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.
The chance find and revisiting of the Lauderdale report of 1813 has revealed a previously unrecognised series of low denomination printed tickets that must have once been commonplace throughout mainland England at around the same time as the silver token issues of 1811-12. There are a few tantalising hints of other card and paper replacements for small silver, with proofs of a 1774 card issue by John Wilkinson and assignats from Gilbert Gilpin amongst others, but all circulated pieces appear to have been lost to history. Along with the illustrations from the Lauderdale report another piece of contemporary evidence of a now lost piece, helps date the series.
The 17th Century Cambridge token of Will Bassett (W/D 15) shares the same obverse die as a Cowbridge, Wales piece (W/D 30). This was first noticed in 1963 and subsequent research at both ends of the claim have led to the conclusion that the Cambridge piece was manufactured in error and that a subsequent issue was made for Cowbridge. The evidence is revisited and after some initial doubts, a newly discovered piece conclusively attributes Will Bassett to Cowbridge in Wales.
Recently two notes have appeared on the E-Sylum about coins that have been found in the stomachs of fish. This short note presents a shilling that has been engraved ‘Found in the belly of a cod fish by T. Hendry Lynn 17 March 1773’, along with a brief history of King’s Lynn and its trade.
This note begins with a brief history and description of industries that have taken place on the Turks and Caicos Islands and in particular sisal growing. This is followed by a description of the West Caicos Sisal Company and a group of tokens issued to pay the workforce and redeemable in the Company Store.The style of the dies is quite unusual, with just a simple incuse legend. Thus when two specimens appeared of British half-pennies overstruck with the reverse die of the shilling token and more recently a British penny overstruck with the reverse die of the two shilling token, they were really quite obvious.The three new pieces all appeared in the USA and were sold without any reference to the original use of the dies. This and other features of the pieces leads to the suggestion that they were struck using the original reverse dies, but many decades after the original token issues, possibly even as late as 2010.
This note presents the first new Bedfordshire token to be added to the county list since 2002. The find location, Milton Bryan, is just two and a half miles south east of Woburn. A likely candidate for William Hebbs has been found in genealogical records but no other details have been found. The piece will be catalogued as W/D 102A.
This note describes some of the more usual hairdressers’ and barbers’ tokens, often found in the UK and Australia and presents one new and several unusual types. Interestingly, close inspection of some of the pieces known to be from Australian establishments: L&S, RGT&S, Wigzell’s, Craig & Aitken and Sharp & Co are all linked to English issues either by dies or punches, suggesting manufacture in England followed by export to the user. The P&O, PS&Co, OG&Co, Ogee and RH & Sons tickets are generic issues, bought straight from the wholesalers’ catalogues whereas, others have had customised tokens manufactured for use in their own shop or chain of shops, possibly ordered via their wholesaler. A reverse type with a characteristically Australian font has yet to be identified and though generic in nature, might yet be attributed to a particular manufacturer or wholesaler.