew of only four examples. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

COBB 8b SCRIPT GW WITH INDENTEE BORDER

Lot# 1339     

Script GW with Indentee Border. 32 Punch Marks. Closely Spaced Rays. Cobb 8b, WHB.8, RAU.WI.7D, DeW-unlisted (his GW1789.26 is attributed as WI.7B), F/R-unlisted. Extremely Fine to About Uncirculated. Brass, once silvered or tinned. 93.1 gns. 32.1mm. Original shank. Single piece. Lovely, bright golden yellow and brown color with traces of silvering (or tinning) in the center. Back with most plating still intact. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. GW in script letters in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in raised letters around, closely spaced sun rays in the middle, an indented border around composed of 32 punch mark impressions. Very rare: Albert rated this R-5, with six to 10 specimens known. Outstanding quality, far finer than any other we have seen, as well as the Albert plate specimen. This piece was found in an old metal box in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1959. Cobb called it a proof and believed it had come from a wedding coat of 1796. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

SCRIPT GW WITH LINKED STATES BORDER

Lot# 1340     

Script GW with Linked States Border. Cobb 9, WHB.10A, RAU.WI.4A, DeW.GW1789.9, F/R.B.1003. About Very Fine. Brass. 112.5 gns. 34.3mm. Original shank. Single piece. Bright greenish yellow brass color. Back slightly darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. Trace of shank shows in the center of the front as a button between GW. GW in script letters in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in raised letters around, the border composed of 13 linked rings each with the name of one of the original 13 colonies/states. The motif appeals to collectors of 1787 Fugio coppers and 1776 Continental Currency coins and paper money. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

COBB 9a SCRIPT GW WITH LINKED STATES BORDER

Lot# 1341     

Script GW with Linked States Border. Design Shows on Back. Cobb 9a, WHB.10B, RAU.WI.4A1, DeW-unlisted (his GW1789.9 is the Cobb 9 variety), F/R-unlisted (their B.1003 is also the Cobb 9 variety). Very Fine. Brass. 89.1 gns. 33.7mm. Original shank. Single piece. Pale golden brown in color. Back slightly darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. GW in script letters in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in raised letters around, the border composed of 13 linked rings each with the name of one of the original 13 colonies/states. The back shows the front's design in reverse. Extremely rare: Albert rated this R-6, with only three to five known. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

COBB 9b SCRIPT GW WITH LINKED STATES BORDER

Lot# 1342     

Script GW with Linked States Border. Three Leaves Between Links. Cobb 9b, WHB-unlisted, RAU.WI.4B, DeW.GW1789.9a, F/R-unlisted. Very Fine. Brass, with traces of gilding. 104.9 gns. 34.3mm. Original shank. Single piece. Rich, golden brown color with some areas of deep red, others of bright yellow. Traces of gilding remain in the more protected areas. Back shows gilding around the outside, the center slightly darker. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. GW in script letters in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in raised letters around, the border composed of 13 linked rings each with the name of one of the original 13 colonies/states, each link separated from the next by a small, three leaf punch mark. Extremely rare: Albert also rated this R-6, with only three to five known. Cobb recorded only three examples (his, Mary McFarland's, and King's). This variety was unknown to Albert in 1949 but was included in his 1976 expanded listing. It first appeared at a button show in Massachusetts in 1950, owned by a young Connecticut man. Alice Carlson bought the button after the show. Ten years later, DeWitt turned up a nicer one, which he sold to Cobb in 1961. A few years later, Carlson brought the discovery piece to Southington, Connecticut to show to Albert and Cobb. At the time, it had no shank. Carlson sold it to MacFarland. A third turned up in 1968, owned by Stanley King. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

COBB 9d SCRIPT GW WITH LINKED STATES BORDER

Lot# 1343     

Script GW with Linked States Border. Cobb 9d, WHB.10A, RAU.WI.4A, DeW.GW1789.9, F/R.B.1003. Very Fine. Brass. 105.6 gns. 34.4mm. Original shank. Single piece. Deep golden yellow brown color with some hints of red. Back a similar color with slightly more red highlighting. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. GW in script letters in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in raised letters around, the border composed of 13 linked rings each with the name of one of the original 13 colonies/states. Cobb believed this was struck in copper and listed it as 9d, a seperate variety. As noted in our introduction, while there is no certainty about metallic content in the absence of scientific testing, in this case it is our opinion that the color of this piece suggests brass more than copper. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

