Author Topic: Hat trick  (Read 1709 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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Hat trick
« on: August 18, 2009, 02:19:57 AM »
A token with a bit of an odd denomination? At first sight this Belgian piece seems like a trade token, but appearances deceive. The token has the name and address of a shop: Aux Trois François, Rue Neuve 56, Brussels. The address still exists, Nieuwstraat is still a shopping street (pedestrians only), but the shop has disappeared. The reverse claims (in French) that the shop is the largest hat shop in Belgium.

The key to this token is that Trois François is pronounced exactly as the first three syllables as Trois Francs Soi(xante), the "value" on the reverse. In fact, the hat shop used a unitary price of 3 Belgian francs sixty for all its hats. The name of the shop was a pun on the unitary price and this is a clever advertising token. Maybe the price seems low, but you should take into account that before the first world war, the Belgian Franc was equal in value to the French franc, so BFR 3.60 would have been somewhere around 3/6 to 4 shillings or about 75 US cents

The heads of the three Frenchmen have too much character not to be actual Frenchmen, probably politicians. The middle head reminds me of Félix Faure, who died famously, while the head in front might be that of Georges Clémenceau, who punned famously on Faure's deathbed manners. Clinton haters should not follow the links ;) The token is therefore also a document on how Walloon Belgium would slavishly follow and admire France.

Peter
« Last Edit: August 18, 2009, 02:21:29 AM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline bruce61813

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Re: Hat trick
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2009, 04:31:22 AM »
Peter, a fantastic token! The built in puns are worthy of any I have seen, and I have a fairly large collection of English tokens from the 18th and 19th century, and many were political and used puns. There was the thread that included "The End of Paine" with the hanged man. but yours tops them!

Bruce

Offline chrisild

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Re: Hat trick
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2009, 12:02:39 PM »
Interesting story, interesting token. Had seen them before (well, photos of them) but this "background" was news to me, thanks! By the way, in Amsterdam they were apparently not so sure about the correct spelling of the company name. Those guys speak French, so they must be français. What, François? Oh well, let's fix that then. ;)

http://beeldbank.amsterdam.nl/index.php?beginjaar=&eindjaar=&qasked=1&qtype=nieuw&q=5221BT913851
Click on the image to see a larger (and scalable) photo.

Christian
« Last Edit: August 18, 2009, 12:04:23 PM by chrisild »

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Hat trick
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2009, 12:34:58 PM »
Cute Christian! Thanks. Now I must see if the front of that address still exists. The token is indeed very common, which illustrates how cheap good fun can be.

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

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Hat trick
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2017, 02:36:52 PM »
Saw a large medal with the same three heads but labelled with the names: Henri Poincaré, Aristide Briand, Georges Clémenceau.

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

Offline bruce61813

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Re: Hat trick
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2017, 04:46:05 PM »
Some of the engravers were pretty lazy, and not all that good.

Bruce