The Token Corresponding Society
and Token Congress

The Token Corresponding Society

This website presents the interests of The Token Corresponding Society and Token Congress with both groups sharing a common interest.

The word 'token' in this context means a coin or similar object which is issued for use in place of regular or official coinage. Members' interests include both the classical series of 17th, 18th and 19th century tokens along with a whole range of coin-like objects which are collectively known as 'Paranumismatica'. I.e. outside the scope of formal Numismatics consisting of Tokens, Tickets, Passes, Jetons, Historical Medals and Medallions.

Up to a few decades ago tokens were mostly treated as curiosities and often relegated to the dealer's 'junk box' but today there are avid collectors and researchers of almost every conceivable series. An introduction to some of these can be found in the links to sections below.

The Token Corresponding Society Bulletin

The Token Corresponding Society was founded in July 1971, by means of a circular from the late Christopher Brunel and Jean M. White to a group of enthusiasts who collected tokens and agreed to publish a bulletin for circulation between themselves. The TCS Bulletin is now a quarterly publication with an index being published at the end of each volume of twelve issues. Each issue contains articles, short notes, correspondence and notes & queries. A cumulative index to the first 10 volumes was published in 2015.

There is no formal committee to run the Society, but policy decisions, as the need arises, can be made at Token Congress each year where many of the subscribers meet.

The Token Congress

Token Congress was initiated in 1982 by the late Brian Edge, to cater specifically for token collectors and organised along the lines of the well established BANS Congress, (British Association of Numismatic Societies). This initial Token Congress at Crewe was the start of an annual event and membership has grown ever since. Typically there are around 100 delegates from the UK, but also several from the USA, Europe and Australia who combine the event with the London auctions and Coinex.

A few pictures and a short review of the 2016 event can be found on the Baldwin's website.

The 2022 Token Congress will take place at The Hilton Hotel Northampton 30th September - 2nd October. If you have any questions, please get in touch.

The Bulletin Editor acts as a contact point during the year, dealing with subscriptions as members join or renew.
Email for more details:

TESSERAE (ancient lead tokens)

This example IS tile shaped

Elsewhere on this site I have written about the lead tokens issued by local communities between the 13th and 19th centuries. They are not, however, exclusive either to that period or to this country. They existed in large numbers in ancient times, in various parts of the Mediterranean, but particularly in and around Rome. Such pieces are generically known as tesserae, meaning "tile"; from which some confusion can result, in that the small rectangular components of mosaics, found on the floors of Roman villas, are similarly designated.

Fish or animals are common Fish or animals are common

The same classification system which I have proposed for modern crude leads will suffice for Roman, notwithstanding that the older series has a significantly different distribution of subject matter. A very large number of Roman leads are coin-like in design, with heads, busts or full figures in conjunction with abbreviations or initials; i.e. their quality of design is far greater, indicating that they almost certainly had some semi-official status not enjoyed by their later English counterparts. There is also a much greater profusion of birds, animals and plants in the subject matter, plus more frequent use of personal names as opposed to mere initials; balanced against which it is almost unheard of to find a miscellaneous doodle intended to serve as a personal mark. Finally, one of the most noticeable observations is that only some 15% of pieces are uniface, compared with an estimated 57% for their English 18th century counterparts.

"De Plumbeis Antiquorum Numismatibus"

The traditional classicist will feel very much at home with the subject matter on these pieces, and it is therefore a great surprise that more interest has not been shown in them; one of the results of which is that very little has been written about the series, and such as has has not often been in English. One early work, Ficorini's "De Plumbeis Antiquorum Numismatibus", illustrates profusely {see inset}, but there must be some doubt as to whether in 1750 his emphasis was on faithfully recording history or on elaborating to fascinate his patrons; suffice it to say, that some of his material is quite amusing!

It would appear that where such pieces are referred to in ancient Roman texts, albeit rarely, the word "quadrans" almost invariably appears; like the farthing, the lowest of the low in conventional currency. There were four quadrans to the as, just as we until recently had four farthings to the penny; therefore, where they are used as money, they may be thought of similarly. Not surprisingly, one of the commonest sizes of tesserae corresponds almost exactly with the 13-14mm diameter of the official quadrans. {Note: The illustrations in this article have been deliberately magnified for greater emphasis, but are mostly 13-14mm}.

M. Rostovtsev, writing in his "Tesserarum Urbis Romae et Surburbi" {St.Petersburg, 1903}, hints in his index at possible uses. A number of them are not dissimilar to our own British paranumismatic usage within the last 200 years; others are similar in spirit, but reflect in detail the differing habits of the day:

  • Entertainment {theatre, circus, games, hunting, baths}
  • Commemoration of public occasions
  • Distribution of corn and grain
  • Inns and lodging houses
  • Transportation of merchandise
  • Chemists and druggists
  • Municipal issues by minor officials
  • Fishing
  • Oxen and cattle
  • Guilds
  • Manufactured goods
  • Prostitution
  • Maritime commerce
Obverse of piece on the right Reverse of piece on the left

A large number of pieces which bears the heads, names or initials of people now unknown, and may well be the equivalent of our local traders' pieces; others will be passes, granting some entitlement now lost in history. Some pieces do show the names and features of identifiable emperors, but so in abundance do our modern 19th century unofficial farthings. Less familiar to the modern era are the tesserae relating to such groups as:

  • Foreign races
  • Gods, goddesses and heroes
  • Wreaths, palms, garlands and other symbols of honour.
  • Personifications
  • The army

However, it is precisely in these areas that the unofficial tesserae most nearly touch the official imperial coinage of the day. Neither also is there too much unfamiliar in this extract from the same author's "Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire"{Oxford, 1926}:

"The dearth of coined money of small denominations produced some interesting results which testify to a powerful development of economic life, the claims of which were but slowly and incompletely met by the state. In the reigns of Claudius and Nero, after the suppression of the local Gallic and Spanish coinages, numerous imitations of the copper coins minted at Rome appeared in the Western provinces, including the Rhine lands and Britain, and these imitations were tolerated by the Government. Moreover, in almost all the large and even in some of the small cities of the Empire the retail traders, barmen, innkeepers, owners of ferries and passenger boats etc, issued their own money in the form of tokens and jetons. Great quantities of these tesserae, mostly of lead, have been found in the Tiber at Rome, some in Aquileia, some in Ostia, in Smyrna and elsewhere. It is possible that in some ports even the cities made regular issues of such tokens."

A bird An unknown head

Two Roman pieces found at Colchester.

Useful References and Links:

F.Ficorini: "De Plumbeis Antiquorum Numismatibus" {Rome, 1750}
Translates: "Ancient Lead Money"

M.Rostovtsev: "Tesserarum Urbis Romae et Surburbi" {St.Petersburg, 1903}
Translates: "Lead Tokens of the City of Rome and its Suburbs"

M.Rostovtsev: "The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire" {Oxford, 1926}

M.Overbeck: "Römische Bleimarken in der Staatlichen Münzsammlung München. Eine Quelle zur Sozial- und Wirtschaftgeschichte Roms" {Munich, 1995}
Translates: "Catalogues of Lead Tokens in the State Museum of Munich"

David Powell
December 2006

Lead Tokens

Lead tokens appear to have been used in Britain from the late-13th cent to the early-mid 19th. The former period is the one during which fractional denominations were first introduced, rather than using pennies alone and chopping into halves and quarters, whilst the latter is the period during which the Government first successfully overcame the shortage of small change which had plagued the country for several centuries. This may or may not be coincidence.

