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North Carolina Expo 1884

The North Carolina Exposition was held in Raleigh NC in October 1884 as part of the annual NC state fair, about 300 years after the first Roanoke voyages.  Southern Expositions were being held across the South during this era to increase economic activity in Southern states and to provide a venue to showcase agricultural and mechanical advances.   Oct 1-15 was the exposition, Oct 16-18 was a colored fair, and the state fair portion was Oct 20-24 of 1884.  The colored fair was led by the NC Industrial Association (the name of the Colored Industrial Association of North Carolina).

The opening Keynote address for the exposition was by US Senator Joseph R. Hawley (born Stewartsville NC in 1826, but spent most of his life in CT.  He was a Maj Gen in Union Army and later the Republican Governor of CT).   Hawley was the president of the US Centennial Commission in 1876 and was reconciliation-minded.  After the keynote speech, Mr. William Primrose declared Exposition open.  Primrose was later one of the founding members of NC State University in 1887.

The exposition showcased mineral and wood specimens from across the state, tobacco, a massive fish exhibit, machines, and electric lighting.  The Washington Light Infantry and the Knights Templar organizations were featured at the exposition.  While the exposition was planned and designed to sell the state’s resources, the exposition instead sold the benefits of industrialization and modernization to the citizens of North Carolina and played an important role in the industrial development of North Carolina.  The expositions greatest benefit lay in increasing the knowledge of the NC about its own state.

Collectable items from the 1884 exposition include stock certificates, 33mm medals, badges, and exposition photos.  William Warner & Brother (or another Philadelphia die sinker) likely made the medals.


This piece is about 33mm.   Given its topic and appearance I purchased it some time ago. I think it fits nicely with my HK collection and Southern medal collection.  Both the bronze and white metal pieces seem pretty rare.

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  • HK-unlst-1884-NC-Expo-1.jpg
  • HK-unlst-1884-NC-Expo-2.jpg

I was able to purchase an unholed white metal version ( Rulau NC-Ra-4 ) of the 1884 North Carolina Exposition in Raleigh. It's really nice in hand with mirrored surfaces. Rulau lists these pieces at 33mm.... so since it's pretty close to the diameter cutoff for a so-called dollar, and considering the subject, these pieces are part of my so-called dollar collection.

Uploaded files:
  • HK-unlst-1884-NC-Expo-White-Metal-R-NC-RA-4x.jpg

Found this recently... celebrating the 50th anniversary of Winston, NC.... before it became Winston-Salem, NC. It seems like this 33mm piece might have been made by the same firm that made the 33mm NC Expo piece. Can anyone give me a reference to this piece from 1900? I couldn't find it in the Rulau 1700-1900 book, but since it's from 1900, I might need a different reference.

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  • HK-Unlst-1900-Winston-Salem-NC-SemiCent.jpg

1884 stock certificate courtesy of Fred Holabird Auctions (sold in Oct 2018)...

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  • NC-Stock-Cert-1884-Expo.jpeg

Through some research I was doing on the Middletown CT historical society, I am of the opinion that the Winston NC piece was made by William Warner & Brother Co.   The scroll work and lettering on the reverse of the Winston Centennial piece matches a number of other pieces from the 1899-1900 era, including the Sesquicentennial of Alexandria VA, the Semicentennial of Media PA, the Centennial of Centre County PA, and the 250th Anniversary of Middletown CT.  This lettering and scroll work on the Middletown CT piece matches the reverse of Baker 1832-B, which is a piece that stylistically matches HK-125b, made by William Warner & Brother Co.

While the scroll work might seem like the work of a company like Schwabb Milwaukee (like HK-254-57and HK-397), I think the overall quality of the work and the "Philadelphia style" feel of the pieces (simple central motifs with clean edge lettering)  links them all to William Warner & Brother Co.

I've attached some photos showing the links.

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  • Winston-Warner-Link-1.jpg
  • Winston-Warner-Link-2.jpg