GREAT BRITAIN, Victoria and family medallet lot 1840s-60s


GREAT BRITAIN, medallet lot, 1840s-60s, Obverse: Victoria and family, Reverse: BORN MAY 24 1819. CROWNED JUNE 28 1838, Edge: plain, brass, bronze, etc., 8-12mm, 4 pcs, all different, VF-AU

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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.

There are two kinds of things that are called “medals.” One is things that look like coins but don’t express a value. Sometimes those medals are considerably larger than most coins. The other kind of medal is a metal thing designed to be displayed on one’s chest, often a reward for something, often in a military context. If the medal is small enough it is sometimes called a “medallet.”