Saucy Fobs Are Not Tokens of a Spicey Past

Without taking a formal poll of our visitors, most of us at Hotel de Paris Museum would agree the public's favorite object on exhibit would be the salesman’s bed (a folding bed that when stowed looks like a desk).  However, there is another object that also receives regular inquiries from around the United States and even Europe.  The surprising thing is that the other object is not on display and has no direct association with Hotel de Paris.

Then why are people calling and writing us about it, you wonder?

They are contacting us because they have found a Hotel de Paris bawdy house or brothel token. However, Hotel de Paris was neither a bawdy house nor a brothel, but, in fact, the finest hotel in town.  Brothels existed in Georgetown, but they were on the far side of Clear Creek Valley from the hotel (about four blocks distant). There, a person would have been able to find the pistol-toting madame Martha “Mattie” Silks running a fancy parlor house on Brownell Street.

The Hotel de Paris tokens are popular, and examples have spread across the country and around the world.  According to people who have contacted us, many fobs have been found in trash dumps, recycling centers, dresser drawers, or jewelry boxes. 

The Hotel de Paris version is known as a “fantasy token” and seems to have been offered as a keepsake souvenir or for collectors of bawdy house and brothel tokens.  Presently, the value of one of these tokens is less than $20.

 

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