MAGNIFICENT DOTTED SCRIPT GW BUTTON

Lot# 1344     

Dotted Script GW. Cobb 10, WHB.11A, RAU.WI.9A, DeW.GW1789.2 (misattributed there as AW19), F/R.B.1001 (``extremely rare''). About Uncirculated. Brass. 156.9 gns. 35.3mm. Original shank. Single piece. Bright golden yellow brass in color. Back slightly darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. GW in large dotted script letters in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in large raised letters around the border, small star encircled by 12 dots at the bottom. Magnificent quality for one of these, finer than the next (although not as rare), finer even than the Albert plate pieces. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

DOTTED SCRIPT GW

Lot# 1345     

Dotted Script GW. Design Shows on Back. Cobb 10a, WHB.11B, RAU.WI.9A1, DeW.GW1789.2 (misattributed there as AW19), F/R.B.1001 (``extremely rare''). Very Fine. Brass. 123.7 gns. 35.6mm. Original shank. Single piece. Bright golden yellow brass in color. Back slightly darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. GW in large dotted script letters in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT in large raised letters around the border, small star encircled by 12 dots at the bottom. On the back, the front design shows through incuse. Extremely rare: Albert rated this R-6, with only three to five known. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

PLAIN ROMAN GW

Lot# 1346     

Plain Roman GW. Wide W. Cobb 11, WHB-unlisted, RAU-unlisted, DeW-unlisted, R/F-unlisted. Very Fine to Extremely Fine, these always look more worn than they really are, because they were softly impressed to begin with. Brass. 165.3 gns. 36.1mm. Shank resoldered (probably by Albert). Single piece. Rich, deep golden brown color. Back slightly darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. GW in Roman letters in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT around the border, elsewhere plain. A very ``republican'' looking button type. Extremely rare: this variety, with W wider than seen on the others, is unlisted in either of Albert's catalogues. Cobb knew of four (his, Albert's, DeWitt's, and Alling's). {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

COBB 11a PLAIN ROMAN GW

Lot# 1347     

Plain Roman GW. Narrow W. Cobb 11a, WHB.12, RAU.WI.8A, DeW.GW1789.1 (misattibuted to AW.18), R/F.1000 (misdescribed as having a GW monogram). Fine, or slightly better, these are always soft in appearance. Brass. 150.6 gns. 36.8mm. Shank resoldered (probably by Albert). Single piece. Deep brassy golden brown color. Back slightly darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. GW in Roman letters in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT around the border, elsewhere plain. Very rare: Albert rated this R-5, with fewer than 10 known. In the early 1940's, during renovation work on the Southampton, Massachusetts public library, an old tree was cut down and out of one of its limbs fell a hand woven linen bag containing five Cobb 11a's. Three had shanks and two did not. The group was sold to a local resident, who sold them to button collectors who heard about the find. The Cobb piece is from this unusual find. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

THE 1949 and 1976 ALBERT PLATE SPECIMEN

Lot# 1348     

Script GW. Fifteen Stars. From the Ruth Find. Cobb's Elder Pattern. Cobb 12b, WHB.13 (this piece), RAU.WI.115 (this piece). DeW-unlisted, R/F-unlisted. Uncirculated. Brass gilt. 130.1 gns, 33.4mm. Original shank. Single piece. Deep golden brown in the fields, the devices still showing bright yellow gilding, back rich yellow. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. Script GW in the center (not in ligature), LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT around, border of 15 large stars, two sprigs of flowers below, outer border of punch segments. At least very rare and quite controversial. The Albert Plate Specimen, illustrating both the 1949 WHB and 1976 RAU editions. The story of this piece is told in detail above, in the Introduction to the Cobb Collection. Suffice it to say, that this present piece was the first evidence of the existence of the Ruth Find of 1949-50. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

