(1820s) Richard Trested ‘JE’ Merchant Token, Silvered Brass, Rulau-E-NY-405A, R.8 or Higher, Exceedingly Rare, MS61 NGC. Richard Trested was a “diesinker, engraver, stamper and piercer” from his business store cards (Miller-NY-922 and 924), operating his establishment at 68 William St., New York. He reportedly died age 30 of a finger infection that spread throughout his body, according to a contemporary obituary. Among his few known designs are the enigmatic “JE” (the present token) and “JP” (Miller-NY-408, Rulau-E-NY-625) tokens, the Castle Garden tokens (Rulau-E-NY-654 in lead [R.9] and silvered brass [R.7]) hand-engraved to various persons, an interesting SIX CENTS design (Rulau-E-NY-923), and his store cards (Rulau-E-NY-922 in brass [R.7] and Rulau-E-NY-924 and 924A [both R.8]) in brass.
After Trested’s untimely death, the important diesinkers firm Wright and Bale (Charles Cushing Wright and John Bale) established themselves at the same address. Richard Trested made the elegant letter punches that Wright employed (per an Edgar Adams article) for the Erie Canal medals (HK-1/HK-1000). Elegance and fine detailing were characteristic of Trested’s work, although he died too young for more than a handful of his designs to be known. The eagles on his various designs bear more than a passing resemblance to that on the Mott token store cards, also still fairly enigmatic despite recent research.
To our knowledge, neither the “JE” nor “JP” tokens have ever been identified with a particular merchant of the time in New York.
The Present Piece. This Mint State piece is well-silvered and somewhat reflective on the Eagle side, but there is a darker area where the silvering has worn off on the top half of the JE side. There are no singular marks, although a tinge of trivial verdigris shows on the right side of the shield stripes. This piece is far nicer than the MS61 NGC John J. Ford piece offered by Stack’s Bowers (Ford Part 23, 8/2013, lot 22047). The eagle and other devices are likely just as detailed as they were when this piece was struck. This piece could reasonably merit a finer grade. An extremely rare early merchant token. We suspect that only two or three pieces likely exist.
Ex: Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 9/2014), lot 9277.