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The Haller Baking Company’s Sherlock Holmes Treasure Hunt Token

The Haller Baking Company’s Sherlock Holmes Treasure Hunt Token

“… when people bury treasure nowadays they do it in the Post Office bank.”

– The Adventure of the Three Gables (3GAB)

     

Just before the Memorial Day holiday weekend, I received a letter from Gary Patterson, author of United States Swastika 1907-1936: Tokens, Medals, Watch Fobs & Good Luck Charms, asking if I was familiar with the swastika token pictured above.

OBVERSE: SHERLOCK HOLMES / (triangle) / TREASURE / HUNT / PRESENTED BY / HALLER BAKING CO. / FOR CORRECT SOLUTION OF / TREASURE HUNT / SECRET CODE / HALLER BAKING / COMPANY

REVERSE: MEMBERSHIP EMBLEM OF THE DON’T WORRY CLUB / (Swastika emblem, with horseshoe, four leaf clover, wishbone and Egyptian hieroglyphics) / GOOD LUCK

Round, 32 mm, Bronze

For hundreds of years, the swastika symbol was considered as a symbol of good luck.  Many merchants issued good luck tokens featuring the swastika, generally dating from the late 1880’s through the mid 1930’s. There are numerous examples from the 1933-34 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago, for example. The rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany and his use of the swastika symbol was a contributing factor in the decline of swastika tokens in the United States.

Pittsburgh Press – October 11, 1919
Pittsburgh Press – April 4, 1932

From the above ads, we know that the Haller Baking Company was based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But what about the “treasure hunt?” Recalling the scene regarding Little Orphan Annie’s Secret Circle in the movie A Christmas Story, I’m hoping that perhaps Haller sponsored a contest during radio broadcasts of Sherlock Holmes over Pittsburgh’s WCAE.

There is a small sliver of hope to that last sentence. The Pittsburgh advertising agency of Ketchum, MacLeod & Grove (KM&G) offers the following nugget in an online history of their firm  – “In 1927 the agency began placing advertising on the fledgling medium of radio when it arranged for client Haller Baking Company to underwrite a continuing show.” While the Holmes radio broadcasts did not begin until 1930, it is possible that Haller moved its advertising dollars over when the shows started and could have continued on with the broadcasts of either Richard Gordon or Louis Hector through 1936. Hopefully, we can prove this one day.

 

Inspector Thorne: The Nickel and Dimes Murder Case (September 6, 1951)

Inspector Thorne: The Nickel and Dimes Murder Case (September 6, 1951)

“What is all this mystery?” – The Adventure of the Blanched Soldier (BLAN) From time to time, we will feature a post here regarding other fictional detectives, most recently Eugène Valmont. In the summer of 1951, the National Broadcasting Company broadcast 11 episodes of Inspector Thorne. The eighth episode, which aired September 6, was The Nickel and Dimes Murder… Continue Reading

CBS Radio Mystery Theater: The Absent-Minded League (1978)

CBS Radio Mystery Theater: The Absent-Minded League (1978)

“… the counterfeiter stands in a class by himself as a public danger.” – The Adventure of the Three Garridebs (3GAR) From time to time, we will feature a post here regarding other fictional detectives, such as Gregory Hood. On July 18, 1978, the CBS Radio Mystery Theater aired The Absent-Minded League. This dramatization was written by… Continue Reading

Cumberbatch Reads The Conundrum of Coach 13

Cumberbatch Reads The Conundrum of Coach 13

“Engage a special.” – The Adventure of the Final Problem (FINA) Benedict Cumberbatch, who stars as Sherlock Holmes in the BBC series Sherlock, has recorded many spoken voice readings of the sixty stories of the Canon and numerous other pastiches. John Taylor, author of The Unopened Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, has issued another set of… Continue Reading

The Casebook of Gregory Hood – The Three Silver Pesos

The Casebook of Gregory Hood – The Three Silver Pesos

“My dear Gregory….” – The Adventure of Silver Blaze (SILV) From time to time, we will feature a post here regarding other fictional detectives, such as Max Carrados. Today, we feature Gregory Hood, a San Francisco based antiquities importer and amateur detective. On June 3, 1946 the Mutual Broadcasting System premiered the series of The Casebook of… Continue Reading

Radio Broadcast of Murder By Proxy – January 18, 1933

Radio Broadcast of Murder By Proxy – January 18, 1933

“… the last words in which I shall ever record …” – The Adventure of The Final Problem (FINA) We are pleased to share this recording of the January 18, 1933 NBC radio broadcast of Murder by Proxy. Edith Meiser adapted the script from Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Final Problem. This is the earliest known surviving recording of any Sherlock Holmes… Continue Reading

Partial NBC Radio 12/25/1939 Broadcast of The Three Garridebs with Rathbone & Bruce

Partial NBC Radio 12/25/1939 Broadcast of The Three Garridebs with Rathbone & Bruce

“No doubt you see the significance of this discovery of mine?” – A Study In Scarlet (STUD) Radio versions of The Three Garridebs was one of the very first items we posted about back in September 2014. In that post, we referred that one of the first radio programs that Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce did as… Continue Reading