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Title: War Prisoner Money and Medals
Author: Kisch, Guido
Language: English
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                     WAR PRISONER MONEY AND MEDALS

                              Guido Kisch

                             Reprinted from
                            THE NUMISMATIST

                         Internment Camp Money

The guarantee of humane treatment for prisoners of war is an achievement
of modern international law. This interesting and important legal
problem was discussed at great length at several international
conferences at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the
twentieth century. A kind of ethical and legal code resulted consisting
of a comprehensive body of rules and regulations, both written and
unwritten. The International Red Cross played an important part in the
development and crystallization of those humanitarian ideals as they are
embodied today in the provisions of the international law concerning
prisoners of war. Its rules have been explicitly or tacitly accepted and
to a great extent put into practice by most of the civilized nations of
the world. Their disregard, as in the recently reported case of 115
helpless American military prisoners of war murdered in cold blood by
the Germans near Malmedy, or in the notorious death camps of Oswiecim
and Belsen-Bergen, is a relapse into barbarism, characteristic of the
Hitlerite hordes. As a rule, however, the status of prisoners of war is
universally respected and they receive a fair treatment from all
nations, in accordance with the rules of international law. They may be
employed by their captors for certain labors, but must be accorded fair
living conditions.

Considerations of war economy and corresponding military precautions
created the necessity of issuing special money for the use of prisoners
of war. A shortage in currency is often an unavoidable result of
national war conditions. It would be greatly increased, of course, if
the actual use of national currency would be permitted also to the
rising numbers of captives. The issuance of special currency for the
exclusive use of war prisoners is therefore an act of national defense
in wartime. The use of this special type of money, for which both paper
and metal are employed, is restricted in a twofold way. Its circulation
is limited to war prisoners, and—even more strictly—to definite
internment camps. The prisoners’ specially made money, often easily
distinguishable through a round or square hole in the center, is
excluded from general monetary circulation. The prisoner is not able to
buy articles in the ordinary channels of the national commerce.
Moreover, he is left without means in case of escape.

These are the ideas and motives underlying the issuance of separate
money for prisoners of war.

    [Illustration: Austrian War-Prisoner Money Used in the Officers
    Prison Camp Mühling
    (Courtesy of the American Numismatic Society)]

nations of Europe. In Germany, where 635,000 allied prisoners were
confined at the end of the war, it was called _Gefangenenlagergeld_; in
France, with the greatest number of German war prisoners (400,000), it
was known as _monnaies des camps de prisonniers_. In Germany production
reached tremendous amounts and resulted in almost unbelievable
varieties, far surpassing the needs dictated by war economy and military
policy. Röttinger’s catalogue of German internment camp money lists
about 1360 different places of issue and authorities competent to issue
such money. There were thousands of types and varieties. All kinds of
material were used and all types of style imaginable were represented.
From these facts another motif comes to light which prompted that mass
production of war prisoner money. Apparently this new type of currency
quickly attracted the attention of numismatists, first in the lands of
its origin, then in the adjacent neutral countries, and later in the
entire world. The interest of collectors and students once awakened was
soon exploited by the German government through a mass export of
complete sets of prisoner currency to foreign countries. Thus a means
was provided of obtaining valuable and badly needed foreign exchange for
a worthless kind of currency. In fact it was a practically worthless
kind of money, worthless even from the numismatic point of view. For the
almost innumerable varieties impaired the collector’s interest who could
not entertain any hope ever to obtain a complete collection. While
Germany continued this practice for the duration of the war, in line
with her general inflationary policy, Austria-Hungary seems to have kept
the issuance of her war prisoner money within the limits of the actual
war needs.

The hypothesis of the partly inflationary character of the German
internment camp money during the First World War and of its doubtful
numismatical value, as set forth here, is borne out by several other
observations. There were very few complete or almost complete
collections of “Gefangenenlagergeld” even in Germany, the most important
ones being that of the _Reichswirtschaftsmuseum_ in Leipzig, where one
specimen of each type of _Notgeld_ was officially deposited by the
_Reich_ as issued, and that of a private collector, Doctor Arnold Keller
of Berlin, the publisher of _Dr. Arnold Kellers Notgeldbücher_. In
Holland, there was also a collection outstanding because of its
completeness, namely that of Mr. Paul Daub of Utrecht, a private
collector. The American Numismatic Society, in due recognition of the
given situation, rightfully did not care to acquire complete sets of
this money, either during or after the war, but contented itself with a
few specimens only. There have been a few private collectors in the
United States none of whom seems to have attained great achievements in
this field. None the less, the interest is still kept alive to some
degree in collectors’ circles through the “International Emergency Money
Club” of New York City, the only club of its kind in existence, founded
in 1936 in New York City, with an active membership of thirty in 1942.

    [Illustration: Different Types of War Prisoner Money]

Beginning as early as January 1917 the well known firm of J. Schulman of
Amsterdam offered complete sets of such money in a series of consecutive
catalogues on war money, entitled _La Guerre Européenne 1914-1917_. Here
collectors could obtain almost all sets available which were probably
secured from the official authorities of issuance in Germany. The
international reputation of the firm of Schulman in Amsterdam is too
well established to permit reflection on the ethics of its business
transactions. Merely for the sake of clarity it should be stated that
none is implied here.

Obviously, numismatic interest turned quickly to the items of this
previously little known type of war emergency money. In the very
beginning, most probably, everyone thought that it would be a quickly
passing numismatic phenomenon. No one could at that time realize the
dimensions that production of war prisoner money would finally reach.
All this notwithstanding, the literature on this special kind of money
is scarce, incomplete and widely scattered. The appended select
bibliography might therefore be welcome to those interested in this
field of collecting which probably will be revived soon after the return
of peace. It is needless to state that no claim is being made of
completeness in the bibliographical data offered below.

