The Collection of 19th Century Tokens formed by Frank Gorsler

The Collection of 19th Century Tokens formed by Frank Gorsler

Frank Wayne Gorsler

Frank Gorsler, born in 1930, earned Bachelor and Masters degrees in Mechanical Engineering. His career of more than 50 years was dedicated to manufacturing engineering and he still consults on a part-time basis. He holds several patents and received a number of awards in the area of metal cutting processes and tooling and his research includes such topics as high-speed machining, laser-assisted machining and super-abrasive cutting tools. He has lectured in Europe and Australia and chaired an international conference on advances in the metal cutting.

Frank became interested in world coins when his father gave him a small accumulation that he had brought back from World War I. At the time general references on this type of material were not readily available and local coin dealers in the US were less than helpful. He did manage to find a couple of antique shops with drawers of 10, 25 and 35 cent coins. There was even a $2 drawer of silver crowns – if only he had known which were the better pieces. Later, about 1948, he obtained copies of Coins of the World by Wayte Raymond that provided some insight.

As his accumulation included a number of British coins with images of the various monarchs, he decided to put together a type set of the minor (farthing through halfcrown) milled coinage, starting with Charles ll. This was completed, in large part, with help from the major British dealers Spink, Seaby, Baldwin and Lubbock. Later, he was to expand into a type set of British colonial coins. While nowhere near as complete as that of Jerome Remick, it was rather extensive and included many rare pieces. Both these collections were sold long ago to finance his token collecting which was just beginning.

While rooting through a junk box, he came across his first ‘Conder’ token, a worn halfpenny of H. Hickman (D&H Warwickshire 144). The early date (1792) and edge inscription (Payable at H. Hickmans Warehouse Birmingham) were a puzzle for several years. At a local coin show he noticed that a vest-pocket dealer had several dozen Conders for a dollar or two each. More importantly, he was able to explain a bit about the series. This led to Frank purchasing of a copy of Dalton and Hamer’s work. Being an engineer and desiring completion, this presented an insurmountable task. Later, upon discovering the Bell series of books, he decided to assemble a type set of halfpennies per Bell’s Commercial Coins. Others that did not fit this category were traded to Sigfried Schwer. Again, upon completion this collection was sold.

About 1970 a dealer at a local show had a dozen or so 19th century silver shilling tokens. This began his quest for a type set of shillings, ignoring minor varieties. A complete set would consist of about 200 pieces of which he was able to acquire better than 80%. Many were from trades and purchases from Schwer and the Noble sale of 1998 contributed about 50 pieces. Along the way he picked up a number of 19th century pieces and decided to collect pennies as listed in the appropriate Bell book. Having completed this, he added a few that Bell had not considered genuine trade tokens. This collection, too, is fairly complete.

Upon turning 80 years of age, and with none of the family interested, he decided it was time to share the 19th century collection with collectors that would appreciate and enjoy them as much as he has. His one hope is that the provenance, where known, will not be lost. Enjoy!!!