This article presents the life and business of Francis Riddell Reynolds (1772-1846). He was a prosperous businessman, solicitor and brewer in Great Yarmouth, being elected Mayor twice. He was the issuer of two well-known varieties of silver shilling token in 1811, one batch of which was intercepted, and some pieces stolen whilst being delivered from London. Two further shilling token varieties, unrecorded by Dalton, are presented along with a five shillings promissory note, also dated 1811, missing from Outing’s catalogue, is illustrated for the first time thanks to the British Museum.
UK merchant countermarked dollars are generally quite rare.When a new issuer is discovered this is an event for celebration.However in this case there is an amazing twist at the end of this tale, or is it tail?
At some point in the past, a hoard of Joseph Heath’s Cambridge tokens from 1667 must have been discovered and dispersed. This note presents an accumulation of 43 specimens and identifies three different die states. It is suggested that a typical batch of tokens supplied to a seventeenth century tradesman would consist of about 3,000 tokens, which could have been manufactured by a small team of moneyers using a single screw press in half a day.
When originally conceived, this note had a very different title and form, but as the story of Joseph Hunton was uncovered in contemporary newspapers, it took a more serious turn and so is being given a separate article. This note presents the life, career and ultimate downfall of Joseph Hunton, a Quaker and very successful businessman. The original act of forgery of a bill of exchange, his attempt to escape, foiled by the weather and the police chase, his capture and high-profile trial and execution were all laid bare in the newspapers of the time. Though he had started with significant wealth, all of his properties and possessions were taken to pay his debts. Just over three years later an Act of Parliament would repeal the death penalty for such counterfeiting.
Many modern trade tokens are purely functional in nature and give insufficient details to allow conclusive attribution. Those with just names or initials can be challenging to research and require other corroborating information such as personal knowledge, a documented find or links with other tokens that include more details of the issuer, the use or the series. However, some tokens include more information that allows the issuer and his business to be traced more easily. This note presents one example of such a token.
In most series in numismatics, provenance is of vital importance. The series of UK merchant countermarked dollars is no different. So when early records, and photographs to support them, are found, then these can prove to be an invaluable resource for future research. This note is a record of such a find.
John Bluett was a grocer in Taunton and the issuer of a shilling token in 1811. As a recipient of a copy of Sharp’s catalogue of the Chetwynd collection (Link) it was suspected that he was more than just a token issuer. This note traces his family, business and personal connections and presents details of the five-day sale of his collections and properties in 1852. He had a good collection of coins: Roman, Anglo-Saxon, English hammered and milled, Scottish, medals, tokens, but what must have been an outstanding collection of provincial tokens, including many proofs and off-metal strikes were poorly catalogued and sold in large lots for about twice face value! A near-contemporary reference to his own silver token (1822) which had input from Bluett himself confirms that the tokens were not issued. Thus far, just two specimens have been traced with certainty.
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.