No doubt, in the present war, too, internment camp money has been
issued. Scanty news on such money issued in Great Britain, particularly
in the Isle of Man internment camp for civilian and soldier prisoners of
war, has already been brought to the attention of numismatists. A member
of the Czechoslovak State Council in London, Mr. Ernest Frischer,
recently informed the present writer that internment camp money is in
use in the ill-famed concentration camp of Terezin (Theresienstadt) in
Bohemia, where about 50,000 Jews are being held by their German
“Protectors.” According to information received by the War Department in
Washington, on the other hand, “no special type of money is issued for
the use of prisoners of war held in this country. However, prisoners of
war are issued 'canteen checks,’ a form of script which is given them in
lieu of cash. This script is redeemable for merchandise at prison camp
post exchanges. This script is not uniform, each of the several Service
Commands procuring it and issuing it to camps within its jurisdiction.
No photographs of the canteen checks are available.”

Naturally, more detailed and definite information will be available only
after the termination of hostilities and the restoration of unimpeded
research channels.

                      European War-Prisoner Medals

With regard to war prisoner medals, the numismatic situation is
completely different from that outlined here for internment camp money.
True, there may have been also a “mass production” of such medallic
items in Europe during the war of 1914-1918. But it never could have
paralleled that of the emergency money for internment camps.

Two motives, above all, caused the issuance of war prisoner medals: the
raising of funds for the support of prisoners of war or the amelioration
of their condition; and the creation of the commemorative tokens or
medals for presentation to captives after their liberation. It is
doubtful and highly improbable, that the “mass production” of such
medals ever reached in quantity a volume equal to that of war prisoners
money. The number issued may well run into hundreds, at most a few
thousands, but certainly not many thousands. For, to the best of this
author’s knowledge, no commemorative war medal in the form of an
official decoration to be given to all war prisoners in general was
issued by any of the states participating in the First World War. Nor
did any of the European states that remained neutral and held members of
the belligerents in internment camps, issue commemorative medals for
internees. This suggestion may well deserve the attention of the United
Nations’ military authorities. After the present war a special
commemorative medal of honor should be issued, intended for those who
had to endure the great hardships of captivity for their country, often
suffering undescribable physical and mental restraint. Such a token of
gratitude would show to these heroes that they, too, had not been
forgotten and that their sacrifice is duly appreciated and will
permanently be remembered.

It seems that in the last European war prisoner medals were issued
privately only. The extensive search for such medals carried on by the
author in numismatic literature and dealers’ catalogues as well as
through interviewing of collectors and dealers, yielded only four items.
Three are of German origin, only one is French. None of these medals has
aroused as yet the attention or curiosity of numismatists in general or
of collectors of medals in particular.

    [Illustration: German Capture Medal by L. Gies]

Because of its medallic representation a typically German “war medal”
will be mentioned first. No specimen was available to this writer. None
is found in the Museum of the American Numismatic Society in New York
City. It is a unilateral bronze medal, measuring 64 millimeters in
diameter, designed by the German artist. Ludwig Gies, whose initials
L.G. appear on the obverse. It is one of the numerous “war medals”
created by him in the beginning of the First World War. It depicts the
act of capture. A German soldier is shown capturing and taking away a
French, a Russian, an English, Belgian, Serbian, and a colonial native
prisoner of war. A brief description, but no reproduction of this medal,
is found in J. Schulman’s Catalogue LXV, of April 1916, p. 82, No. 809.
It is pictured among the artist’s other war medals in Max Bernhart’s
_Die Muenchener Medaillenkunst der Gegenwart_, Plate 15, No. 102,
wherefrom the reproduction is made.

The medal reproduced here as No. 1, another German war prisoner medal,
is a silver medal, of 37.67 grams, measuring forty-one millimeters in
diameter. The obverse depicts the full figure of a German prisoner of
war, dressed in his uniform, on which a sign PG (French: _prisonnier de
guerre_) is visible. Standing on the shore of a river, being of course
the Rhine, he holds his hands stretched out to express his fervent
longing for his home country. Not only the mountains of the latter are
visible on the opposite shore but also the home village with its little
church in the foreground. The inscription in the left upper space of the
medal, before the soldier’s eyes, reads: SEHNSUCHT (longing). The
reverse bears the following inscription in a quadrangular space
ZIVIL/GEFANGENEN, meaning, “National Society for the Protection of
German Military and Civil Prisoners of War.” On the rim of the medal
name and place of the producing firm are visible: C. Poellat,
Schrobenhausen. The designer’s name does not appear on the medal. No
year is given. In accordance with the aims of the issuing society the
medal was probably destined to promote interest in and support of the
German prisoners of war in enemy land. No records or accounts of the
activities of this society were available in this country. Nevertheless
it is safe to assume the following. Sending of food parcels from Germany
was possible only in the first years of war. But even later, in the
period of grave food shortage, funds were still needed and actually
raised for clothing, and particularly for books, which were continuously
sent to prisoner camps in great quantities. A specimen of this medal is
in the collection of Dr. Bruno Kisch, New York City.

    [Illustration: No. 1
    German Volksbund for Prisoners Medal]

There is a French counterpart to this medal. A small medal, 26
millimeters in diameter, similar to No. 1 in its motives, but apparently
more artistically designed, is known to have been struck in France. No
specimen is available in this country. According to the brief
description in J. Schulman’s Catalogue LXXIII it was designed by O.
Yencesse and executed in a silvery white metal. The obverse shows a
French soldier seated in an attitude of despondency. The inscription
reads: POUR NOS—PRISONNIERS. that is: “For Our Prisoners.” On the
reverse a dove is visible bearing in its bill an olive branch. Below is
the date 1916. The motive of the issuance of this medal was patently
fund raising.

