National Cat Show Collar and Medal (1895)

CategoryCollar and Medal
ArtifactNational Cat Show Collar and Medal
DateMay, 1895
ConnectionNational Cat Show
Mrs. Fred Brown
Maine Coon
CollectionThe CFA Foundation's Feline Historical Museum
DescriptionA silver collar, in original box, engraved "National Cat Show, 1895, Won By Cosey"
Brief HistoryThe collar and medal were awarded to 'Cosey', a brown tabby Maine Cat, owned by Mrs. Fred Brown of Long Island, NY
AcquisitionDiscovered in an antique store by Bobara Pendergrast. Purchased by The CFA Foundation with funds donated by the National Capital Show, 1992.

National Cat Show Collar and Medal, 1895
Photos: Tetsu Yamazaki, courtesy of The CFA Foundation, Inc.

Photo of 'Cosey'
Image courtesy of The CFA Foundation

In 1990, Bobara Pendergrast, a Persian breeder and antique dealer, got a tip from a friend about several unique pieces at an antique shop in Central New Jersey. When she got there she found three stunning items: a silver medal marked "National Cat Show, 1895," with a cat face in the middle, a silver cat collar with "National Cat Show, 1895, Won By Cosey," and a picture of a cat wearing a collar ribbon marked "National Cat Show." Unbelievably, all of them were in perfect, mint condition. The antique dealer said that they had been found packed safely away in the attic of a house near Lambertville, New Jersey where they were discovered during an estate sale.

Ms. Pendergrast began displaying the items in her jewelry booth at cat shows and everyone who saw them had theories about their significance. A friend, Donna Wiley, found a reference to a 'Cosie' in a book titled That Yankee Cat.

"In May of 1895, when the most famous and largest of the early shows was held at Madison Square Garden in New York. The show was won hands down, first place and best of show by a brown tabby female Maine Cat named Cosie. It must have been a spectacular show, numbering 176 animals in all and including two ocelots, two wildcats, and three civet cats.1"

A visit to the New York Public Library resulted in the finding of a New York Times article that confirmed Mrs. Fred Brown's 'Cosey' had been named Best in Show.

Mrs. Brown must have been very proud of Cosey's victory as shown in the care she obviously took to preserve the awards and photograph. We owe her a debt of gratitude for that!

In 1990, The CFA Foundation became the proud owner of this wonderful set of historical artifacts. These important pieces of cat fancy history were purchased by the Foundation thanks to a generous specified donation from the National Capital Cat Show.


  1. That Yankee Cat, by Marilis Hornidge. Durrell Publications, Incorporated, 1981

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