As a boy scout leader and coin collector, I have done a great deal of research to share with the you the many "Shoe for Boys" tokens issued by the Excelsior shoe company.
Shoe for Boys
The Excelsior Shoe Company took advantage of the opportunity to associate their advertising with the new Boy Scout movement that began in 1910. They created a "Boy Scout" shoe and tokens issued between July 1910 and January 1914. The tokens were manufactured by Schwaab Stamp & Seal Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Whitehead & Hoag Company of Newark, New Jersey.
The wording on the tokens, "Boy Scouts" & "Medal" were brand names of shoes made by Excelsior. Tokens were usually bronze or brass and some were zinc. Sterling silver tokens were also made in some varieties for Scoutmasters that had his entire troop buy Excelsior shoes. From the research I have done, I believe the Belle Meade Shoe Co. reverse was made around 1916.
I've classified the rider on horseback tokens into 5 major Versions:
- Version 1 - The reverse shows the Excelsior company emblem. The obverse has a rider under the wording BOY SCOUT, BOY SCOUTS OR WORLD SCOUTS.
- Version 2 - The reverse has a good luck swastika with GOOD LUCK over the swastika. The obverse has a rider under the wording BOY SCOUT, or BOY SCOUTS showing the date JULY 1910 in all case except for the Army Shoe type which has "Munson Last" below the rider.
- Version 3 - The reverse has a good luck swastika with GOOD LUCK under the swastika. The obverse has a rider (either a cow boy or Indian) under the wording BOY SCOUTS (with letters adjusted for the hole at the top in some cases). There is no date on the obverse.
- Version 4 - The reverse is similar to Version 2 with GOOD LUCK over the swastika. The obverse has a rider under the wording MEDAL showing the date July 1910.
- Version 5 - The reverse is a horseshoe opening down with the wording BELLE MEADE SHOE CO. NASHVILLE, TENN. The obverse is similar to Version 4 but without a date under the horse.
Additional Excelsior tokens exist but do not have a rider on horseback or say SHOE FOR BOYS and are not included. Except for the silver tokens, the tokens measure 32.5 mm in diameter. The three silver tokens I have are oblong and appear to be cast instead of struck and are 1 mm to 1.5 mm smaller that their counterparts. The three silver versions I have are 2, 3 and 5. Most of the tokens have a small hole at the top to allow it to be tied to the shoe before they were sold.
I've identified many variations but I expect more will be found. As they are found, I will make adjustments. If you have a variation that will help me and others, please email me that information at TheHiker@SageVenture.com. I respond to all emails.
Not too long ago, David Caines contacted me about a type where Excelsior was spelt "Excelcior"; Version 3, Type 1. Thanks David
Each of the major versions has variations which I will call "Types" and variations within each type, I will call "Varieties." In some cases, I will have sub-Varieties because it is easy to see the difference. I have not followed the identification used by either reference because when I began collecting and with no pictures, I found much of the identification difficult to follow. The important aspect is not the numbers but understanding what you have.
Dioszegi, Rudy J. & Spacek, John. (2007). The Boy Scout Tokens of the Excelsior Shoe Company.
Hamel, Dick. (2005). Excelsior Shoe Company Tokens. Stanton, OR: Stayton Printing.