No. 2 is a medal made of hard white metal, and struck for the German
prisoners of war interned at Douglas, Isle of Man, to commemorate their
detention there. Its diameter measures 46 millimeters. On the top there
is a rectangular vertical loophole. The obverse shows the Douglas prison
camp, in the foreground its barracks and huts, also an unfolded banner
is visible; in the background a fortress at the left of the beholder,
and a lighthouse at the right. Between the fortress and the lighthouse
is the Manx triskelion or triquerta, occupying a prominent place in the
upper center. The entire picture on the obverse is enclosed by a
surrounding wreath of barbed wire. The reverse has a wreath of leaves
with a panel in the middle. The inscription reads, in the upper segment:
WELTKRIEG 1914-1915 (“World War 1914-1915”); in the lower: DOUGLAS ISLE
OF MAN; in the middle: ERINNERUNG AN DIE KRIEGSHAFT (“In commemoration
of war detention”). No artist’s name is given. Specimens of this medal
are found in the museum of the American Numismatic Society, New York
City, and in this writer’s collection. The first mentioned specimen is
in an (original) plain wooden case with no ornament. Other wooden cases
are known, on the cover of which an inlaid design is visible
representing an open-jawed snake as the symbol of war. The words
_Weltkrieg 1914/15_ are added on the case. This medal was pictured and
briefly, though not exactly, described in _The New York Times_ of August
26, 1916. In The Numismatist of March 1916, a reproduction with a few
explanatory lines was also published, the medal having been exhibited at
the January meeting of the New York Numismatic Club.

    [Illustration: No. 2
    German Camp Douglas Medal]

Douglas, Peel and Knockaloe had been chosen as sites for the detention
camps on the Isle of Man. Here many an alien who for years had followed
some profession or trade in Great Britain was interned in 1914 for the
duration of the war. The English and German Relief Committees with the
active cooperation of the American Young Men’s Christian Association
succeeded in performing what seemed to the _New York Times_
correspondent at that time to have been an unheard-of feat under the
existing conditions: the establishment of an art school for prisoners of
war at Camp Douglas. Beside wooden boxes done in chip carving and in
wood intaglio, the commemorative medals for German war prisoners were
certainly the most artistic objects produced there. Through a strange
irony of fate, they were strictly “made in England.” “Some day they will
be of historic value,” said the _New York Times_ correspondent in
concluding his article. The art school was established in 1915. From the
inscription on the medals “1914-1915” it is clear that they must have
been designed and executed in the latter year, three years before the
war came to an end.

No other war prisoners medals dating back to the First World War have
come to the attention of the present author. Yet, there may be some that
eluded him. He therefore would appreciate any additional information
that readers should be kind enough to send him (address: 415 West 115th
Street, New York 25, N. Y.)

                 American War-Prison Tokens and Medals

                         1. “Historical Tokens”

The study of European money and medals issued for prisoners of war in
1914-1918, aroused—little wonder—the curiosity as to whether similar
items came into existence in this country too. No war prisoners money or
medal originating in the last war is known to the author. In his
collection, however, five related items are found, four small tokens and
one large medal, which are deserving the historian’s and medallist’s
attention. All of them picture war prisons of ill fame. Four pertain to
the Revolutionary War, the fifth to the Civil War. Thus it is pertinent
to consider them all in this connection.

    [Illustration: No. 3A
    The Old Provoost, New York]

Nos. 3 A, 3 B, 4 and 5 are copper tokens, each 31 millimeters in
diameter. They are not “historical” items in that they have come down to
us as immediate witnesses from the period of the Revolutionary War. They
are rather medallic creations of an outspoken commercial character, but
nevertheless “historical” tokens. Nos. 3 A and 3 B are identical with
No. 1 of a series of fourteen “Historical Tokens” issued by August B.
Sage, a well-known New York coin dealer, in 1859. No. 4 in the present
numbering is identical with No. 2, and No. 5 with No. 5 of the same
series. On the first page of his _Catalogue of Coins, Medals and
Tokens_, No. 1, of February 1859, Mr. Sage announced that “this series
will consist of about 25 tokens, each one giving a correct
representation of some public building around which there is anything of
an historical interest.” No more than fourteen tokens were actually
issued of this series. All of them were advertised in Mr. Sage’s later
catalogue of June 1859. They were executed in copper plain edge and in
copper and brass with reeded edges. In 1859, the set was offered for
sale for $4.00. Mules in copper, brass, and tin are known. Of No. 1 and
No. 6 two dies were made: in both cases the original die showed some
mistakes in picture or legend which were corrected in the second die. In
Chapman’s catalogue of the Bushnell collection a specimen of No. 1 in
silver is listed as No. 462. It was described as of “weak impression,
but very rare.”

No. 3 A shows on its obverse a three-story building. On top a
fourth-story attic is added with four dormer windows. Above the roof
rises an octagon-shaped tower surrounded by a balustrade and surmounted
by a cupola ending in a cross. On the front side of the building at the
level of the main floor an empty space is visible. It was probably
designated in the draft for a gate or entrance door which is, however,
missing. The building is surrounded by a fence. In the lowest part of
the obverse, a large asterisk is placed between two smaller ones. The
top space contains the inscription: THE OLD PROVOOST, N. Y. The reverse
has the following legend arranged in five lines A/ BRITISH/ BRISON/
DURING THE/ REVOLUTION. The third word reads _B_rison, and not Prison.
This inscription is placed within the chain of shackles in a wreath-like
arrangement. The endings converge but do not meet, in the lower part of
the obverse. Between the open ends one reads: NO. 1, and underneath in
smaller letters parallel to the rim: AUG. B. SAGE’S HISTORICAL TOKENS.

    [Illustration: No. 3B
    The Old Provoost, New York
    (Revised Edition)]

No. 3 B, of the same type and make looking almost identical with, but
differing in details from No. 3 A, must be considered as a “revised
edition” of the latter. The obverse is identical with that of No. 3 A
with only one deviation: No. 3 B has an entrance door instead of the
empty space in the front wall of the building. The reverse shows more
divergencies. The wording and arrangement of the main inscription are
identical with that of No. 3 A. But the mistake in the word PRISON is
here corrected, the B having been replaced by a P. In 3 B the
surrounding open chain occupies only the upper half of the margin, while
the title of the token series takes its place in the corresponding space
in the lower half: “AUG. B. SAGE’S HISTORICAL TOKENS.” The half-circles
of the chain in the upper part and of the series title in the lower part
thus form a kind of wreath surrounding the main inscription of five
lines. The numeral, No. 1, appears here in the lower part and is
separated from the last line of the inscription, REVOLUTION, by a small
asterisk between two brief exergual lines. Asterisk and lines are
missing in No. 3 A.

