GREAT BRITAIN coin weight 1747


GREAT BRITAIN, coin weight, no date (1747), Obverse: THREE POUND TWELVE in crowned cartouche, Reverse: same, brass, 28mm diameter, 5mm thick, 28.74g, for Portuguese 8 escudos, S&M-257, AU-Unc

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In the 17th and 18th century the English counting houses were dealing with a lot of foreign gold. They needed weights to help verify authenticity.

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.

We’re specifically referring to coin weights here. They were made and used from Greek times until the early 20th century. The purpose was to check the weight of gold and silver coins.

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.