BrianRxm Tokens and Medals (Exonumia) 60/91
Mengin (Mangin) of Paris
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Mengin (or Mangin) lived in Paris France where he was a street entertainer in the mid 1800's.
He dressed as a Roman soldier and sold special pencils while performing magic tricks.
He is mentioned in several books of the period.
Mengin of Paris France
1. Mengin of Paris France Crayon Mengin 1860's Token
 
Brass, 24mm, 3.43gm
 
Obverse:
Profile of Mengin in Roman helmet
HOMAGE A L'INVENTEUR / PARIS
 
Reverse:
CRAYON MENGIN / 20 Cs LE CRAYON
Fg St MARTIN 25 (Street name Rue de Faubourg St. Martin)
Mentions of Mangin, the Pencil-Seller:
 
Joe Vitale, There's a Customer Born Every Minute: P.T. Barnum's Amazing 10 Rings of Power for
Creating Fame, Fortune, and a Business Empire Today
2006
 
Mangin's Great Secret of Success
 
P. T. Barnum somehow intuitively knew the first law of advertising, and he knew it before it was ever
expressed as a law: Get attention.
 
One of the people who reminded Barnum of this secret was Monsieur Mangin, a famous French
businessman who sold the best pencils in all of Europe. Mangin would appear on a street corner
dressed in unusual royal garb, riding a team of large horses. He would park, open his wagon
with a great deal of pomp and circumstance, and slowly begin to put on a theatrical performance.
 
A crowd would always form, wondering what was happening. The French entrepreneur would then
demonstrate his pencils, involve members of his audience, entertain them, and end by selling
his product to nearly everyone present.
 
Years later Barnum met Mangin and complemented him on "... your manner of attracting the public.
Your costume is elegant, your chariot is superb, and your valet and music are sure to draw".
 
Mangin ended their meeting by saying he was planning "a grand humbug", which "shall double
the sale of my pencils".
 
John C. Francis, Notes and Queries, a Medium of Intercommunication for Literary Men,
General Readers, Etc.
 Eighth Series - Volume Twelfth, July-December London, 1897
 
Mangin the Pencil-Seller
from M. Charles Yriarte, Celebrites de la Rue, 1864
Mangin sold his pencils for 20 centimes a single pencil or half a dozen with a medal and a
portrait of himself for a franc.
Mengin died sometime between 1864 and 1868.
 
Henry Charles Shelley, Old Paris; its Social, Historical, and Literary Associations
London, L. C. Page & Company, 1912
 
This practical type of street character in Paris was exemplified by "l'illustre Mangin",
the pencil-seller, who as an orator, adequately sustained the traditions of Tabarin
[a 17th century Paris street charlatan].
 
He is said to have taken a university degree, a belief which may have had no surer foundation
than his fondness for classical illusions, but whatever the extent of his learning there was no
denying his fluency of speech.
 
"Ladies, gentlemen, children, enemies and friends! Buy my pencils. There are no other pencils
like them on the earth or in the spheres. Listen! They are black! You imagine, of course, in the
immensity of your ignorance - it is wonderful how ignorant people are capable of being, especially
about pencils - that all pencils are black. Error! Criminal error! Error as immense and fatal as
that of Mark Antony when he fell in love with Cleopatra. All other pencils are grey!".
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