Both types of the token, 3 A as well as 3 B, have on the obverse below
the left corner of the fence, the initial L, representing the name of
the engraver, George H. Lovett, who is listed in the New York City
Directory of 1859 as die-sinker at 131 Fulton Street. He executed all
the Sage tokens and several very pretty Washington medals.

The medallic picture of the “Old Provoost” is undoubtedly based on
Alexander J. Davis’s (1803-1892) drawing that was engraved by Alexander
Anderson (1775-1870) and reproduced in _The New York Mirror_ of
September 10, 1831, in John Pintard’s article, “The Old Jail.”

The site of this “modern bastille” was City Hall Park. It was built as
the second jail, in succession, in the City of New York in 1757 and
completed in 1759. In the revolutionary period it was memorable during
the occupation of the City by the British forces, from 1776 to 1783, as
a British military prison, known as “Provost” and later as “Martyr’s
Prison”, still later as “Debtor’s Prison”. In 1830 it was reconstructed
and fitted to receive public records, henceforth known as “Register’s
Office” or “Hall of Records”. It was finally demolished in 1903 to make
way for the Subway. Coins, buttons, and human bones were found in the
excavation. A tablet, erected in 1907, on a granite monument in the Park
still marks the site of the “Old Provost.”

This British military prison, under the superintendence of the ill-famed
Captain Cunningham, Provost-Marshall—from whom it took its name—and his
deputy, Sergeant Keefe, was the scene of great brutalities to American,
or, in the language of the times, “rebel” prisoners during the
Revolution. The Provost was destined, as John Pintard, the meritorious
New York historian, tells us, for the more notorious rebels, civil,
naval, and military. An admission into this prison was enough to appall
the stoutest heart. On the second floor, called derisively “Congress
Hall,” prisoners of note were confined, citizens of distinction and many
American officers, among them the famous Colonel Ethan Allen and Judge
Fell, of Bergen county, New Jersey. Could these dumb walls speak, John
Pintard exclaims, what scenes of anguish, what tales of agonizing woe,
might they disclose. In his aforementioned article he gave a vivid
account of the “Old Jail’s” history well known to him from the personal
reminiscences of many a distinguished prisoner still living in his day.

For naval “rebels” a similar function as that of the “Old Provost” for
civil and military “rebels” was fulfilled by “prison-ships.” On board of
such vessels seamen were subjected to every possible hardship, to compel
them to enter into the British service. As is well known, prison-ships
were old vessels-of-war which had been condemned as unseaworthy, and
unfit for store or hospital ships, and converted to this, the last use
to which they could be applied. One of them has gained medallic
interest, the “_Old Jersey Prison Ship_,” which was included as No. 5 in
A. B. Sage’s series of “Historical Tokens.” It is No. 4 in the present

    [Illustration: No. 4
    The Old Jersey Prison Ship]

On the obverse the center of the medallic space is occupied by a
representation of the _Jersey_ as it is found on contemporary
engravings. In the upper space one reads: THE OLD JERSEY. Underneath the
ship an anchor is pictured between two skulls and bones. The engraver’s
initial L is missing on this token. The reverse shows the same
arrangement as found in all Sage’s prison tokens. The open shackles in
half-circle in the upper space together with the half-circular
designation AUG. B. SAGE’S HISTORICAL TOKENS surround the following
legend: A/ BRITISH/ PRISON/ DURING THE/ REVOLUTION. The last word stands
between two ornamental lines, the lower consisting of three big stars
flanked on each side by a group of three small stars. Underneath one
reads: No. 5.

The prison-ship _Jersey_ built in 1736 was a fourth-rate ship of the
line, mounting sixty guns, and carrying a crew of four hundred men. She
was first used as one of the Channel fleet, later sent repeatedly to the
Mediterranean Sea, to Spain, the West Indies, Newfoundland, and was
active in several naval engagements. Already in 1747 the _Jersey_ was
laid up as evidently unfit for active service. On the renewal of
hostilities with France, in 1756, she was refitted for service and again
operated in the Mediterranean. She continued in active service until
1763 when she returned to England and was laid up once more. But in 1766
the _Jersey_ was again commissioned and sailed for America in 1769. At
that time, the active duty of that ship appears to have been brought to
a close, since she remained out of commission from 1769 to 1776. In this
year the _Jersey_ was ordered, without armament, to New York as a
hospital-ship. In the latter part of the year 1781 she was fitted as a
prison-ship and was used for that purpose during the remainder of the
Revolutionary War. “She remained until the termination of the British
authority in New York, when she was abandoned to the fate to which she
was justly entitled, and was subsequently overwhelmed in the mud of the
Wale bogt, where she remains to this day.” An abundant literature of
memoirs, letters, and lists of the prisoners tells the story of this
prison-ship and its inmates by whose blood and sufferings the
independence of the United States and the civil and religious privileges
all of us can now enjoy, were achieved and purchased.

    [Illustration: No. 5
    City Hall, Wall Street, New York]

Two more of Sage’s tokens have undertaken to memorialize other Civil War
prisons. In design and execution they are similar to the tokens
described here. No. 2 of Sage’s “Historical Token” series pictures on
its obverse a large building and has the following inscription: CITY
HALL, WALL ST. N. Y. ERECTED IN 1700/ DEMOLISHED/ 1812. The obverse is
very similar to that of No. 3 A, the uncorrected No. 1 of Sage’s
historical series, two skull and bones emblems having been added. A
specimen is in the author’s collection. I. N. Phelps Stokes’
_Iconography of Manhattan Island: 1498-1909_ (Vol. VI, 1928. p. 539, s.
v. City Hall) does not give, however, any evidence that this building
was used as a British prison during the Revolution. It is different in
the case of _Livingston’s Sugar-House_. which was located on the South
side of Liberty Street, New York City, adjoining the Dutch Church
graveyard east of Nassau Street. This building was chosen by Mr. Sage as
the subject of another token, No. 2 in his series “Odds and Ends,”
executed in the very same manner as all the other tokens. Its obverse
bears the inscription: OLD SUGAR HOUSE LIBERTY ST., N. Y. FOUNDED 1689/

                          2. Historical Medals

In contrast to the aforementioned tokens, No. 6 and No. 7 are historical
medals in the specific meaning of this term. No description or mention
of either of them have come to this writer’s attention.