Even the smallest official coin, the farthing, was a significant portion of a man's weekly wage, and hence practicality drove communities to resolve a situation which the authorities were not able to. No official record survives of who struck them where, what they were valued at or under what local agreement they circulated; they probably had a very limited geographic radius of use and were probably struck or cast by some such craftsman as the local blacksmith. Not all crude lead will have been coin, however; some of them were almost certainly passes, whilst others will have had their value defined in terms of commodities or services rather than the currency of the day.

The earliest pieces, c.1275-1500, tended to be pewter rather than pure lead and were almost certainly of ecclesiastical origin; it is known, for example, that some bear the initial letters of church service names on them, whilst others were clearly for use by the travelling pilgrims whom they depict. Perhaps these pieces were deployed at the hostelries en route to Canterbury. Many, but not all, of these early pieces are very small; sometimes as little as 11mm.

More Ornate Pewter Pieces

Pilgrim Tokens More Ornate Pewter Tokens

Later pieces are usually pure lead, typically increasing to about 15-17mm in the Civil War period and often up to around 25mm in the 18th century. I say typically; there is no standard of manufacture to which anybody was obliged to conform, and it is the consequent diversity which gives the series its attraction. Precise dating of pieces is difficult; only about 7-8% of them bear dates, and these are nearly all in the period 1690-1810. The earliest I know of is 1512 and the latest 1848, but occurrences before the Civil War are exceptionally rare. There are few also after 1820, and such examples as I know come from Co.Durham, on the coast near Tyneside.

These Examples are Dated

Geographically there is a strong predominance of finds to the eastern side of the country, with Romney Marsh and East Anglia being the two most productive areas. The hop farms of Kent and East Sussex are known to have used white metal pieces until very late in the 19th century, and it may well be that some anonymous crude lead precedes the other, more identifiable, pieces of the later period. There is also a small but lesser hop community on the Surrey/Hants border, for which crude lead is known. Other pockets include Durham, Nottinghamshire, the Bucks/Herts/Oxon border, West Sussex and, of course, London; there will be others, but west of this line crude lead tends to be, whilst not unknown, comparatively scarce.

London is a world of its own, and the single feature by which London lead pieces are usually identified is the very dark colour of the metal; provincial material is usually quite light. This may be due to some extent to the environment in which the pieces are buried; many London pieces are recovered from the Thames.

London pieces are often darker than others

There is little identification on crude lead to offer much hope to the genealogist or historian; no placename, a couple of initials occasionally, and often not that. The designs are various. A few appear repeatedly, such as the flower of six petals, the cartwheel, the lis and the anchor; these are thought to be stock designs of semi-obscure ecclesiastical origin, but then who knows whether the anchor represents the anchor of salvation, maritime commerce, or simply a pub of that name?

The geometric '6 petal' shape is common

The cross and pellets is frequent, and presumably derives from the coinage of the first three Edwards; as also certain designs which appear to resemble a miller's threshing stone, which may hint at their usage.

Cross and Pellets

Very common, and usually presumed to be 18th century, are pieces which just have meaningless linear doodles; perhaps the ordinary man's way of distinguishing pieces which, if issued by minor gentry, would bear a coat of arms. The latter do occur occasionally, but are never very detailed; perhaps they indicate either usage on a country estate, or that the issuer was a merchant and member of a commercial guild.

The meaning of these is not understood

Instruments of trade, or merchant's marks, are found in small quantities; ditto drinking utensils, presumably indicating tavern tokens, and birds, animals and trees of various descriptions. Depictions of loyalty, in the shape of crowns, roses and the like, are not uncommon, but are usually associated with the Elizabethan period.

Various Drinking Vessels

The Romans used crude lead for similar reasons to ourselves, and pieces are found at Roman centres in England, e.g. Colchester. They have a different distribution of subject matter from the more modern material, but are essentially the same in concept; for example, people, wildlife and plantlife are all depicted much more frequently, whilst the specifics of Roman culture replace those of the English. Generically known as tesserae, the crude lead from around Rome itself is based on the quadrans, their ancient equivalent of our farthing, and is often very small; whilst by contrast, Roman material found in Britain is often chunkier.

Two small Roman Tokens

Other nations have had similar local issues, but because lead pieces generally have been little regarded or studied in any country not much is known about them; indeed, even historians and collectors have often considered them beneath their consideration, and in consequence many pieces have been lost. Their frequent poor condition and almost invariable anonymity puts many people off, but they can be attractive, they were part of our history, and it is good that, with the advent of ever more powerful metal detectors, interesting pieces are being found which might hitherto have escaped detection.

Useful References and Links:

For more information about Lead Tokens:-
Lead Tokens - Homepage ~

Bibliography ~

Index of Newsletter articles ~

David Powell
September 2006

17th Century Tokens

Because of their small size these illustrations have been enlarged 25% to 50% depending on your computer screen.

A TCS survey in 2004 revealed 17th cent tokens to be the most widely-loved of all British tokens; and rightly so, because of their personal nature and diverse range of subject matter.  Municipal issues apart, they are highly individual and identifiable, relating to ordinary people who can be frequently identified in the parish registers and other local documents of the time.  For a combination of age and traceability, the 17th cent token series is a breakeven which cannot be beaten; there are even a few issued by inns and pubs which are still trading today, one third of a millennium later.

The series is generally taken to refer to pieces in various alloys of copper and brass which were struck between 1648 and 1672, and semi-officially tolerated, in a period when the amount of officially available small change was woefully inadequate.  The start of issue was stimulated by a combination of the death of Charles I on 30 January 1648/9 and a public reaction against the little tinny pieces issued by certain of the royal favourites, under licence, during the period 1613-48.  The end came about in response to an official edict, issued in 1672 after the introduction of a proper royal copper coinage, that in consequence of official provision now being made, the use of unofficial privately-issued coinage had to cease.

Issues started in the Home Counties within weeks of Charles' demise and spread rapidly across southern and eastern England and the Midlands. In Wales and Northern England token issue was often quite sparse and did not start before 1656 or even later; Durham, strongly Royalist and indicated as such on its tokens, was one of two or three counties which did not issue until after the Restoration. With one exception, the series did not reach Scotland, whose independent official coinage was obviously deemed adequate. Ireland had a parallel series, broadly similar, but with the penny predominant; good copper pieces did not arrive there until 1680, and the tokens thus lingered on, despite official discouragement, throughout the 1670s. With the exception of the very common piece of Mic Wilson of Dublin in 1672, they tend to be rarer than their counterparts from the British mainland.

