Egyptian Magic Coin Token

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by willieboyd2, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    I have seen versions of this item for years on Internet coin and metal detecting boards, on Ebay, at coin shows, and even in the movies.

    The coin or token shows Egyptian symbols on both sides, one side has the sphinx and pyramids, the other side has a pharoah and various hieroglyphic symbols.

    Some are plain round tokens, others have loops for wearing them.

    They would probably fall into the category of "magic coins" or "good luck coins".

    They have been around since at least 1905, when a listing for one appeared in the 1905 Sears & Roebuck mail-order catalog.

    One looks like this:

    Egypt Magic Coin

    Sphinx, Four Pyramids, and Sunburst
    Egyptian Pharoah seated on throne, throne has cat supports, surrounded by Hieroglyphic symbols
    Size: 32mm
    Weight: 10gm

    Movie Star
    One even made it into the movies, appearing in the 1946 David Selznick film "Duel in the Sun", a "Western" set in the 1880's at a large southwestern cattle ranch.

    "Duel in the Sun"

    Jennifer Jones played Pearl, a half-breed "bad girl" who wants to be "good".
    Preacher Walter Huston gives a medal to Jennifer with the idea that it will keep her "pure".

    Doesn't work.

    The coin in the film appears to be the size of a US silver dollar and made of silver or white metal.
    The relief on this coin is very flat and the coin appears to be worn.

    Sears Roebuck 1905 Catalog listing for almost identical coin:

    Sears Roebuck 1905 Catalog listing

    The 1905 Sears & Roebuck mail-order catalog item is
    "The latest craze. Gentlemen's fob", silver plated German silver.
    The listing does not show the Sears' coin other side.
    The fob length of 5½" would make the coin size around 32mm, like the one above.

    Johnson Smith 1948 Catalog listing for similar coin:

    Johnson Smith 1948 Catalog listing

    A similar item can be found in the 1948 Johnson Smith catalog of novelties.
    The Johnson Smith item has a different design.

    Tarot Cards

    Tarot Cards

    The coin design may come from the same source as the Rider-Waite Tarot Cards, published in 1909 by William Rider, Dr Arthur Edward Waite, and artist Pamela Colman Smith.

    Nightmare Alley

    Good Luck coins show up in literature, for example, in William Lindsay Gresham's 1946 novel Nightmare Alley.
    The coin in this novel is not the Egypt magic coin but something similar.

    Stanton Carlisle is a carnival broker who is learning how to be a fortune-teller.

    Stan ordered a gross of paper-backed books, "One Thousand and One Dreams Interpreted".
    He threw in as a free gift a brass lucky coin stamped with the Seal of Love from the Seventh Book of Moses,
    said to attract the love of others and to lead to the confusion of enemies.
    His pitch picked up in fine style.
    He learned to roll three of the lucky coins over his fingers at once.
    The tumblin, glittering cascade of metal seem to fascinate the marks, and the dream books went fast.

    As an aside, Gresham invented the "Geek", an alcoholic who would perform for a carnival as a "wild man",
    biting heads off of chickens and snakes; he would be paid in liquor.

    Good Luck Coins

    Although one was sold by Sears in 1905, they were probably mass-produced in the 1920's when
    the "Egyptian Fad" started with the 1922 discovery of the tomb of the Pharoah Tutankhamun or "King Tut".

    Supposedly these are sold to tourists in Egypt, but I visited Egypt in 1987 but never saw one for sale there.

    The ones I have seen are usually brass and 32mm in size, I have not seen the larger silver-plated ones.
    Some of these coins have a flat relief.
    The creator and designer of these items is unknown, but the design was probably trademarked at some time.
    The trademark may still be active.

    They aren't worth very much, I have seen them sell on Ebay for 99 cents to $10.00.

    This one has a loop for wearing:

    Egypt Magic Coin with loop

    Sphinx, Four Pyramids, and Sunburst
    Egyptian Pharoah seated on throne, throne has cat supports, surrounded by Hieroglyphic symbols
    Coin has loop for wearing
    Size: 33mm diameter, 38mm vertical
    Weight: 8.17gm

    I am continuing to look for information on these items, if anyone has something to share, please contact me.

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  3. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster


    Jennifer Jones says:
    I'm wearing my Egyptian Magic Coin and I feel BAD today.

    From "Duel in the Sun" (1946)

  4. stainless

    stainless ANTONINIVS

    Very cool token! Is there any way to tell the actualy date (or were they all 1907?)

  5. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    No dates.

    They might still being made somewhere.

  6. edmontonlowell2017

    edmontonlowell2017 New Member

    so how do you value them?
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