The medal No. 6 measures forty-four millimetres in diameter and was
struck in silver, bronze, and white metal. The American Numismatic
Society has a specimen of each type in its collection. The obverse shows
the “Old Sugar House, Rose Street, N. Y.,” a large five-story building,
of which the front and side are visible. The space between the third and
fourth story of the front is occupied by the number 1763, the year of
its foundation, as the legend says. The space between the uppermost
window on the gable front and the two lower windows has as inscription
these letters: BRS. All windows are grated. Above the representation of
the building one reads the following half-circular inscription: OLD
SUGAR HOUSE ROSE ST. N. Y. Below, there appears this inscription:
FOUNDED 1763 DEMOLISHED 1892. On the reverse the half-circular legend, A
BRITISH PRISON, is placed above a small representation of the frontside
of the gable. The latter shows the uppermost window in the highest
corner, and underneath two more grated windows in a row. Above the left
window the initial I, above the right one the initial S are visible. The
lower part of the reverse is occupied by a key in horizontal situation
being the ill-famed prison-key, underneath shackles are placed. The
ornamental arrangement is in symmetrical correspondence with that in the
upper part. In the middle of the space one reads in two lines: DURING

    [Illustration: No. 6
    Old Sugar House, Rose Street, New York]

The “Old Sugar House Rose Street, N. Y.,” which stood on the corner of
Rose and Deane Streets in New York City, was erected by Henry Cuyler,
Jr., for his heir, Barnet Rynders Cuyler, probably in 1763. This date,
which appears on the medal twice, is based on an authority “who had
opportunity to observe.” John Austin Stevens stated from personal
recollection “that he saw the date 1769 high upon the brick wall in iron
figures.” The good engraving which is reproduced in James G. Wilson’s
_Memorial History of the City of New York_ and may well have been the
model for the engraver of the medal, shows the year 1767 on the wall of
the building. As disputed as the date of its erection is also its use as
prison during the Revolution. Wilson writes: “The date and the
architect’s initials are still to be seen on the side of the building,
worked in wrought-iron characters, quaint and old. The Rhinelander
family has owned the property since 1790, and much of the land around it
has been in their possession much longer than that. When first erected
the house was used as a sugar-house, but the great interest in the old
building is in the memory of the use to which it was put in
revolutionary times. The grated windows, the dungeon-like underground
cellars, the general air of solidity and impregnability which impress
the observer at first sight, bear out the assertion, which has become a
creed among the neighbors, that during the Revolution the sugar-house
was diverted from its legitimate use and turned into a British prison,
where many an American patriot suffered not only imprisonment, but
cruelties and starvation.” This was written by Wilson in 1892 in
commemoration of the then recent demolition of the structure. It seems
that it was the very same occasion that caused the issuance of the
medal, bearing the year of the building’s demolition. Nevertheless, the
use of the Rhinelander sugar-house as a prison during the Revolution was
“denied by Stevens and others, who have presented testimony to disprove
it,” as Stokes tells us. It seems almost impossible to decide the issue
which, in turn, renders the historical justification of the issuance of
the medal also doubtful.

    [Illustration: No. 7
    Libby Prison Medal

No. 7 is the only medal known to the author referring to a military
prison in the Civil War. No specimen of it is found in the museum of the
American Numismatic Society. Nor do the catalogues, guide-books, and
other pamphlets published by the Libby Prison War Museum Association in
Chicago mention this medal that was probably issued by this very
association. There is nothing about it in the files of the Chicago
Historical Society. The Chicago newspapers of 1893 might have some
article or note. But as they are not indexed it would take a great deal
of time and labor to search through them.

The very heavy medal measures seventy-one millimetres in diameter. It is
made of type metal, coated with a bluish-black lacquer. The obverse
shows in its upper part the following legend: LIBBY PRISON; and in the
lower part: WAR MUSEUM/ CHICAGO 1893. The space in the center is
occupied by the picture of Libby Prison as it stood in its original
place in Richmond, Virginia. Four prisoners’ tents are visible in the
foreground. Of course, no barbed wire, and not even a fence are
indicated. Instead sentries can be seen in front of the main building as
well as of the tent-barracks, their number being six _in toto_. The
picture is that well known from contemporary drawings or etchings.

    [Illustration: No. 7
    Libby Prison Medal

The reverse of the medal bears an extensive legend in eighteen lines.
These are surrounded by a circular panel, showing on top clasped hands,
at the bottom crossed sabres. The panel inscription reads: NO
legend gives an historical account of Libby Prison and its
transformation into the Chicago War Museum:





The history of Libby Prison as sad as it is romantic is too well known
to be retold here even briefly. The New York Public Library has in its
Americana collection no less than 222 items on Civil War prisoners and
prisons. Many of them are devoted exclusively or partially to Libby
Prison. The selected bibliography appended to this article will guide
historically interested readers. With reference to the medal under
consideration it is surprising that the famous commander of the prison,
Major Thomas P. Turner, found no mention in its historical legend. He
“was always a gentleman,” as one of the former prisoners wrote in his

In view of the fact that the medal is dedicated to the Libby Prison War
Museum in Chicago, the history of the removal of the building from
Richmond may be of interest. The following quotation is an excerpt from
the pertinent introductory chapter in the now rare _Catalogue and
Program_ of the Libby Prison War Museum, first published probably in
1889 and later reprinted in the early eighteen-nineties:

  “The removal of Libby Prison from Richmond, Va. to Chicago was a
  project never before equaled in the history of building moving and one
  that will not be surpassed for years to come. This famous old
  structure as a Confederate prison is too well known to need the
  repetition of its history, and it is enough to state that it was the
  palace prison of the South, and during the late war it held more than
  40,000 Union officers and enlisted men as prisoners. The project of
  removing Libby Prison to Chicago was thought of by a well-known
  Chicago business man who interested a syndicate of his business
  associates, and as a result they visited Richmond in the latter part
  of 1888 and took a thorough look over the ground.... Mr. Louis M.
  Hallowell, a well-known and experienced Philadelphia architect, was
  engaged to work on the spot. He made all of the working plans for
  taking the structure apart, shipping it to the cars and rebuilding it
  in Chicago. The work commenced in December, 1888, and as the building
  was taken apart each board, beam, timber and block of stone was
  numbered and lettered in such a manner that there was not the least
  trouble about placing these parts correctly together again in
  rebuilding.... Sending to Chicago required 132 twenty-ton cars ... the
  re-erection of Libby Prison ... was completed early in September. The
  Museum was opened to the public September 21, 1889.... It contains the
  most complete and valuable collections of Confederate relics in

The museum was situated on Wabash Avenue between 14th and 16th Streets.
The enterprise proved a failure, however. The Libby Prison War Museum
was torn down in 1899, according to information received from the
Chicago Historical Society. The Coliseum was erected on the site. The
prison wall on the Wabash Avenue is now incorporated in the facade of
the Coliseum, all other material used having been disposed of.

The officers of the Libby Prison War Museum Association whose names
appear on the medal, are identifiable from their advertisements on the
covers of the _Catalogue_. The President, C. J. Gunther, was a
confectioner who advertised his candies; the Vice President, L. Manasse,
an optician; and the secretary-treasurer was a member of the law firm,
Schuyler and Kremer, “attorneys at law and proctors in Admiralty.”

One would expect to learn that the medal was struck on some occasion
connected with the Libby Prison War Museum, either on the completion of
its rebuilding in Chicago or on its opening. This was, however, not the
case. There is no other indication as to when the medal was executed
except the year 1893 appearing on its reverse. It proves that the medal
must have been struck in connection with the Columbian Exposition held
in that year in Chicago. This is all that could be explored of its

Finally a token should be mentioned that refers to Civil War prisons,
though indirectly only. It is representative of a whole group of similar
tokens. In 1864-1865 a special committee of the United States Sanitary
Commission published the gruesome results of an inquiry into the
privations and sufferings of United States officers and soldiers during
their war imprisonment. It aroused, of course, the public at that time.
The United States Sanitary Commission, established in 1861, to cooperate
with the army, arranged a series of great fairs, popularly termed
“Sanitary Fairs,” in order to raise funds for the relief of sickness,
the improvement of hospital sanitation, and the promotion of the health
conditions among the armed forces in general. The Commission distributed
during the war supplies to the value of fifteen million dollars, and
funds amounting to five million more were received into its treasury, at
least two-thirds of which were obtained from the numerous “Sanitary
Fairs.” The first was held at Chicago in 1863, and many other cities

Tokens of the kind of that pictured here as No. 8 were given to the
“cheerful givers.” The obverse of No. 8 shows Washington’s head facing
the right, at each side four stars, the legend being: GEO. WASHINGTON /
PRESIDENT. The reverse has the following inscription in nine lines, the
first three and last one curved: GOD LOVETH A CHEERFUL GIVER / GREAT
/ AUGUST 1864. The size is twenty-four millimeters. Specimens were
struck in silver, copper, brass, nickel, and tin.

    [Illustration: No. 8
    “Sanitary Fair” Token]

To be sure, the present essay represents but a very modest contribution
to the discipline of medallic history. If through the methodological
approach of a specific problem it would aid in stimulating further
research in this little cultivated field, the author would consider this
a highly gratifying reward.

                         ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

                      Prisoners of War in General

William E. S. Flory, Prisoners of War: A Study in the Development of
      International Law. Washington, D. C.: American Council on Public
      Affairs, 1942.

  A good survey of all legal aspects of the subject, with a selected

Georges Werner, “Les Prisonniers de Guerre,” in Académie de Droit
      International: Receuil des Cours, 1928, Vol. I, Paris: Librairie
      Hachette, 1929, pp. 1-107.

  Scholarly juridical treatise on all legal problems concerning
  prisoners of war.

Franz von Liszt, Das Völkerrecht. Twelfth edition by Max Fleischmann.
      Berlin: Julius Springer, 1925, pp. 480-488.

  The standard German work on International Law, with a selected

André Warnod, Prisonnier de Guerre: Notes et Croquis Rapportés
      d’Allemagne. Paris: Librairie Charpentier et Fasquelle, 1915.

  Experiences in a German internment camp, with interesting drawings by
  the author as illustrations.

[Alexander] Backhaus, Die Kriegsgefangenen in Deutschland.
      Siegen-Leipzig-Berlin: Verlag Hermann Montanus, 1915.

  About 250 photographs from German prison camps with explanatory

[Anonymous]: Deutsche Kriegsgefangene in Feindesland. Berlin and
      Leipzig: 1919.

  Official accounts of the German government concerning prisoners of war
  in France and England.

Clemens Plassmann, Die deutschen Kriegsgefangenen in Frankreich,
      1914-1920. Berlin: Verlag der Reichsvereinigung ehemaliger
      Kriegsgefangener, 1921.

  A systematical discussion of all legal and social problems concerning
  the German prisoners of war in France, 1914-1920.

Dora Coith, Kriegsgefangen: Erlebnisse einer Deutschen in Frankreich.
      Leipzig: Hesse und Becker Verlag, 1915.

  Description of experiences in a French war prison of a German civil

Robert Guerlain, A Prisoner in Germany. London: Macmillan and Co. Ltd.,

  Account of a French soldier who spent more than a year as a prisoner
  of war in one of the vast prison camps in Germany, 1940-1941.

                        I. Internment Camp Money

Bruno Röttinger, Das deutsche Gefangenenlagergeld sowie Gruben und
      Zechengeld 1914/1918. (Volume V of Dr. Arnold Keller’s
      Notgeldbücher). Frankfurt a. M.: Adolph E. Cahn, 1922. V + 42 pp.

  The most complete check-list of all kinds and varieties of the German
  internment camp money superseding previously published lists.