Lot# 1349     

Small Laurel Wreath. Cobb 13a, WHB.14, RAU.WI.17B, DeW.GW1789.25, R/F.B.1020. Extremely Fine. Copper. 24.6 gns. 15.1mm. Original shank. Single piece. Deep golden brown in color with some distinct reddish highlights strongly suggesting copper composition. Back slightly darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. Small laurel wreath in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT around. Very rare: Albert rated this R-5, with fewer than 10 known. Cobb knew of only three: his, one owned by his friend Piercy, and a corroded piece found on the Tench Francis farm in Gloucester County, New Jersey in 1964. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

Lot# 1350     

Small Laurel Wreath. With Star. Cobb 14, WHB.15, RAU.WI.17A, DeW-unlisted (his GW1789.25 is the smaller variety without star), R/F.B.1020. Extremely Fine. Copper, with hints of ancient silvering or tinning. 49.5 gns. 20.0mm. Shank probably original. Single piece. Deep golden brown in color with some distinct reddish highlights strongly suggesting copper composition. Back slightly darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. Some scratches. Small laurel wreath in the center, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT around, tiny star at end of legend. Very rare: Albert also rated this R-5, with fewer than 10 known. Cobb listed only three, his, ex Ada Littlefield of Willimantic, Connecticut, one owned privately in 1964, and an excavated piece. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

THE 1949 and 1976 ALBERT PLATE SPECIMEN

Lot# 1351     

Fifteen Stars. Cobb's Darby Pattern. Cobb 15, WHB.16 (this piece), RAU.WI.18B (this piece), DeW.GW1789.33 (note), F/R-unlisted. Extremely Fine. Brass. 26.5 gns. 14.8mm. Shank resoldered (probably by Albert). Single piece. Nice, clean and rich golden brown color. Back slightly darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. Circle of 15 stars in the center, single line border around, LONG LIVE THE PRESIDENT and small stop around the outside. Unique. Albert wrote ``Note. Only one specimen of this pattern has been reported to me.'' Cobb paid $750 for this piece, the highest price for any item in his collection. It was first published in 1947 in the National Button Bulletin as having been found in California. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

Lot# 1352     

Eagle and Star. 54 Impressions in the Border. Cobb 17d, WHB.19C, RAU.WI.12B, DeW.GW1789.3b, F/R.B.1009. Very Fine to Extremely Fine. Brass. 116.0 gns. 34.8mm. Original shank. Single piece. Lovely, bright yellow brass color. Back slightly darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. Shallow flaw across eagle's right wing. An eagle displayed in the center, shield on its breast, star with rays above, border of 54 impressions around. Very rare: Albert rated this R-5, with fewer than 10 known. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

Lot# 1353     

Eagle and Star. 63 Impressions in the Border. Cobb 17g, WHB.18, RAU.WI.12C, DeW.GW1789.3c (54 there a typo for 63), F/R.B.1009. About Uncirculated. Brass. 105.5 gns. 34.5mm. Original shank. Single piece. Lovely, bright yellow brass color. Back slightly darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. Three discoloration spots. An eagle displayed in the center, shield on its breast, star with rays above, border of 63 impressions around. This is the variety of Eagle and Star one most frequently finds. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

Lot# 1354     

Eagle and Star. 63 Impressions in the Border. Cobb 17i, WHB.18, RAU.WI.12C, DeW.GW1789.3c (54 there a typo for 63), F/R.B.1009. Very Fine to Extremely Fine. Brass. 107.3 gns. 34.5mm. Original shank. Single piece. Medium yellow brass color. Back slightly darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. Minor roughness in the upper left field. An eagle displayed in the center, shield on its breast, star with rays above, border of 63 impressions around. Cobb listed this as his 17i and thought it was made of bronze, which it clearly is not. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

