Author Topic: James E. Pepper token  (Read 542 times)

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Offline brandm24

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James E. Pepper token
« on: January 07, 2020, 11:12:32 AM »
A fellow collector gave me this token just recently as he doesn't collect this type of material. Fortunately, James E. Pepper is well documented online so I could discover a lot about him and his company.

Though James wasn't born until 1850, he was a third generation distiller of fine Kentucky bourbon and rye whiskey. The original distillery was founded in 1780 by his grandfather in Lexington, Kentucky, and went under various names including the Henry Clay Distillery and Old Pepper distillery.

Apparently, James was a flamboyant man, larger-than-life if you will, who vigorously promoted the family business as "the oldest and best brand of whisky made in Kentucky." He was also a well known horseman who operated a prosperous stable and ran his thoroughbreds in races all over the world, including in the Kentucky Derby. His mode of travel was also special. An ornate private rail car known as "Old Pepper."

The end of the Pepper distilling empire occurred in 1934 when Schenley Industries purchased their distilleries and brands. It continued on until 1958 at which time all operations ceased. Prohibition, World War ll, and consolidation in the industry are what led to the demise of the Pepper brands.

Bruce
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Offline malj1

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Re: James E. Pepper token
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2020, 10:17:44 PM »
You don't give a size, presumably its a small advertising piece to hang on a watch chain?
Malcolm
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: James E. Pepper token
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2020, 09:50:37 AM »
I can imagine how a collector of US coins would be charmed by the three revolutionary musicians and keep the token close to his bicentennial coins.

The fun Pepper story fits the 19th century image of the US so very well: a place where a brash self-promotor would do well, in spite of an inferior product.* It reminds me of president Bush Jr's famous rebuttal that ""the trouble with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur". :)

Peter

* Kentucky whisky is distilled once, while in Scotland and Ireland similar products are distilled two or three times and are subject to more regulation.
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline brandm24

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Re: James E. Pepper token
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2020, 11:17:21 AM »
You don't give a size, presumably its a small advertising piece to hang on a watch chain?
Sorry, Mal. It's 22.5 mm. As you can see the hole was added later.

Bruce
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Offline brandm24

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Re: James E. Pepper token
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2020, 11:20:36 AM »
I can imagine how a collector of US coins would be charmed by the three revolutionary musicians and keep the token close to his bicentennial coins.

The fun Pepper story fits the 19th century image of the US so very well: a place where a brash self-promotor would do well, in spite of an inferior product.* It reminds me of president Bush Jr's famous rebuttal that ""the trouble with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur". :)

Peter

* Kentucky whisky is distilled once, while in Scotland and Ireland similar products are distilled two or three times and are subject to more regulation.

All the distilling in the world won't make me a fan of  this foul concoction, Peter. I don't allow bourbon in my house. ;D

Bruce
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Offline brandm24

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Re: James E. Pepper token
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2020, 07:08:42 PM »
There's an interesting addition to the story of the the Pepper distilling operations.

As I mentioned earlier the distillery was shut down in 1958, but 50 years later in 2008 the distillery and brand were revived by an entrepreneur named Amir Peay. Between 2008 and 2017, when distilling actually resumed, Paey, designed and built a new still similar in design to the original built in 1934. The new system was built by Vendome Copper in Louisville, the same firm that had manufactured the earlier still. Operations resumed at the original site preserved in the National Register of Historic Places.

Bruce
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: James E. Pepper token
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2020, 08:04:15 PM »
Interesting initiative with potential to become a tourist attraction. So can the token be assigned to the original or the resurrected distillery?

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline brandm24

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Re: James E. Pepper token
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2020, 09:21:21 PM »
Interesting initiative with potential to become a tourist attraction. So can the token be assigned to the original or the resurrected distillery?

Peter
I'm not sure how to date this one, but it seems likely that it predates the "new and improved" version of the distillery. James Pepper died in 1906 but I'm sure the token isn't that old I'm thinking 1930's or 1940's

Bruce
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