J. Schulman, La Guerre Européenne 1914-1916: Catalogues, Nos. LXVII,
      January, 1917, pp. 99-129, nos. 864-1188, plates IX-XI (Germany,
      Austria-Hungary); pp. 152-154, nos. 1387-1400 (Germany); LXX,
      March, 1918, pp. 66-70, nos. 745-801 (Germany); pp. 129-131, nos.
      1441-1465 (Austria-Hungary); LXX, pp. 166-168, nos. 1797-1831 a
      (France); LXXIII, January, 1919, pp. 19-27, nos. 171-259 (France);
      pp. 55-58, nos. 535-573 (Germany); pp. 78-79, nos. 770-773
      (Austria); pp. 104-106, nos. 1049-1064 (France); LXXV, December,
      1919, pp. 10-12, nos. 90-112 (France); pp. 91-96, nos. 832-882
      (Germany); pp. 99-100, nos. 906-917 (Austria-Hungary).

  Many complete sets listed with very fine numismatic descriptions.

[Anonymous], “The Numismatic Side of the European War.” The Numismatist,
      XXIX (July, 1916), p. 328.

  On internment camp money of Freistadt, Grodig, and Kleinmünchen.

[Anonymous], “Europe’s War Legacy to Collectors.” The Numismatist, XXIX
      (1916), pp. 498-499.

  On Austrian war prisoners money “in the war prisoners’ camp at
  Braunau, and struck in nickel-aluminum. All are of the same type and
  have a small square hole in the center.” Also on war prisoners money
  used in the camps at Danzig-Troyl, Prussia, and Kleinmünchen, Austria,
  with reproduction of several sets.

[Anonymous], “European War Prison Camp Tokens.” The Numismatist, XXX
      (1917), pp. 18-19.

  Particularly on the prisoners money of the “k. u. k. Offiziersstation
  für Kriegsgefangene Mühling,” (1915), with reproductions.

J. Hunt Deacon, “Isle of Man Internment Camp Money.” The Numismatic
      Scrapbook Magazine, IX (June, 1943), pp. 313-314.

  On internment camp money issued in the present war.

J. Hunt Deacon, “More Internment Camp Money.” The Numismatic Scrapbook
      Magazine, IX (July, 1943). pp. 428 f.

  On present war money issued for civilian internment camps.

Robert Guerlain, A Prisoner in Germany. London: Macmillan and Co. Ltd.,

  On pp. 71-73, information is found on prices and currency in German
  prison camps, during the period of 1939 to 1941.

                    II. European War-Prisoner Medals

                  German Capture Medal by Ludwig Gies

J. Schulman, La Guerre Européenne 1914-1916. Catalogue LXV, April 1916,
      p. 82, no. 809.

  The description reads:

  Prisonniers de guerre.

  Médaille uniface coulée en bronze par L. G(ies). Un soldat allemand
  amène un soldat français, un russe, un anglais, un belge, un serbe et
  un indigène. Br. mm. 64. Médaille très intéressante. fl. 18.

Max Bernhart, Die Münchener Medaillenkunst der Gegenwart. Munich-Berlin:
      R. Oldenbourg, 1917.

  A photographic reproduction, 60 millimeters in diameter, is found on
  Plate 15, no. 102.

                   French War-Prisoner Medal of 1916

J. Schulman, La Guerre Européenne 1914-1916. Catalogue LXXIII, p. 8 no.

  The description reads:

  Pour nos prisonniers.

  Médaille portative par O. Yencesse. Un poilus assis en attitude
  accablée. Légende POUR NOS-PRISONNIERS. Rev. Une colombe portant dans
  son bec un rameau d’olivier, en bas. 1916. Métal argenté mm. 26, coins
  arrondis. fl. 3.50.

                       German Camp Douglas Medal

[Anonymous], “German Prisoners’ Art School,” in The New York Times,
      Sunday, August 20, 1916, p. 12.

[Anonymous], “Some Interesting Medallic Issues,” The Numismatist, XXIX
      (March, 1916), p. 124, no. 4.

               III. American War Prison Tokens and Medals

                    Civil War Prisons and Prisoners

Richard F. Hemmerlein, Prisons and Prisoners of the Civil War. Boston:
      The Christopher Publishing House, 1934.

  A general survey of the history of the prisons and the treatment of
  prisoners during the Civil War, with select bibliography.

                 A. B. Sage’s Historical Prison Tokens

Augustus B. Sage, Catalogue of Coins, Medals, and Tokens, No. 1, New
      York: February, 1859, p. 1.

  Advertisement and description of the series of Sage’s “Historical
  Tokens,” nos. 1-10.

A. B. Sage, Catalogue of Coins, Medals, and Tokens, New York: June,

  On inner front-cover advertisement and description of the series of
  Sage’s “Historical Tokens,” nos. 1-14, and of another token series,
  “Odds and Ends.” These data, though of general numismatic interest,
  are not reproduced in L. Forrer’s Biographical Dictionary of
  Medalists. Hence they are given here in full.

                           Historical Tokens:

  No. 1. The Old Provoost Prison, 2 dies.
  No. 2. The Old City Hall, Wall Street.
  No. 3. Faneuil Hall, Boston.
  No. 4. Carpenter’s Hall, Philadelphia.
  No. 5. Old Jersey Prison Ship.
  No. 6. State House, Philadelphia, 2 dies.
  No. 7. Mount Vernon, Washington’s Residence.
  No. 8. Old Hasbrook House, Newburgh.
  No. 9. Richmond Hill House, N. Y.
  No. 10. Washington’s Head Quarters, Tappan.
  No. 11. Washington’s Head Quarters, Valley Forge.
  No. 12. Sir Henry Clinton’s House, N. Y.
  No. 13. The Old Swamp Church.
  No. 14. The Charter Oak.

“Upon receipt of $4.00, we will send a complete set of the above tokens
      to any place in the United States. The series will be continued
      from time to time.“

                             Odds and Ends:

  No. 1. Crystal Palace.
  No. 2. Old Sugar House.
  No. 3. Paul Morphy.

  “The above series will be continued from time to time. Struck in good
  copper, and sold at the low price of 25 cents each.”

S. H. and H. Chapman, Catalogue of the Celebrated and Valuable
      Collection of American Coins and Medals of the Late Charles I.
      Bushnell. Philadelphia: Chapman, 1882, p. 31, nos. 459-462:
      “Sage’s Historical Tokens.”