A HANDSOME EAGLE AND STAR BUTTON

Lot# 1355     

Eagle and Star. 63 Impressions in the Border. Cobb 17j, WHB.18, RAU.WI.12C, DeW.GW1789.3c (54 there a typo for 63), F/R.B.1009. Extremely Fine. Brass. 118.3 gns. 34.3mm. Original shank. Single piece. Deep yellow brown brass color with distinct reddish highlights. Back slightly darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. Cobb attribution also inked on back. A very handsome specimen. An eagle displayed in the center, shield on its breast, star with rays above, border of 63 impressions around. Cobb listed this as his 17j and thought it was made of copper. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

COBB 17k EAGLE AND STAR

Lot# 1356     

Eagle and Star. 72 Impressions in the Border. Cobb 17k, WHB.20, RAU.WI.12D, DeW.GW1789.3d, F/R.B.1009. Rough Very Fine. Brass. 94.6 gns. 34.5mm. Original shank. Single piece. Dark brown color with brassy yellow and reddish highlights. Back about the same color. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. An eagle displayed in the center, shield on its breast, star with rays above, border of 72 impressions around. Very rare: Albert rated this R-5, with fewer than 10 known. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

COBB 17n EAGLE AND STAR

Lot# 1357     

Eagle and Star. 63 Impressions in the Border. Cobb 17n, WHB.18, RAU.WI.12C, DeW.GW1789.3c (54 there a typo for 63), F/R.B.1009. Extremely Fine to About Uncirculated. Brass. 113.4 gns. 34.5mm. Original shank. Single piece. Rich, deep golden brown color with some iridescent highlights. Back about the same color. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. An eagle displayed in the center, shield on its breast, star with rays above, border of 63 impressions around. Outstanding quality despite the minor scratches on the front, the design details sharply impressed and the eagle well outlined. Cobb's label on the back notes this as 17N but there is no 17N in his 1963 or 1964 lists and Piercy did not include this number in 1968. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

THE 1949 ALBERT PLATE SPECIMEN

Lot# 1358   

Eagle and Sun. 21 Impressions in the Border. Cobb 18, WHB.21 (this piece), RAU.WI.13A (called there Eagle with Star of Eight Points), DeW.GW1789.37, F/R-unlisted. Very Good for sharpness. Brass. 126.4 gns. 34.0mm. Original shank. Single piece. Medium golden yellow brass in color. Back slightly darker as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. Some scratches, lacquered. An eagle displayed in the center, shield on its breast, sun with eight rays above, border of 21 crude impressions around. The Albert Plate Specimen, chosen to illustrate the 1949 WHB. Extremely rare: Albert rated this R-6, with three to five known. Cobb knew of five examples of his 18, 18a-18c. Cobb 18 was first published in 1947. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

COBB 18c EAGLE AND SUN

Lot# 1359     

Eagle and Sun. 27 Impressions in the Border. Design Shows on Back. Cobb 18c, WHB-unlisted, RAU-unlisted (WI.13C has 27 marks but no design show through on back), DeW-unlisted (GW1789.37b has 27 marks but no design show through on back), F/R-unlisted. Very Good or slightly finer. Brass. 132.0 gns. 34.1mm. Original shank. Single piece. Bright golden yellow brass in color. Back about the same color. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. Some scratches. An eagle displayed in the center, shield on its breast, sun with eight rays above, border of 27 crude impressions around, the back showing the front design faintly in places. Extremely rare as a 27 Impressions variety, which Albert rated as R-6, with three to five known. Possibly unique with the design showing through on the back. In either case, this piece is at least as nice as both Albert plate specimens. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

THE MAJESTY OF THE PEOPLE

Lot# 1360     

The Majesty of the People. Cobb 19, WHB.25, RAU.WI.3, DeW.GW1789.40, F/R-unlisted. Very Good. Brass. 107.8 gns. 30.9mm. Shank resoldered (probably by Albert). Single piece. Rich, deep reddish brown and brassy gold color. Back slightly darker, as expected. Cobb's descriptive label on back. In the center, the sun in majesty rising from the clouds, single line border around, THE MAJESTY OF THE PEOPLE around the outside. Extremely rare: Albert rated this R-6, with three to five known. Cobb knew of only two specimens, his and the piece in the Reginald Hart Collection in the Lightner Museum, St. Augustine, Florida. Cobb acquired his at the 1964 APIC convention in Hartford, Connecticut from John H. Andrews. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