Royal Sentiments

Heart-shaped ob.


Heart-shaped rv.

There are currently in excess of 14,000 known types, with more continually coming to light. Most are round, although heart-shaped, octagonal and other irregular pieces exist in small quantity and always command a premium. As to the metal, the alloys are various and depend on what combination of ingredients the manufacturer had available at the time. Light, medium and rich hues of brass may be distinguished, as also pieces of very pure looking brown copper and extremely dark pieces which possibly contain antimony.  Others feel and sound tinny, or are more nondescript; they were struck to no standard, the only criterion being what the public would accept.

Pale tokens



Dark tokens

George Robinson

With a few exceptions the individual tokens state the name and place of the issuer(s), and in most cases state his initials, with the initial of his wife if she has one, in the centre of one side; for example, the common token of George Robinson of Witham shows R {Robinson} over GD {George, Dorcas} in triangular formation. There is no necessary implication that Dorcas was a partner in the business, and the same letter formation may be seen on many cottage foundation stones of the period. Illustration enlarged further.

Hers and Our

About 4% of the issuers were ladies trading in their own right, however, and doubtless some of them were widows carrying on the family business. [Her Half Peny Our Half Peny]


The mediaeval merchant mark was in decline by 1650, but may also still be seen instead of initials on a number of pieces.





The subject matter on the second side was at the whim of the issuer, who most often used it to depict the produce, the tools or the guild arms of his trade; or, alternatively the sign outside his premises, which, in days when many more people were illiterate, were not confined to pubs as they are today. There are also a number of puns on names to be seen; issuers named Bird were likely to depict one, whilst Stephen Lock's piece from Gosport shows a pair of keys. My favourite is a piece by a man called Partridge depicting a mitre, in which he appears to create a partridge by imaginative placement of the mitre, its tailstrings and Ramage's mullet mintmark.


With very few exceptions the tokens had values of a farthing, a halfpenny or a penny; the last-mentioned being confined to London, the N and NW of England, and N.Wales only. The farthings are typically about 15-16mm and, except where issued by local authorities, tend not to state their value; they predominate until about 1663-64 and, whilst quite a large number are dated, many of them are not.




There is a lessening of issue in the period immediately after the restoration, when many desisted in the hope that Charles II would officially address the need for small change; but when this hope proved forlorn, there was another major outburst of tokens, this time chiefly halfpennies and mostly dated. They tend to be about 19-21mm and name their value, with the dates 1666-69 predominating.




Municipal tokens are mostly of this period and of the same size, except that they tend to be farthings rather than halfpennies; intended for the use of the poor, as is usually stated or depicted quite clearly on them. Their usage was more popular in some areas than others, e.g. south to south-west England, and the northern part of East Anglia.



London pennies are large pieces, typically around 26mm; however, some of the provincial pennies are smaller, around the typical size of the halfpenny. Fortunately, when this occurs, they state the fact.


It is believed that most pieces were made by a few central manufacturers whose salesman toured the country for orders and deliveries, although only one, David Ramage {d.1662}, has been successfully identified.  By far the largest issuer, there is rumour that he resorted to malpractice to preserve his near-monopoly. A few, only, of his pieces bear an "R" to mark their origin.  There are numerous small marks in the field of most pieces {stars, flowers, diamonds, pellets and the like}, and it has been conjectured, without proof, that these may be indicators of provenance rather than mere decoration.  In addition to manufacturers, the token industry also gave rise to the profession of "farthing changer", whose job was presumably to buy pieces up, sort them out in return for commission. One or two of these even issued their own tokens.


G.C. Williamson's "Trade Tokens issued in the Seventeenth century" {2 vols, 1889} remains the standard work {reprinted by Seaby in 3 vols 1967}.  "Seventeenth Century Tokens of the British Isles and their Values", by M.J.Dickinson {1986} is an updated list including the pieces newly-found in the intervening century, whilst the ongoing "Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles: The Norweb Collection", by R.H.Thompson and {from vol.III} M.J.Dickinson contains by far the best collection of illustrations.  Volumes I-VII so far, with one or two more to follow.


Unofficial 19th Century Tokens

Worcester Co-op Rv Worcester Co-op Ob

The term "19th cent unofficials" usually relates to a series of several hundred tokens, almost but not quite all farthing sized, which were issued in the half century or so after the resumption of regular regal coinage in 1821.They did not enjoy the official toleration accorded to the earlier large copper tokens of the main 18th and 19th century series, and their use as small change was therefore legally precarious.In order to get round this problem, most pieces bore a description of their issuer's name, address and business interest, and deliberately omitted the word "farthing", so that the said issuer could plead in his defence if need be that the tokens were intended solely as advertising piece and made no reference to monetary value.Only occasionally was an issuer so bold as to venture the word "farthing", as witness the Worcester Cooperative Society piece.


The pieces of the 1820s and 1830s are not as numerous as their successors; a few borrow stylistically from the earlier main series tokens of the 1787-99 and 1811-20 periods whilst others, more modern in their artwork, set the tone for what follows.

Swansea / Truro Rv Swansea / Truro Ob

A few, always simplistic and none later than 1832, are municipal.

Shaw Bros. Liverpool Dicks, Plymouth Devonshire Victoria London 1851

A number of the 19th cent unofficials, mainly later ones, are in brass,and these probably were genuine advertising pieces without other intent; and indeed, the later boundary of the series, nominally set at around 1870 for convenience, is fuzzy; there is no clearly defined line at which the series ends.The largest group of pieces, however, and one struck almost invariably in copper, is one struck around the time of the Great Exhibition of 1851, give or take a decade.These usually feature either a picture either of the exhibition hall or a head of Queen Victoria on the obverse, the latter sometimes with a date below as per the coins of the period.An occasional variety is the head of the Duke of Wellington, hero of the Peninsular Wars, who died and was commemorated in 1852. Perhaps it was felt that, by including the publicising of loyal sentiment on the tokens in one of these three forms, the law would be more tolerant of their existence.

Walsall Tea Warehouse

Whilst the second side was frequently taken up with bare description of the issuer and his business, many pieces illustrate the latter pictorially; references to the grocery and clothing trades are common, tea dealers and bakers featuring particularly, and also other trades such as metalwork and saddlery.

Darlington Ob Bread Warehouse Rv Willenhall Coal and Iron Trade

The majority of issuers were domestic shopkeepers; only a couple of times are industrial scenes encountered, and then only as a symbol of the area served.A sample from the 1851 census implies that most issuers were fairly young, typically in their 20s or 30s.

Dealer in Game Dealer in Game Lamp Manufacturer

19th cent unofficials have a strong geographical weighting towards the Midlands and other industrial counties, in consequence of Birmingham being their chief place of manufacture; Lancashire,Warwickshire and Staffordshire are the three most numerous counties.Quite a number of other counties are represented, but many of them only by a very few pieces.London has some, but it does not feature greatly, and a number of its issues feel decidedly peripheral to the main body of the series.One noticeably usual county is Norfolk, which for a distant part of the country has an above-average number both of issuers and individual pictorials.

