Ok, let’s try again and maybe we can all solve a mystery.
I found this coin on eBay 15 or 20 years ago. I grew up in SW Denver and spent annual vacations in Estes Park. I also stayed at The Stanley in the late 80’s. I vividly remember seeing it as we came into Estes.
This is not a trinket. It isn’t a throwaway piece. It’s a little bigger than a quarter, heavy, intricate, and they wanted it back – hence the “postage guaranteed” notation. My brother and I have researched pretty extensively. No one in Estes Park, I’m talking antique stores, nursing homes, etc., has any idea about either it’s origin or purpose. I reached as far as Maine, and the Stanley Museum. I spoke to a gentleman who said both F.O. and his brother F.E. Stanley were accomplished inventors with numerous patents. He said he wouldn’t be surprised if they struck these themselves. He also told me his connection to the hotel – that when he was a child, they lived in the gatehouse and his father helped build the road from the highway to the hotel. He said there used to be a gate at the head of the road to keep the riff-raff out, but that the rich steam car owners would like to go tooling around in their cars, so this was possibly a pass-thru “key” to activate the latch on the gate and give them in and out privileges.
Another theory is that it was used to get into the bar that wasn’t a bar in prohibition times.
Bottom line, there has been no definitive answer and I have only seen one picture other than mine, with no history on it’s origin.
The hotel doesn’t know either.
I found a coin that was a key,
Not for a lock, for a V.I.P.
From the mansion on the hill,
I wonder about it’s purpose still…
By: Dan Orr