IMPORTANT GENERAL WASHINGTON PATER PATRIAE BUTTON

Lot# 1361     

General Washington Pater Patriae [Father of the Country]. Cobb 20, WHB.27, RAU.WI.19B, DeW.GW1789.41, F/R.B.1014. Fine to Very Fine. Brass shell, pewter backed, iron shank. 85.4 gns. 25.0mm. Original shank. Composite, three pieces. Deep brown with some golden highlights. Back medium silver gray color. Cobb's descriptive label on back. Rim chipped at upper right. In the center, Washington in military uniform and tricorn hat, GENERAL WASHINGTON around the top, PATER PATRIAE at the bottom. Extremely rare: Albert rated this as R-6, with three to five known. Cobb knew of six. This, the Albert plate piece, and the one in New Netherlands' 59th sale, lot 1086 (to Piercy) are the only two WHB.27's known to the cataloguer. WHB.26, the shell on bone piece ex Fuld, is unique. Cobb obtained his specimen of the Pater Patriae in 1957 from a New York family that owned two as heirlooms. His first attempt at acquiring one failed, when it was sold to a friend of the family's. His second try was successful, working through an antique dealer who swapped furniture for the button. Even better for Cobb, the piece he got was described by the owner as ``...a better one than the first one as the lettering is much plainer...I did not clean it at all.'' {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

1889 CENTENNIAL REPRODUCTION

Lot# 1362     

GW with Linked Rings. 1889 Centennial Reproduction. Cobb-unlisted, WHB.62, RAU-unlisted, DeW.GW1789.9 (note), F/R.B.1003R. Uncirculated. Brass. 198.8 gns. 32.2mm. Original shank. Thick flan. Single piece. Nice, rich brassy brown color on both sides. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. This J.B. Gaunt, Ltd. (Birmingham, England) reproduction was made for the inaugural centennial and is not deceptive when compared to an original WHB.10. Cobb included one in his collection but did not list it. Cobb bought this in 1950 from Clarence March, button dealer in Lewiston, Maine. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

NAVAL BUTTON

Lot# 1363     

Naval Button. Similar to RAU.NA.17D and Troiani BNC.l and BNC.m (British naval captain's buttons), not in Tice. Extremely Fine to About Uncirculated. Brass. 56.5 gns. 23.8mm. Original shank. Single piece. Bright, brassy yellow in color. Cobb's descriptive label on the back. Fouled anchor and chain. Cobb thought this was a Connecticut navy button from the Revolutionary War. It was discovered in January, 1961 on a pair of white navy breeches that had been owned by Burdette G. Johnson of St. Louis, Missouri. Johnson had bought the breeches in Philadelphia years earlier. On the breeches were 12 small size Eagle and Star buttons (Cobb 17) and three naval buttons. Eleven of the 12 Cobb 17 buttons were sold to collectors. One of the three naval buttons was sold to Sally Luscomb and another (this present piece) to Cobb. The breeches, with one Cobb 17 and one naval button still attached, were sold to DeWitt, who exhibited them in his museum in Hartford, Connecticut. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

Lot# 1364     

Mourning Button. Very Fine. Brass. 109.8 gns. 34.6mm. Original shank. Single piece. Deep brassy golden brown color. The back with evidence of tinning or silvering. Cobb's descriptive label on back. Urn (funerary?) in the center with draped vines and flowers flanking. Said found in South Berwick, Maine, bought by Joesph Sawicki, sold to Cobb. Published and plated in Just Buttons in March, 1965. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)

Lot# 1365   

Three Miscellaneous Single Piece Brass Buttons with Original Shanks, thought by Cobb to have been Connecticut military. Extremely Fine. (1). Round 37.3mm. Impressed designs similar to those seen on the Script GW buttons; (2). Round 34.2mm. Crisscross design impressed on front; (3). Oval 41.4 x 39.9mm. Ornate border with central loop motif. Acquired from J. Sawicki in Paris in 1964. 3 pieces. {cp8}(SEE COLOR PLATE)