Victoria Victoria

A number of distinct styles of lettering and portraiture can be discerned and most of the English pieces can be attributed to one or other of the well-known engravers in Birmingham, Sheffield or Leeds.One or two of the latter issued their own tokens, and very occasionally a maker's name is in evidence.

T. Pope U976 only penny only penny

It is thought that most pieces were farthings because such a modest coin might pass as being beneath the line of significance, but that any attempt to produce higher values would be more likely to incur the wrath of the authorities.Occasionally it was attempted, as in the case of the penny of London lamp manufacturer John Clark in 1854.


"Bell's Unofficial Farthings, A Supplement", by R.C.Bell, J.A.Whitmore and J.O.Sweeny {Whitmore, 1994}, is generally held to be the current reference work; however, Siegfried Schwer's "Price Guide to Unofficial Farthings" {Schwer, 1986}, which the preceding title to some extent replaced, is still extremely useful both for its county-orientated lists and its extensive photography.
For those wishing to trace the different makers in detail, R.N.P.Hawkins' "Dictionary of Medalet and Check Makers, 1788-1910" {Baldwin, 1989} is invaluable.


American Civil War Tokens

Our Army Our Union

Tokens were produced widely during the American Civil War to remedy a dearth of official coin brought about at an early stage by its economic consequences. They were issued only for about 21 months, Q3/1862 to Q2/1864, but a total mintage well in excess of 25 million pieces is estimated, from about 400 towns and 1500 individual merchants. 22 states are represented, but a contiguous group of seven are prominent: Ohio, New York, Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Illinois. Nearly all Civil War Tokens (CWTs) derive from the Unionist side, the Confederates being afflicted with a severe dearth of copper. Some thirty or so manufacturers have been identified, mostly operating from the larger cities of the above states, who commonly charged their clients 73 cents per hundred pieces.

The US small cent of 19-20mm diameter had been introduced in 1856 and the majority of pieces coincide very closely with this; there are also a few larger pieces, in the 24-27mm range. In terms of design, the cent-like pieces fall into two categories: Patriotics, which are of a general nature and frequently express political sentiments, and Store Cards, which bear the names and designs of individual merchants. The choice between a standard {Patriotic} and specific {Storecard} design was usually an issue of cost, the personalized version being more expensive, and many different combinations of obverse and reverse are found. There are few obvious town pieces, so it is presumed that civic issues were usually of the double-patriotic type.

The majority of CWTs are made of copper or brass, although rarely some other material is used, such as compressed india-rubber; some of them actually state that they are cents, although the majority do not. Beyond the Patriotics and Storecards, however, there is also another series of pieces called Sutler tokens, struck by the travelling tradesmen who serviced the frontier forts; these are often of different value, size or metallic structure, rarely as attractive as the other CWTs, and always very scarce. The values are usually stated and may be anything up to $1, although the most common were 10c, 15c and 25c.

Liberty Indian Head Symbols of the Union Erinnerung am 1863

Patriotics depict a relatively small number of common themes: the generic Liberty and Indian heads, variously rendered by the different manufacturers; the various political and military personalities of the period; other symbols of the Union, festooned with patriotic sentiment; the equipment of warfare; statements of patriotic belief. Occasional pieces bear witness to the presence of significant immigrant populations, e.g. the patriotic "Erinnerung am 1863"; German surnames are particularly in evidence on storecards, whilst the solitary piece which depicts Hebrew wording is always popular.

Knickerbocker Currency Ole Kinderhook

Amongst the more interesting references on Patriotics are the fictitious Diedrich Knickerbocker, now better known in connection with ice cream; and Martin van Buren, alias Ole Kinderhook, whose initials "OK" have now passed into common parlance as indicating a situation of stability. The implication of the original token, which depicts Lincoln on the other side, was that Van Buren was a safe pair of hands.

Cynicism ~ Not One Cent for the Widows Peace Forever

As with the other British and American series of previous decades there is always evidence of satire and political cynicism, and there is also a small minority group of pieces advertising pacifism.

Straight's Elephantine Shoe Stores 393 Broadway 1863 Pittsburgh ~ Dry Goods, Groceries, Hardware & Notions

Most Storecards commence with a basic textual statement of the issuer's name, address and type of business. The second side, where specific rather than patriotic, tends to depict the specifics of that trade, which is frequently concerned with the basic needs of frontier life: hardware, refreshment, clothing, medicine and the like. The range of goods advertised is somewhat different from that advertised on the contemporary unofficial farthings of the UK, where one would be less likely to find stoves, grindstones, saws, garden rollers, safes, and fishing tackle. Finally, spare a thought for the poor pig depicted on the obverse of butcher Thomas White's piece, who might be feeling a little uncomfortable if he could read the reverse advertising his master's premises at 13-14 Abattoir Place!

Grindstones, Flaggins & Building Stones M.L. Marshall 1863, Oswego, N.Y. Thomas White's Pig ~1863 13-14 Abattoir Place, West 39th St. N.Y.

Certain very specific advertisements include some for the Union Recruitment Fairs, or by war agents making a living out of the financial logistics of frontier conflict. One piece was issued by the company which ran the New York to Albany Ferry, and descends to the precise details of the timetable.

NY & Albany ~ Peoples Line Of Steam Boats Timetable ~ Leave NY 6P.M. Leave Albany 7&frac1/2;P.M. Rhode Island First In The Field 1864 Goes & Falk 1863 Milwaukee

There are over thirty known die-sinkers, some of whom have distinctive styles; for example the Rhode Island die-sinker, name unknown, who uses lower case lettering, and Marr of Milwaukee, who enjoyed a near-monopoly of Wisconsin's issues.

Lindenmueller Obverse. Gustavus Lindenmueller - New_York

The largest single individual issue was the million or so pieces issued by the distinctive long-bearded Gustavus Lindenmueller of New York, whose reputed mocking refusal to redeem a large number of tokens held by a major railroad company was one of several similar incidents which prompted Congress to put an end to the series in 1864.

Useful References and Links:

George & Melvin Fuld: Civil War Store Cards.

George & Melvin Fuld: Patriotic Civil War Tokens.

David E. Schenkman: Civil War Sutler Tokens and Cardboard Scrip.

Byron Kanzinger: Civil War Token Price Guide.

