Lot 356: 1834 Charleston, SC. PORTER - SLAVE HIRE TAG / BADGE Genuine + ORIGINAL
October 29, 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
Exceptional 1834 Charleston, SC PORTER Slave Hire TAG
the Very First 1834 "PORTER" TAG We Have Offered
1834-Dated. Charleston (SC) "PORTER" Slave Hire Identification Tag. Copper. Original & Genuine. Choice Extremely Fine.
This is an impressive authentic, original Slave "Tag" or "Badge" that has its four points folded back so as to appear square shaped, measuring 1 5/8" wide x 1 5/8" tall, made of Copper. This Tag has been so modified for it's wearer as the original sharp and pointed Diamond shape corners have been bent over to protect his the Slave PORTER's chest and neck from potential injury. The original small hole punch is present as made, now at top where a cord would have been strung through the Tag. There is some light actual wear from use, the color is wonderful, having an even overall rich natural patina. This rare Tag has a full large "1834" date, plus a complete punch for the "PORTER" occupation at center. It has a deeply punched "No 686" being its Tag registered serial number. The city name is quite easy to read and is full. The face side reading: "CHARLESTON - 1834 - PORTER - No 686. An excellent, high quality, clean and fully readable example of this scarce "PORTER" occupation type.
This current Tag is said to have been found near Charleston, South Carolina. There is absolutely no sign of any major damage or repair. It is a very rare example that is actually far above average in its quality and is rather impressive in its appearance being the finest quality 1834 Slave Tag of any profession we have offered. In fact, we have only offered two other 1834 Slave Tags previously with both being the more commonly encountered "SERVANT" designation. EAHA Auction of August 28, 2004, Lot 487, graded Very Fine sold for $2,932 whereas our August 27, 2011, Lot 74, graded Choice Very Fine sold for $5,600. This rarer Tag is made by John J. Lafar, with his fancy "No" (number design), the Type shown illustrated on pages 108 and 117 in the 2004 reference book, "Slave Badges and the Slave Hire System In Charleston, SC. 1783-1865," by Greene & Hutchins.