THOMAS PORTER SLAVE TRADE BUTTON

$295.00 ON HOLD

Quantity Available: 1

Item Code: M26500

Very good condition slave trade button, copper alloy with shank in place, bearing on the face the initials “TP” (with dot in center) of Thomas Porter II (1790-1857) with a partially obscured manufacturer’s “quality” mark on reverse. Thomas Porter’s father made a fortune in cotton planting in British Guyana, owning at least three plantations on his own (and at least one other in partnership,) which he passed to his sons Thomas II and Henry in 1800. After emancipation of slaves Guyana in 1834, they received compensation for more than 1,000 slaves between them. They seem to have engaged in slave trading as well and are said to have operated out of Barbados in the West Indies, sending slaves into the U.S. via Charleston. Several different patterns of Porter slave buttons are known and buttons with “HP” initials are thought to be those of his brother Henry. There is some debate whether the buttons were simply placed on the garments of a slave owned by Porter personally, but the number found and recovery sites in the U.S. would indicate they were used on stock clothing supplied to victims of Porter’s trade in preparation for their sale at auction.  [sr]

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