An active Civil War Token Society exists; details at

David Powell
October 2006

Ancient Order of Foresters

Court 106 'Isaac & Rebeckah'


Rev. blank, c/m 2s/


Court 106 Court 106

brass/milled edge 41mm

Founded 1834, Blackrod District
Met 1876~1901 Red Lion, Church St., Blackrod

Court 520 'Goshen'





Founded by 1865
Met 1866 York Tavern, Todmorden
Suspended 1873

Court 1371 'Robin Hood'

Obv. ANCIENT ORDER|(crest depicted)|OF FORESTERS



brass/milled edge

Court 1371 Court 1371

Founded 1841, Birmingham Midland District
Met 1876~1885 White Swan, Church St., Birmingham
Met 1898 Chapel Tavern, Great Charles St., Birmingham
Met 1901 Crown, Great Charles St., Birmingham

Court 1498 'Robin Hood's Retreat'

Obv. COURT|R.H.R|No 1498

Rev. blank


brass/plain edge 26mm

Court 1498 Court 1498

Founded 1842, Bagthorpe District
Met 1876~1901 Sand Hill Tavern, Bagthorpe Common, Bagthorpe, Nottinghamshire

Court 1569 'Royal Sherwood'

Obv. OLD CROWN|DERITEND (around a circle, in which, depicted, a crown)

Rev. COURT ROYAL SHERWOOD|1569 (around a circle, in which) CHECK|2D


brass/plain edge 28mm

Court 1569

Founded 1843, Birmingham Midland District
Met 1876~1885 Old Crown, Deritend, Birmingham
Met 1901 Birmingham Arms, Smithfield, Birmingham

Court 1600 'Forest Oak'

Obv. COURT FOREST OAK 1600|(an oak tree depicted)|CROWN INN|SMETHWICK

Rev. 2D½


brass/milled edge 25mm

Court 1600

Founded 1843, Smethwick and West Bromwich District
Met 1876~1885 Swan, Oldbury Rd., Smethwick
Met 1898~1901 Crown, High St., Smethwick

Court 1600 'Forest Oak'




brass/plain edge

See previous entry

Court 2388 'Iron Duke'




Founded 1851, Manchester Distict
Met 1876~1901 Minshull Arms, Downing St., Ardwick Green, Manchester

Court 2455 'Watt Villa'


Rev. 3D (in a wreath)


brass/milled edge

Founded 1852, Smethwick and West Bromwich District
Met 1876~1885 New Inn, Union St., Smethwick
Met 1898 Old Navigation, Lewisham Rd., Smethwick

Court 2468 'Hope'


Rev. (3D)


Presumably 'Hope of Worcester', founded 1852, Worcester District.
Met 1876~1885 Old England Inn, Providence Street, Worcester.
Met 1901 Plough, Silver Street

Court 2561 'Good Intent'

Obv. "2D" within a Circle, between a Laurel & Palm Branch. "H. Morgan Maker 97 Newhall St. Birm."

Rev. "Court: Good Intent. A.O.F. (Ancient Order of Foresters) No. 2561." Two Ornaments.

Batty 2405F (1876)

brass/milled edge

Founded 1853, Birmingham Midland District
Met 1876~1885 Old Union Mill, Holt St., Birmingham
Met 1898~1901 Queen's Head, Steelhouse Lane, Birmingham

Court 3562 'Heart of Oak'




brass/milled edge

Founded 1861, Smethwick and West Bromwich District
Met 1876~1901 British Queen, Birmingham Rd., Oldbury, Worcestershire

Heart of Oak

This Court met initially at the Bell Inn, Cemetery St., Road End, Worley Wigorn (Worcestershire).
Daniell's dates at 52 St. Paul's Sqr. were 1861/2-1873 (Hawkins, 1989). This Court was eventually amalgamated with Court 2455 (q.v.).

Court 4074 'Lion of the Forest'


Rev. blank


oval, brass

Lion of the Forest

Founded 1862, Wolverhampton & Tipton District
Met 1876~1885 New Inn, Walsall St., Willenhall
Met 1898~1901 Star, New Lichfield St., Willenhall

Court 4243 'Pride of the Village'

Obv. A.O.F.|4243|PV

Rev. 2D

per EG

brass/milled edge

Pride of the Village

Founded 1863, Birmingham Midland District
Met 1876 Drover's Arms, Smithfield St., Birmingham
Met 1885~1898 Drover's Arms, Bradford St., Birmingham

Court 4309 'Forest Glen'


Rev. 2D (in a wreath, a Vaughton die)


brass/milled edge 25mm

Court 4309

Founded 1863, Birmingham Midland District
Met 1876 Gate Inn, Icknield St., East, Birmingham
Met 1885~1901 at the Ivy Green, 15 Clement St. & 22 Edward St., Birmingham

Court 4435 'Woodman's Shelter'


Rev. 1D½ (in a wreath)


ae/milled edge

Woodman's Shelter

Founded 1864, Greets Green and Wednesbury District
Met 1876~1885 Scott Arms, Blackhall, Darlaston
Met 1898~1901 White Lion, King St., Darlaston

Court 4649 'Pride of the Whitmore Reans'

Obv. 4649 COURT T.PRIDE OF WHITMORE REANS (around a beaded circle, in which) 1D½



brass/milled edge 31mm

Woodman's Shelter Woodman's Shelter

Founded 1865, Wolverhampton & Tipton District
Met 1876 Wheel Inn, Great Hampton St., Wolverhampton
Met 1885~1901 Gladstone, North St., Wolverhampton

Court 4722 'Foresters Progress'


Rev. 3D (in a wreath)



Foresters Progress

Founded 1865, Greets Green & Wednesbury District
Met 1876~1898 Golden Eagle, High St., Brierley Hill
Met 1901 Star, High St., Brierley Hill

Court 5250 'Eagle's Hope'

Obv. COURT 5250|BIRMINGHAM (around a circle, in which) A O F

Rev. G.P.TYE MAKER|BIRMINGHAM (around a blank centre, on which, c/m) W.KING


brass/plain edge

Court 5250

Founded 1868, Birmingham Midland District
Met 1876~1898 Small Arms Inn, Muntz St., Birmingham
Met 1901 Coach & Horses, Coventry Road, Small Heath
W. King was secretary of AOF Court 5250 /.1876~1901//

Court 5370 'Royal Sherwood'



Founded 1869, Dudley and Cradley Heath District
Met 1876 Old Crown, Haden Cross Inn, Haden Hill, Old Hill (Staffs).
Met 1885 Three Furnaces, Waterfall Lane, Old Hill (Staffs).
Met 1898~1901 George, Halesowen Road, Old Hill (Staffs)

Court 5374 'Greenbush Foresters'

Obv. COURT 5374|WOODSIDE (around a circle, in which) A.O.F.

Rev. 2½ (in a wreath of roses, thistles and shamrock)


brass/milled edge

Court 5374 Court 5374

Founded 1869, Dudley and Cradley Heath District
Met 1876~1898 Old Bush Inn, Pedmore Rd., Woodside
Met 1901 Primitive Methodist School

Court Uncertain





No Court has been discovered that met at this hostelry.

Images have been enlarged about 30% - 50% (depending on your monitor) to aid reading.

Communion Tokens

Communion tokens have been used since the mid 16th cent for controlling the administration of the eucharist in Protestant churches; chiefly in Scotland and wherever Scotsmen have gone, but also on the continent by the Huguenots. The communion service has traditionally been treated with greater reverence and more of a sense of occasion in Scotland than it has elsewhere in Britain; in England a church may go through the motions every other week, but in Scotland it is something special; an event held but two or three times a year, if that; to be prepared for, and to be contemplated. It is not just a Sunday service; it is, or has been, a whole weekend of events, culminating in the central ceremony.

