Revisiting Some Lead Tokens from Huntingdon – Gary Oddie

In 1823 a small hoard of early 16th-century lead tokens was “found behind the Parlour Chimney piece in Mr. Godbys Old House” in Huntingdon. They were examined by the British Museum in 1963 and a note published in Spinks Numismatic Circular in the same year. A metallurgical analysis of two further pieces was published in 1984. A more detailed analysis of six pieces from the same issue is presented here and confirms that they were all produced from a single mould and that there were two batches produced with different alloys: roughly 97% lead and 3% tin and 90% lead and 10% tin.

One thought on “Revisiting Some Lead Tokens from Huntingdon – Gary Oddie

  1. For what it is worth, a further specimen of this token issue was present in the coin collection formed by the Bath-based bookseller Joseph Barratt (c.1752-1833), which is known to posterity primarily from drawings in Barratt’s interleaved and annotated copy of Ruding. Barratt’s collection comprised Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and early medieval European coins, and I have recently completed, with the kind assistance of Dr Philip de Jersey, an intended article on the collection by the late Dr Stewart Lyon and myself, left unfinished at Stewart Lyon’s death. The lead token concerned, of which there is a very accurate drawing in Barratt’s copy of Ruding, is an outsider, probably included in the collection because Barratt thought it to be of earlier date than it actually was, but it is apparent that it reached Barratt via his son Henry Thomas Barratt (c.1798-1841), who practised as an attorney in Huntingdon.
    As regards its provenance, Barratt notes “about 30 found in an old foundation at Huntingdon in 1824”. Neither the statement about the hoard’s size nor the statement about the hoard’s year of finding accords with the evidence put together by Dolley and Hocking, but it is reasonable to conclude that only one hoard was involved, and the preciser statement about the hoard’s find spot reported by Dolley and Hocking suggests that the 1823 date of discovery for the hoard is more likely to be correct. As Gary Oddie rightly suggests, “Mr Godby”, in whose house the hoard was found, is likely to have been Henry Godby (c.1785-1844), another Huntingdon attorney.

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