TagTown "Dating" Page

So, how old are they?

Dating Techniques
Makers hallmarks can be very useful when you "date" a specific check. For example the checks made by John Robbins that have the John Robbins Mfg Co. mark are all from roads that came into being in the late 1800s. The checks with the J. Robbins Boston mark can be from very early railroads.

For example the Reversible check below has the following road names and their corespnding dates of existence with those names:

Road Name Start date End date Comments
New York New Haven & Hartford 1872 1968 late start date is good
Boston & Albany 1869 n/a no use, too wide a range
Eastern 1843 1885 good end date, must be pre-1886
Maine Central 1853 n/a no use, too wide a range
Knox & Lincoln 1871 1891 good dates, must be post-1871

The conclusion can be drawn that this tag was used after 1871 and before 1886. Although this is not an exact science, it's a pretty good way to get a ball-park figure on dating. A true find is a check from a road that only operated for a short period of time.

Very old "arc" lettered examples

When the railroad name is in an arc, the check tends to be very early. The later "straight line" format is much easier to manufacture. The first check has ANRR on the other side. This Albany Northern example is from the 1850s. The Northern of New Hampshire designation is interesting. This name form is from the 1850s. The Atlanta & LaGrange is nickel plated and is also a pre-Civil War name form.

Two Very old lead examples

At least one maker, John Robbins made checks from lead. The material itself is so soft that this idea didn't take the world by storm. I will speculate that all lead examples are pre-1873. The first check was made for the Concord Manchester & Lawrence RR. Note that the initials are in an arc, making this check a great item. The second example was made for the Concord RR. The second example has an early "8" in a Robbins style.

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