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.
A previous note presented a history and catalogue of the tokens issued at Columbia Market, based on the collection of the late Bob Williams (Link). This note follows this up with a history and catalogues of the tokens issued at Brentford and Kew Markets. Again the main catalogue is based on Bob Williams’ collection, but augmented by pieces from several other collections. The history of the markets also includes interviews with several market traders from the last 50 years. Details of any pieces not listed will be gratefully received via the BNS blog.
This note is the result of a recent chance find of a scarce early catalogue of the Chetwynd collection of tokens. The book contained several bookplates and an image of Lady Chetwynd and the catalogue compiler, Thomas Sharp, along with several hundred additional illustrations of tokens. The locations of several other copies and appearances at auction are noted.
The previous two notes described several groups of white metal 18th Century Tokens that have all proved to be of later manufacture. Following their publication, thanks to Peter Preston-Morley, similar pieces from the DNW forgery cabinet were made available for study. Once again, close inspection of the surfaces and edges gives away the deception and the metallurgy allows the copies to be grouped as before: similar to the Baldwin’s basement group, almost pure tin, high tin (80-90%), tin (40-60%) to which is added a new group of four pieces with faint oblique edge milling and a high lead content group. All of the original envelopes and tickets are included to identify past ownership (both dealers and collectors) so that they are not used to create new additions to listings of the series. Links for previous articles: Unrecorded White Metal 18th Century Tokens? Unrecorded White Metal 18th Century Tokens – Part 2
This note provides an update to the 1993 booklet ‘Columbia Market’ published by the late Bob Williams. The original introductory text is repeated, followed by a group of new illustrations relating to the market. The new catalogue expands the number of known types from 13 to 27, with most fully illustrated. Brief notes from trade directories, newspapers and genealogical searches are added to the catalogue entries. An early advertisement for the market is presented along with transcripts of relevant directories, confirming the presence of many of the names and will allow newly discovered tokens to be quickly identified and dated.
The recent find of a small wooden box containing 332 checks issued by G. Prier at Borough Market, London is presented. Background research on the issuer suggests that George Prier (1835-1902) started trading at Boro in a partnership (dissolved 1867) and then as a sole trader 1869-94. For a late nineteenth century token box to survive, complete with contents, is extremely unusual.
This note will present a brief history of the de Beers diamond fields in South Africa, beginning with the discovery of the first diamonds in the mid-1860s through to the consolidation of the various companies. The various mining compounds issued metal, paper and later plastic tokens, initially as part of a truck system. A fully illustrated catalogue of items known from the company is included. This provides colour illustrations to the catalogue published by Brian Hern and Allyn Jacobs in 2009, along with six previously unrecorded pieces.
Since the first note on this topic was published on the BNS blog (19 October 2021), other specimens of false 18thC tokens have been made available for study from two different sources and are clearly from different manufacturers and materials than presented previously. This note will look at the two new groups and then compare all three together. Rather than clarifying the situation, we now have three (possibly more) different series of white metal copies of 18thC tokens. …. or click here to read the earlier article
As a series the British (mainly Scottish) Tradesman Countermarked Dollars are considered very rare to scarce with only a few types generally readily available for collectors. The recall of these countermarked dollars by their issuers seems to have been generally very effective and relatively few pieces of most types have survived. I have often wondered how many issues have no surviving examples recorded. There may be a clue as to enterprises that could well have issued countermarked dollars and examination of some of the countermarked halfpenny coins is a good starting point.
This note presents a small group of previously unrecorded 18th century tokens struck in white metal. At first the dies appear to be original, however close inspection reveals that the dies have been created from a genuine token, displaying several characteristic flaws on all tokens from the same die. A metallurgical analysis of the new pieces along with some genuine white metal strikings listed in Dalton & Hamer suggests that the presence of bismuth in the genuine pieces and absence in the new pieces might be another differentiating characteristic. The five pieces presented here would seem to be part of a very large group which requires further investigation as to when and where they were made.