With that in mind, the Calvinistic church elders have traditionally been very strict in assessing who and who not should be permitted to attend and, accordingly, have issued passes in the form of communion tokens {CTs} to those whom they deem worthy. CTs have also, in more turbulent times such as those of the Covenanters back in the 17th cent, had a secondary purpose of keeping enemies at bay.

Whether one approves of this moral policing or not, the CT provides a very interesting numismatic requirement for Scotland's 901 ancient parishes, and their various offshoots, to solve. Every parish bought into the above approach, and with it the need for local provision of tokens, to no particular standard other than what there own elders deemed necessary; but not all had the manufacturing or artistic skills to make the necessary provision. Some had metal workers, others did not. Some combined their efforts or used adjacent parishes' resources, which resulted in an area having similarly-designed pieces. Regional traditions evolved, notable examples including small pewtery rectangles in northern Fife {early-mid 18c}, robust squares in Aberdeenshire and Nairn {19c}, chunky white metal in Roxburgh c.1825-45, upright ovals in Perth and Midlothian {19c} and, most numerous of all, a Glasgow design consisting of a pewtery square with a circle in it.

Most early pieces are lead. Some of these are more pewtery than others, and around 1800 there is a move towards white metal, which predominates by the 1820s or 1830s and continued throughout the 19th cent. There are a handful of copper and brass pieces in the 19th cent, but they are not widespread and always command a premium; in the early period, there are also one or two bracteates.

Early pieces were very simple, often showing only the initial letter of the parish, but as time went on this was joined by the initials of the minister and/or the date. These later expanded gradually into abbreviations and full names. Dates are uncommon before 1680, the earliest known being 1648, and even in the mid-18th cent many pieces do not bear them; although beware, a few dates are those of church foundation, rather than those of issue. Scriptural texts are a later feature, rare before the 19th cent; references only at first, but working forward, mainly in the days of white metal, to full quotations. About ninety different verses are known.

After the Industrial Revolution reached Glasgow and Edinburgh, most churches put the manufacturing work out to companies in the big cities. Alexander Kirkwood in Edinburgh was particularly prolific; active by the late 1820s, rectangular pieces with cut corners suddenly became the fashion. Ovals remained popular, but round and square pieces were largely consigned to history. The secession of the Free Church in 1843 was the largest of several major schisms, and provided die-stampers like Kirkwood with much business.

Population increase brought new churches, particularly in the cities; as also did the numerous mergers and schisms which punctuated Scottish ecclesiastical history at regular intervals. Several new denominations emerged, and like the regions these evolved their own styles.

In a large church there would also be some practical issues to resolve, such as ensuring the distribution of communicants between tables so as render the process as quick and efficient as possible; for which purpose many CTs are counterstamped with table numbers. A small number of churches used serial numbers, although how these were deployed is uncertain; one, at Leith, briefly used both simultaneously.

Many ministers marked the beginning of their tenure with an issue of tokens; whether this was always necessary is uncertain, but like kings many of them were keen to have their names on their coinage as soon as possible.

The churches treated their tokens with great reverence and did not therefore dispose of them as casually as did merchants; frequently, they were buried in one batch on the premises when no longer required. In consequence of this practice, more is known about the provenance of apparently anonymous pieces than with comparable series like commercial crude lead. Common pieces are therefore those where the batch survives, and are often all in the same condition {good or bad}; rare pieces are where the main batch has not been found and the surviving pieces are casual losses. One cannot imagine that the elders let anyone keep them as momentos!

Geographically, CTs spread evenly across Scotland in proportion to the population concerned. Northumbrian parishes, although English, behave very similar to Scotland. As to the rest of the British Isles, CTs are likely to be found wherever Scottish congregations were established, which chiefly means the ports around the coast. Most English CTs conform to the typical design, as to those in British colonies overseas, but the London pieces are rather individualistic. Many emigrant communities contained sizeable numbers of Scots, and in the case of the Highland clearances some whole Scottish communities emigrated en bloc. For this reason there are significant numbers of CTs in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere; whilst Ireland, which like Scotland had a strong Presbyterian tradition, also has a sizeable issue.

A few Protestant churches, outside the Presbyterian stable, also issued CTs; however, it was not widespread.

Some parishes contemplated the replacement of tokens by invitation cards as early as 1860, but 1900 is a more typical date for the changeover and there are one or two parishes which have continued regular usage until very recent years; 1938 is the latest new issue of which I am aware in mainland Scotland. Some churches have also celebrated significant anniversaries with special issues, but these are scarcely to be regarded as part of the main story.



L.M. Burzinski's "Communion Tokens of the World" {1999} is considered the current main reference work for the series. The earlier works by Brooks{1907} and Kerr/Lockie {1940-53} contain excellent line drawings of pieces for which illustrations are not otherwise available; see the section of the LTT bibliography on communion tokens at for further details.

For overseas CTs, there are also a number of works on the issues of particular countries.

"Tokens of Grace", by Laurie Stanley-Blackwell {Cape Breton University Press, 2006} is an excellent description of the evolution of the Scottish communion service tradition.


Co-op Checks & Tokens

The three main types are as follows:-

Dividend checks

These are discs bearing the name of the society and a monetary value and are often made from tinned iron in a bracteate form.  As societies got richer, better checks were produced from brass and bronze.  Metallic checks were introduced in the mid 19th century by co-operative societies to enable members to obtain their dividend from purchases made at the store.  The system was simple to operate.  Checks were issued equal to the sum spent in the store, and were retained by the member until the quarterly or half yearly dividend was declared, the checks were then taken to the co-op office to be redeemed for cash.  If the dividend was declared at 2/- in the pound, £5 in purchases would result in 10/- in coin of the realm.

This type of system also gave an accurate reading on the day to day takings, the monetary amount of checks issued should be the same as the cash in the till, of course that was not always the case, as one has to allow for human error and not all shopmen were honest, many early societies were closed through dishonesty by shopmen.  Sometimes some members held back their checks at the end of the quarter hoping for a better dividend in the next quarter, this of course could upset the balance sheets, if a low dividend of 3% was declared and two thirds of the members withheld their checks until say a dividend of 6% was declared, the society would end up paying double on checks that should have been redeemed at 3%, in small societies this practice could cause serious financial problems, another hazard was created by affluent members buying the poorer members checks and holding these back for good dividends.

One serious problem that caused many societies to abandon metallic checks was the forging if high value checks, those of 10/-, £1 and £5, after paying out the dividend many societies found themselves deeply in the red through this practice.  A man in halifax was sent to prison in 1881 for forging high value co-op checks from many different societies.  A few societies that used checks also used a members book system where their purchases were recorded, this of course gave an accurate account of how much dividend they were entitled to, the book and the checks had to, tally and both had to be brought in for the dividend, this system was also abused by alterations in the book and check buying.

Not all societies used metal checks although it was probably the most popular system in victorian times, some scottish societies used early plastics for their dividend checks e.g. Vulcanite and Bakelite.  Most societies abandoned their metallic checks for the 'climax' triple paper counterfoil system before 1920 an exception being the royal arsenal society whose checks were in use till 1960, that's why they are so common.

