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.
Tokens and Jettons
F.W. Wilkes, Great Colmore St., Birmingham – Gary Oddie
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.
Discovery of Nine Examples of UK Merchant Countermarked Dollars from an Old Collection Held in the National Archaeological Museum, Naples, Italy – Eric C. Hodge
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 of Taunton – Token Issuer and Collector – Gary Oddie
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.
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.
The Tokens of Brentford and Kew Markets – Bob† and Pam Williams and Gary Oddie
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.
Reuniting Sir George and Lady Chetwynd – A Tale of Two Catalogues – Gary Oddie
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.
Unrecorded White Metal 18th Century Tokens – Part 3 – The DNW Forgery Cabinet – Gary Oddie
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
Columbia Market and its Tokens – Bob Williams† and Gary Oddie
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 Checks of George Prier, Borough Market – Gary Oddie
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.