L. Forrer, Biographical Dictionary of Medallists, Vol. V. London: Spink
      and Son, 1912, p. 296.

  Forrer’s pertinent account on Sage’s “Historical Tokens” must be
  corrected in accordance with the data given in the present essay.

                     “The Old Provoost” of New York

I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island: 1498-1909.
      Vol. III, New York: Robert H. Dodd, 1918. p. 972, s. v. New Gaol

John Pintard, “The Old Jail.” The New York Mirror: A Weekly Journal,
      Devoted to Literature and the Fine Arts, Vol. IX, No. 10 (New
      York, September 10, 1831), p. 73.

  With a reproduction of “The Old Provoost,” drawn by Alexander J. Davis
  and engraved by Alexander Anderson.

Frank Bergen Kelley, Historical Guide to the City of New York. Revised
      Edition. New York: The New York Commercial Tercentenary
      Commission, 1913, p. 55.

                      “The Old Jersey Prison Ship”

Albert G. Greene (editor), Recollections of the Jersey Prison-Ship:
      Taken, and Prepared for Publication, from the Original Manuscript
      of the Late Captain Thomas Dring, of Providence, R. I., One of the
      Prisoners. New York: P. M. Davis, 1831. Re-edited by Henry B.
      Dawson. Morrisania, N. Y.: H. B. Dawson, 1865.

  Especially p. 14, note 3; p. 196; reproduction of an engraving of the
  “exterior view of the ship,” facing p. 16.

[Anonymous], 1888. A Christmas Reminder: Being the Names of about Eight
      Thousand Persons, A Small Portion of the Number Confined on Board
      the British Prison Ships during the War of the Revolution.
      Brooklyn, N. Y.: Society of Old Brooklynites. 1888.

  Containing the names of the “prisoners confined on board the British
  ship Jersey.”

Henry R. Stiles, Letters from the Prisons and Prison-Ships of the
      Revolution. (The Wallabout Prison-Ship Series, No. 1). New York:
      Privately printed, 1865.

  Includes letters written on the Jersey.

                        Livingston’s Sugar House

I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island: 1498-1909.
      Vol. V, New York: Robert H. Dodd, 1926, pp. 1042 (1777); 1234

Thomas E. V. Smith, The City of New York in the Year of Washington’s
      Inauguration, 1789. New York: Anson D. F. Randolph and Co., 1889,
      pp. 36-37.

                        Rhinelander Sugar-House

James Grant Wilson, The Memorial History of the City of New York from
      Its First Settlement to the Year 1892, Vol. II, New York: New York
      History Company, 1892, p. 452 and note 1.

  With a good picture of the Rhinelander Sugar House. A picture of
  Livingston’s Sugar House is found, ibidem, p. 457.

I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island: 1498-1909,
      Vol. IV, New York: Robert H. Dodd, 1922, p. 790 (anno 1769); cf.
      Vol. V, 1926, pp. 1234 (1789); 1699 (Febr. 4, 1831).

Henry Collins Brown, Book of Old New York. New York: Privately printed,

  Opposite p. 308, a good photograph of the Rhinelander Sugar House.

                Libby Prison and Libby Prison War Museum

Will Parmiter Kent, The Story of Libby Prison: Also Some Perils and
      Sufferings of Certain of Its Inmates. Second edition. Chicago,
      Ill.: The Libby Prison War Museum Association [1890].

  Profusely illustrated. On the cover pictures of Libby Prison “as it
  was” and “as it is.”

[Anonymous], Libby Prison War Museum: Catalogue and Program. Chicago:
      Libby Prison War Museum Association, [no year given]; reprinted
      several times.

[Anonymous], A Trip through the Libby Prison War Museum. Chicago: Libby
      Prison National War Museum Association, 189?.

Frank E. Moran, A Thrilling History of the Famous Underground Tunnel of
      Libby Prison. New York: Reprinted from the Century Magazine,

F. F. Cavada, Libby Life: Experiences of a Prisoner of War in Richmond,
      Va., 1863-64. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott and Co., 1865.

  Most comprehensive description with contemporary illustrations, among
  them a reproduction of the best contemporary engraving of Libby Prison
  in Richmond, Va.

Louis Palma di Cesnola, Ten Months in Libby Prison. [Pamphlet, no place,
      no date]. [New York, 1865].

  Description of prison life in Libby prison, 1863-1864.

Isaac N. Johnston, Four Months in Libby, and the Campaign against
      Atlanta. Cincinnati: J. N. Johnston, 1864.

A. O. Abbott, Prison Life in the South at Richmond, Macon, Savannah,
      during the Years 1864 and 1865. New York: Harper and Brothers,

  Description of the life in Libby Prison by a former prisoner, on pp.

Cullen B. (“Doc”) Aubery, Recollections of a Newsboy in the Army of the
      Potomac, 1861-1865; His Capture and Confinement in Libby Prison.
      [Milwaukee, Wisc.: Doc Aubery, 1904].

  Memoirs of Libby Prison and its commanders by a former prisoner of

                   United States Sanitary Commission

United States Sanitary Commission, Narrative of Privations and
      Sufferings of United States Officers and Soldiers While Prisoners
      of War in the Hands of the Rebel Authorities. Boston: “Little’s
      Living Age,” 1865.

  Official report of a commission of inquiry, with an appendix
  containing the testimony. See also Arthur C. Cole, The Irrepressible
  Conflict, 1850-1865 (A History of American Life, Vol. VII) (New York,
  1934), pp. 322 f., 331 f.

W. S. Baker, Medallic Portraits of Washington with Historical and
      Critical Notes. Philadelphia: Robert M. Lindsay, 1885, pp. 150
      ff., especially No. 364, p. 154.

The present bibliography has been completed on April 1, 1945.

The author wishes gratefully to acknowledge the courtesy of the American
Numismatic Society (Mr. Sawyer Mc. A. Mosser, Librarian) and of the New
York Historical Society (Mr. John T. Washburn, Chief of the Reading
Room) in permitting him use of their collections, without which this
study could never have been completed.

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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