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Has there ever been a circus or carnival with the name of or similar to Christy & Lapham? I find no mention in Parkinson’s excellent work, Directory of American Circuses. Many thanks.

Best Regards, Chris

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If you are asking about the Christy & Lapham tokens that recently were in an on line auction, you should ask the person who has this website, http://freakmuseum.blogspot.com/p/blog-page_13.html
He has an extensive collection of carnival and circus store cards, tokens, and medals, both 19 and 20th century. He has helped me many times identifying examples in my collection. Hope this helps,

William

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What is the context and presentation of the Christy & Lapham title? Is it in a photograph from history, a piece of ephemera, upon an artifact or something else? The answer is sometimes provoked by the nature of the item. The name came up in a single, basic, confined Google search, ‘Christy & Lapham’, upon a 5-cent token, which appears to be of the type utilized in many trades. This one is labeled ‘concession’, which could mean an arcade piece. Concession per se isn’t confined to traveling shows; it’s a more generic term with at least two interpretations.
There are any number of circus tokens, mostly shell cards, and this token is not one I’ve seen associated with traveling shows. You’ll have seen entries for George W. Christy in the Parkinson reference, but Lapham bears no significance in his story. The carnival list in McKennon also has no relevant title entry. Some carnivals had arcade operations that possibly used such tokens. C. W. Parker mounted token-operated machines upon flat bed wagons and placed them in arcade tents. Various concessionaires would have operated these devices, perhaps under contract with Parker. There may have been others; check Al Stencell’s books on carnival operations.
You can search further for the title names in weekly issues of New York Clipper [at Illinois Digital Newspaper Archives] and Billboard [Google Books, Fulton History, Proquest], but there’s an equally good chance it’s from a landed enterprise; on a city street; in an amusement park; and elsewhere. There may also be trade magazines that catered to the coin-op industry. There’s also guides to tokens, etc. There were thousands of such storefront enterprises from the 1890s well into the 20th century. An authority on such pieces might be able to refine the period when such items were used and thereby limit the search period.

Fred Dahlinger Jr., Curator of Circus History, John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota, FL

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