August 17, 2022

Background picture by Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

By Q. David Bowers

Lincoln cents had been first distributed in August 1909, changing the Indian Head design that had been in use since 1859. Massive portions of the brand new cash had been made in Philadelphia and a smaller quantity in San Francisco.

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Maybe probably the most well-known distributor (if that’s the proper phrase) of Lincoln pennies was Eva Tanguay, probably the most well-known vaudeville star of the day. Born in Canada in 1878, she moved together with her household to Holyoke, Massachusetts, when she was six years previous. On stage at Parsons Corridor in an novice night time present when she was eight, Eva appeared in character as a younger woman, however within the uncommon garb of sporting a number of knit chair throws and material from an previous umbrella. From the outset, she was completely different and strange. Two years later she toured professionally with a troupe showcasing scenes from a preferred novel, Little Lord Fauntleroy. In 1901 she was on stage within the Broadway musical My Woman, adopted in 1904 by The Chaperons in the identical venue. By 1905 she was in a solo vaudeville act that drew broad consideration. One success led to a different, and by 1910 she was incomes as a lot as $3,500 per week (equal to shut to $100,000 right now).

She was vivacious and self-confident as she sang suggestive songs, together with “It’s All Been Achieved Earlier than however Not the Manner I Do It,” and “I Need Somebody to Go Wild with Me.” Her nickname utilized in all her reveals was the “I Don’t Care Lady,” after her most well-known track of the identical title. She doted on being controversial and outrageous, akin to in 1907 when she stayed with married journalist and publicist C.F. Zittel in a Brooklyn resort for almost every week and was found by his spouse, who employed room-service bellhops to analyze. For Eva, this was extra free publicity! She additionally made headines by supposedly being kidnapped, allegedly having her jewels stolen, and being fined $50 in Louisville, Kentucky, for throwing a stagehand down a flight of stairs.

Picture by Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

She earned a footnote within the annals of numismatics in 1910 when she appeared on stage in a coat totally lined with the comparatively new cash. Audiences went wild when she threw handfuls of cash from the stage. One account acknowledged that 10,000 cash had been ordered by her from the Philadelphia Mint and had been first tossed in Altoona, Pennsylvania, in 1910. Newspapers picked up the story, main a person in Chicago to promote “Tanguay pennies” for 5 cents every in teams of 5 or extra.

Picture by Stack’s Bowers Galleries.

Who is aware of, however maybe that 1910 penny in your assortment was as soon as thrown by the “I Don’t Care Lady!”

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