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Tennessee Rolling Works Vignette in Smythe Sale
April 07, 2008



D. Hillman & Sons an Iron Clad Mystery

The next lot to catch my eye in the upcoming Smythe Schingoethe sale is lot 1901. This Obsolete note is denominated at 5 cents, printed in blue ink and hosts an oustanding vignette of the Tennessee Rolling Works. This is a large mill scene which streches over most of this unissued remaider note, making it most attractive to anyone interested in building vignettes. Also of interest to collectors of Iron Works items and ofcourse, a nice item for any Obsolete or Scrip collector. There is a lot of cross appeal working for this numismatic item.

In addition there is a good deal of mystery to solve. Under the main title, a note reads D. Hillman & Sons, who were the original owners of the mill, which later seems to have passed to Ewald Iron Company. The Internet offered a few references to a D. Hillman & Sons located in Trigg county Kentucky running a mill under the name Empire Iron Works, but I'm not sure when, or if, this changed to Tennessee Rolling Works, or if this is even the right D. Hillman & Sons. A quick check of the History of Trigg County revealed quite a bit of background on Daniel Hillman, with ties to Cumberland Furnace, Trigg County and Lyon County. Daniel established a company which eventuall became known as D. Hillman & Bros., so it's a short, but logical guess that it may have evolved over time into D. Hillman & Sons, the issuers of this note.

Ewald Iron Company ran at least two mills, one in St. Louis and one in Louisville. The St. Louis mill was called Tennessee Rolling Works and was established in 1846. According to the 1881 buisness directory of St. Louis, the Tennessee Rolling Works was located at 519 North Main Street near Washington Avenue, though I also found an address of 801 North Second Street. These may be the offices of the company, as I noticed a works location in Lyons county. The Louisville location was built later in 1869 and originally opened under the name Kentucky Rolling Mill, later changed to Tennessee Rolling Mills. A third mill mentioned in one source ran under the name of Tennessee Iron House. Maybe this one was on the Cumberland?

As you can see, there's plenty of mystery to go around on this note. But I'll leave further research for the new owner to enjoy after the auction closes on April 9th.

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About the Author
Tom Michael has been Krause Publications primary market analyst on more than 80 world and United States coin catalogs produced over the last 20 years. He came to KP in 1987 with a bachelor of arts degree in history, a master of arts degree in economics and a history of coin collecting stretching back to the 1960s. He began collecting world coins as a child by asking friends and relatives to bring coins back from overseas trips, visiting flea markets and having his mother watch for foreign coins in her register at the local grocery store. Today he works with a dedicated base of over 200 contributors to provide accurate market values for the five-volume Standard Catalog of World Coins series, as well as many specialty catalogs, including Coins & Currency of the Middle East and the fifth edition of Unusual World Coins.

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