GREAT BRITAIN, Bilston, penny token, 1811

$15.00

GREAT BRITAIN, STAFFORDSHIRE, Bilston, token, 1811, Obverse: bust George III R, ONE PENNY TOKEN 1811, Reverse: building, PAYABLE AT BILSTON ROYAL EXCHANGE, Edge: plain, copper, 34mm, 16.81g, D60, couple of marks, F

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Description

The first of the so-called Conder tokens were issued to relieve the national coin shortage. They became collectors’ items immediately, then they started to be issued for sale directly to collectors.

The tokens of the end of the 18th century are collectively referred to as “Conder” tokens, after James Conder, who wrote the first catalog in 1798. The current standard catalog is Provincial Token Coinage of the 18th Century by Dalton & Hamer.

In England tokens started coming into use in the 16th century. Scotland and Ireland followed suit. Since the coinage was unified throughout the country there was not as much need for jetons in the counting houses to keep track of various currencies. But the neglect of the copper level of the market made for blooms of tokens in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. Each bloom was suppressed by the government, which promised to do better, and, by the mid-19th century, finally succeeded. Token use, having become normalized, continued here and there into the 1980s.

A token is used like a coin but is not a coin. Rather, it stands for a coin without the value of the coin. Maybe its copper, but says its value is the same as a silver coin. Usually tokens were made privately, but sometimes governments got involved.

The word “exonumia” is used to describe all kinds of things that are “like” coins but are not coins. I wrote a blog post on that subject. Basic categories: 1. used like a coin but not issued by a national government, 2. looks like a coin but not made for spending, 3. other things that we are interested in.