Unlike many tokens that are the shape and size of a silver dollar, the Hotel de Paris token was executed in the form of a key fob. It is cast or struck metal, weighty, oblong, squared off at one end, and rounded at the other. Ornamental motifs include banners, ribbons, four-petal flowers, and what may be a compass. All lettering is capitalized.
Hotel de Paris fantasy tokens (front and back)
The fobs are high-quality, which adds to the perception they are authentic and original to the hotel. In addition, there is a wide range of variation in the color (from bright brass to black) and clarity of script (well-defined to indistinct). The front of the fob reads “FROM HOTEL DE PARIS,” “LOUIS DUPUY,” “GOOD FOR 24 HOURS,” and “GEORGETOWN, COLO.” The back of the fob reads “WINE, WOMEN AND SONG,” “FIRST CLASS,” “ONE HIGH CLASS LAY,” and “MADAME SOPHIE’S MOTTO SATISFACTION GUARANTEED.”
Also on the front, barely decipherable are the words “COLO. MINTING CO. 1894” (this may or may not be the manufacturer). The date would have been during Louis’ lifetime, further ruling out the likelihood that the claims were true. Like the use of real names, the phrase “first class” (most likely lifted directly from a familiar advertisement placed by Louis Dupuy) adds to the perception the token is real.
Print advertisement placed by Louis Dupuy
In contrast, authentic Hotel de Paris key fobs were not promotional in nature, but plain and practical. Fobs original to the site read simply “HOTEL DE PARIS,” followed by a room number (1-14), “IF CARRIED AWAY RETURN UNSEALED BY MAIL POSTAGE 3 CENTS,” and “GEORGETOWN, COLO.” They had plain backs and were stamped from sheet metal.
Sophie Gally, Room 3
Louis Dupuy, Room 14
Sophie Gally’s and Louis Dupuy’s fobs have survived and are part of the museum’s collection of over 5,000 authentic artifacts original to the site. For a time, brass reproductions of Louis’ fob were produced by The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the State of Colorado and sold at This Little Souvenir Museum Shop, located in Hotel de Paris Museum™.
We have yet to be contacted by anyone who has found or acquired one of Louis’ original key fobs. However, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that if a key was “carried away” it will find its way back to Georgetown.