Prepayment Tokens

Similar to dividend checks but could have dairy dept, milk dept, bakery etc.  Together with a monetary value or usually the commodity is clearly stated such as milk, bread, coal etc.  These type of tokens started to come into use after world war I.  The earlier ones being made from tinned iron, brass, copper or bronze, or aluminium later examples are usually plastic.  These tokens could be purchased at the local co-op as required, or in bulk and the value credited to your dividend account. 

The tokens could be left out or given to the delivery man, deliveries were speeded up as no cash was involved or change given.  When the price of the commodity was altered a token of a different shape or different colour was usually issued to denote this.  2006, I know of only one society that still uses milk tokens!!

Mutuality Tokens

Sometimes called club change or P.B.A. (Personal Buyers Account) tokens.  These tokens were given in change for loans taken out by members to buy furniture, clothing etc.  The society issued a cheque to a member to be spent in the store, if the cheque was for £10 and only £9-16-0 was spent the 4/- remaining would be given to the member in mutuality tokens which could be spent anywhere in the store.

Other tokens that do not fall into the above categories are internal tokens, such as canteen tokens, time and tool checks etc.

Useful References and Links:

For a more in depth description of checks and tokens and a brief history of the co-operative movement obtain a copy of Co-operative checks, tickets, tokens & coins by P.S. Waddell.
An excellent invaluable booklet for the historian or co-op collector.

D.R. Rains
November 2006

Hop Tokens

The series which is known in the numismatic fraternity today as hop tokens is associated almost exclusively with Kent and East Sussex and with the period c.1770 to the outbreak of the Second World War; however, several other areas are known to have grown hops and a useful reference to these is given in the bibliography at the end.

Kent and East Sussex

Early hop tokens were made in lead, moving gradually in the early 19th century to the white metal alloy which predominates; whilst miscellaneous specimens in other metals such as brass, bronze, copper and zinc appear in smaller numbers.  In one case the metal of a church bell, which had become too damaged for further use, was recycled for the purpose.  Exceptionally, other, non-metal materials were used; cardboard and paper in more modern times, and, on one earlier set c.1810, bone.

Early hop tokens Early hop tokens

The latter is believed to have been produced by Napoleonic prisoners of war.

Napoleonic prisoners of war Napoleonic prisoners of war

Nearly all have one or more issuers' initials on them, and some of the larger pieces their full names and, occasionally, locations. Because they were of very local usage, the issuers can often be deduced by local historians from the findspots even though they may not actually be stated.

Hop Token issuers' initials Hop Token issuers' initials Hop Token issuers' initials Hop Token issuers' initials

Although some series are common, others are known only by certain values, and new types and values are still coming to light.

Hop Token other Hop Tokens are known only by certain values

Hop growing was not confined to the above period and it may reasonably be conjectured that some sort of token currency was often in use before and after; e.g. anonymous crude lead before and, more recently, tin bracteate or cardboard tokens in the early-mid 20th cent.  This applies to other crop growing areas as well, apart from Kent and East Sussex. Shown to the left are a group of crude lead pieces of unknown origin which sit on the boundary of the two series, exhibiting some of the features of early hop tokens and which are probably their early-mid 18th cent precursors.

Hop growing Hop growing

Significant numbers of both cast and struck pieces exist, with the cast predominating; also, there are quite a large number of cases where there is no design and all the necessary detail was inserted by counterstriking on blanks.

Hop Token counterstriking on blanks Hop Token counterstriking on blanks

The available local labour force was numerically inadequate for the hop-picking industry in during the few weeks at the height of the season, and for this reason it was augmented for many years by inhabitants of the East End who treated a few weeks of casual agricultural labour as a holiday from their normal urban pursuits. This influx required considerable administration, for which the employers used a combination of notched tally sticks and tokens in a manner which differed from area to area; East Kent, Mid Kent and East Sussex all had their own approaches, described in more detail in Duncan Pennock's article referenced below, and in consequence several different series of tokens evolved:
1,3,6,12,30,60,120 or 1,3,6,12,24,48,72,120, indicating either bushels or pence {higher values sometimes rendered in shillings}
1,2,3,/.N, where N was the size of the receiving basket in bushels.

East Sussex Hop Token East Sussex Hop Token East Sussex Hop Token

Tokens would be used as an on-the-job currency, for recording either a person's overall production or as a way of indicating what proportion of a basket they had filled at the end of a shift, thus restricting the need for actual transaction of official coin to a few agreed payment days.  The use of bushel-valued tokens also allowed for a fluctuating conversion rate whereby rewards could be varied according to the quantity and quality of hops picked, enabling the same tokens to be used in a good season as a bad one.

Many of the early lead pieces would have been produced by the local blacksmith and, the lower values especially, often bore no ornamentation whatsoever; even the higher values were fairly plain. Hop Tokens used as an on-the-job currency Hop Tokens used as an on-the-job currency Hop Tokens used as an on-the-job currency Hop Tokens used as an on-the-job currency Hop Tokens used as an on-the-job currency

The high quality white-metal pieces produced in later years by the local Comports Engineering works at Northiam, however, were more inventive; their decorative and occasionally pictorial high value pieces are the most attractive of the series. They bear dates more often than any other types, usually in the range 1835-75, and most often depict arrangements of script and foliage, or occasionally a shield; but here and there, some such pictorial as an oast house or running hare appears. These latter pieces are the most sought after. Hop Token decorative and occasionally pictorial high value pieces Hop Token decorative and occasionally pictorial high value pieces Hop Token decorative and occasionally pictorial high value pieces Hop Token decorative and occasionally pictorial high value pieces Hop Token decorative and occasionally pictorial high value pieces Hop Token decorative and occasionally pictorial high value pieces Hop Token decorative and occasionally pictorial high value pieces Hop Token decorative and occasionally pictorial high value pieces Hop Token decorative and occasionally pictorial high value pieces

Most often the issuers were ordinary farmers, but here and there a minor aristocrat issued something more exotic, out of keeping with the general run, to make his presence felt the occasional presence of heraldry is a feature to look out for. Hop Token Hop Token Hop Token Hop Token

At the opposite end of the range, multiply counter-struck pieces with two or more sets of initials are interesting for their illustration of change of ownership; whilst pieces like the illustrated 60 bushel and five shillings exhibit the ultimate in crude do-it-yourself-manship.

Hop Token Hop Token Hop Token Hop Token

Only rarely were well-known Birmingham manufacturers commissioned to produce fine quality copper or bronze, as in Walter Smith's pieces by Daniell.

Hop Token Hop Token

The decline of hop token usage roughly declined with the widespread replacement of white metal token usage by brass, and only at the very end did a new generation of makers like the Neals, better known for their market checks, make their appearance. By WW2, increased literacy had largely caused tokens to give way to written methods of accounting and payment, like pickers books, and hop tokens fell into disuse.



Alan C. Henderson's "Hop Tokens of Kent and Sussex and their Issuers" {Spink 1990} is the standard reference work, and more recently he has published "Hop Token Issuers and their Tokens" {four volumes so far, ongoing}, in which he explores more of the background history of the often interlinked farming families. 
A more detailed description of hop token usage is contained in Duncan Pennock's guest article in Vol.31 {Oct 2007} of David Powell's lead token newsletter {}, whilst the article by D.C.D.Pocock entitled "Some Former Hop-Growing Centres" in the journal of the British Agricultural History Society {Vol.13.1, 1965, page 17;} is useful for its suggestions as to what other hop farming areas flourished at what dates.

David Powell

King William's College

View of King William's College

King Williams College is an independent school, situated near Castletown. The College was founded with financing from the Bishop Barrow Trust originally set up in 1668 to fund education in the Isle of Man, but was eventually used to found the college in 1833, which opened with only 46 boys. The coat of arms in the centre of the College's crest is that of Bishop Isaac Barrow. The school is named after King William IV who is said to have offered the founders, "my most valuable possession, my name" when asked for a financial contribution.

Since 1904, the College has set an annual general knowledge test, known as the General Knowledge Paper. The pupils sit the test twice, once unseen on the day before the Christmas holidays, and again when they return to school in the new Year, after having spent the holiday researching the answers. It is well known to be highly difficult, a common score being just two correct answers from a list of several hundred. The quiz is popular with non-pupils and has been published in the Guardian since 1951.

The College has a proud military history - its Officer's Training Corps (OTC), established in 1911 saw active service in the Great war. 546 members of the College Community served in the First World War. The OTC cap badge is shown here.

OTC Cap Badge

The OTC unit later evolved into the Junior Training Corps about ayear before the Second World War. 696 members of the College Community served in the Second World War. In 1948 the Combined Cadet Force was established as the Junior Training Corps was integrated with the Air Training Corps and Sea Cadet Corps at the College.
Three old boys have won the V.C. The most recent being Major Robert Henry Cain at the Battle of Arnhem in 1944. To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Victoria Cross in 2006, there was a very interesting programme about how Major Cain won his V.C. Narrated by Jeremy Clarkson, - and at the end he said that Major Cain, who died in 1974 aged 64, was his father in law.

The College issued tokens for use in the school tuck shop. Their period of use was from 1937-1952, and they were issued by housemasters weekly as part of pocket money which could be used in the school tuck shop. It is not known how many were minted or the manufacturer, there were approximately 200 boys at this time, so it must have been a considerable number. It's official name was "tuck shop money", although it was known by the boys as "phoney dough". The main reason for their introduction was to prevent boys spending their money at places other than the school tuck shop. The idea was that any profits should be routed back for the boys' benefit. The money was used to purchase items such as radios and a sound projector for Saturday evening films.

Halfpenny Penny Sixpence

There are three denominations, a halfpenny in copper, a penny in brass and a sixpence in aluminium. They are all the same design, showing K.W.C. on the obverse and the denomination within a wreath of oak leaves and acorns on the reverse. They are all 26mm in diameter and for some reason the halfpenny is much rarer than the other two denominations.

The College issued prize medals for various sporting events -

KWC Silver Medal Obv. KWC Silver Medal Rev.

Silver medal (44mm), arms of college engraved on the obv. Rev. is engraved BOXING/1920/LIGHTWEIGHTS/WON BY/A. WEALE. All within a laurel wreath and signed VAUGHTON BIRM.

KWC Bronze Medal Obv. KWC Bronze Medal Rev.

Bronze medal (40mm), arms of college on the obv. Rev. is engraved STEEPLECHASE/UNDER 15/SECOND PRIZE/ WON BY, and is not named. Similar medals are known in silver.

KWC smaller Bronze Medal Obv. KWC smaller Bronze Medal Rev.

Bronze medal (34mm), arms of college on the obv. Rev. has ATHLETIC · SPORTS around above and laurel wreath around below, with Won by across centre and is engraved; HIGH JUMP UNDER 13. H.A.R. GARRETT. This medal is also known in the larger (40mm) size and may exist in silver.

In 2008 the College celebrated its 175th anniversary and this medal was struck by the Pobjoy Mint to celebrate that occasion. It is cupro-nickel and is blank on the reverse.

KWC 175th Anniversary medal.

Alan Cope

Engraved Coins

Often referred to as love tokens, these are coins that have been engraved with a design, often to be given as a keepsake to a loved one. A great many pieces are known, and almost all are unique in their design. The quality of the workmanship can vary from the simplest of scratching on a smoothed coin to masterpieces of the engraver's art. The engraved details can vary from just a few initials or a name, where the sentiment was only known by the engraver and the recipient, to pieces carrying much more information; names, addresses, dates and even the raison d'etre for the piece.

Most of the pieces once separated from the recipient will have lost all of their meaning and will never be understood, but there are two series of engraved coins that have succumbed to painstaking research. The first are transportation tokens, often engraved or just pricked out with a nail on worn or smoothed cartwheel pennies (George III, 1797). These were made by prisoners whilst held on the hulks prior to transportation to the New World. The second series are coins that have been engraved with designs or allusions to ships, again probably given to loved ones prior to departure on what were often dangerous and often one way voyages.


Charles II Shilling 1661 1. A Charles II hammered shilling, engraved at the time of its issue with the date 1661. We will probably never find the identity of AK, but can surmise some wealth, as a shilling in 1661 was quite a sum of money.

My Heart is fixed, I cannot range, I like my Choice, Farewell to Change 2. Another enigmatic piece, has the simple but touching sentiment "My heart is fixed, I cannot range, I like my choice too well to change" and the initials AMW. On the smoothed off obverse of a 1787 shilling.

A loved token3. At a first glance Devol 1898, seems simple, but an unusual name, but then this is Loved back! On the smoothed reverse of a Victorian old head shilling.

James Wild - Manchester4. Even when the information engraved on the coin is good, as here with James Wild of Manchester, on the obverse of a very worn shilling of Anne, the name is too common to find a unique identity.

W.Middleton -Elected 8 Feby - 18035. This 1787 shilling has a neatly engraved inscription "W. Middleton, Elected 8 Feby 1803". All attempts to trace this event have so far failed. However we cannot assume this to be a British or Political event.

Thomas Witheradge - Ship Phoenix A finely engraved scene 6. his worn disc of silver, just 26mm in diameter, shows the finest of engraving. On the obverse, Thos Witherage, third mate of the ship phoenix 1772 about to depart on the ship. On the reverse, probably his wife, shepherd's crook in hand tending animals with a farm in the background. Research is ongoing into this piece.

Drury versus Mortimer 7. This final piece engraved on a Victoria young head shilling, is hardly a love token, but a receipt or memento of the case of Drury vs Mortimer and the £50 damages awarded. Attempts to trace this case have so far failed.

Useful References and Links

S. Comfort. Forget me not - A study of naval and maritime engraved coins and plate (1745-1918). Privately published by Sim Comfort Associates, 2004.

M. Field and T. Millett. Convict Love Tokens - the leaden hearts the convicts left behind. Wakefield Press, 1998.


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