April 29th 2021.
Upcoming club meetings:
Monday 3rd May – 8pm.
· Subject - This will be another ‘Zoom’ meeting, open to all members. We will be having a talk from Will as well as bringing members up to date with any developments.
John opened the meeting with fourteen people in attendance. The ‘Roadmap’ remains in place at the moment, so there is a possibility of a physical meeting in July – Peter is investigating further with the Church. The meeting would be more of a social thing, no talk arranged and possibly with mince pies and biscuits. It might be possible for dealers to come along, it will depend on the discussion with the Church and the dealers.
We then came to Neil’s talk, ‘Berkshire 17th C Tokens and the River Thames’. This was a trip up the Thames starting at Old Windsor and finishing at Newbury illustrated with picture of each town and several tokens from each, where they exist. Neil began by presenting a map of Berkshire as it was in the 17th C and pointed out all the area lost to Oxford since, for which we got Slough in return. The Thames was a very important mode of transport for goods in the 17th C, much better than the roads used by horse and cart.
Neil then listed the places on the river that issued tokens, ten in total, the top three issuers being Reading (75), Windsor (19) and Wallingford (15).
The first token on show, a halfpenny one, was from ‘Ye Bells’ pub at Oldsey on the Berkshire/Surrey border and it is the only one known for Old Windsor. It illustrated perfectly several of the common features on these tokens. In size, the halfpennies are about the size of a 10p the farthings nearer a 5p. The obverse generally has a pictorial representation connected with the trade the token was issued for, so in this case a picture of bells surrounded by an inscription giving for example, the name of the pub and the landlord and a mullet mint mark. The reverse has the value in the centre with the initials of the landlord and his wife underneath and an inscription giving, for example the location of the business.
Moving next to Windsor we saw a farthing token from an apothecary, William Herenden, with the escallop shell design, familiar to us from our club’s logo, another from George Pennington with a mermaid, probably from the Mermaid Inn, the former name of the Castle Hotel. Neil had a modern replica of the token which was distributed by the hotel. Next was a token with a livery shield design indicating that Hamman Farnhad was probably a baker. For his next token Neil had chosen an unusual one that had a design on both sides, issued by Samuel Banat. The obverse design is known elsewhere in Southwark but no one is certain what the reverse design signifies. Also from Windsor was a token by Francis Hill who was a draper with the design of an arrow, or possibly a crossbow bolt, being a pun on the fact that he sold bolts of cloth. A halfpenny token gave the name of the street (Peascod Street) in New Windsor, unusual outside of London, and another token was for a maulster, with a crossed shovel design and an octagonal shape. Another octagonal token followed, issued for coach hire by Samuel Benet between Windsor and London. Moving on from Windsor, we arrive at Bray. Neil does not have the token for Bray, there is only one. And so we arrive at Maidenhead. Most of the tokens are farthings and have an image of a crowned lady, based on the Mercer’s arms. Next is Cookham, with only one token known, issued by a lady, Martha Spot at the King’s Head , the image on the token being that of Charles II. So just before Reading, we have Sonning, which has two tokens, one by Francis Feilder with an image of a sugar loaf, denoting he was a grocer.
At length we arrive in Reading. Neil presented the tokens in date order. First off was Henry Head, with an image of a plough for the name of his pub, followed by Solomon Barnard, with a curious image of a rabbit. Neil pointed out that most of the farthings were made in London and the likely charge would be 10/- for 960 farthings, so quite a good mark up. William Burley was a milliner and the design is a commonly used one, a fist holding a glove. Henry Whitell has an image of a lady making cheese, Henry Boad an interpretation of the English Coat of Arms, so clearly after the Restoration, for the King’s Arms pub. Joseph Stockwell had a weaver’s shuttle design, Moses Lamb a pair of shears, used for cutting bobbles off cloth to smooth it. Thomas Bye had an image of a meal sack, he being a mealman. Thomas Underwood had an image of a buckle device for holding men’s breeches up, so probably a draper. John Harvie had an image of a pair of scissors, so also in the drapery trade. Alce Gill who ran a bakers, had the Baker’s arms as a device, and was widowed. An unusual heart shaped token was issued by the draper Hugh Champion, with an image from the Draper’s arms. Leaving Reading, we come to Wallingford and another apothecary, Philip Eldred, who had his own coat of arms and another pub, The George, landlord James Anslow, illustrated with a common image of George and the Dragon, one for William Polhampton, with three castles and one for William Eliot with a castle illustration. Getting near to end of our journey, we arrive at Abingdon and another lady issuer, Sarah Pleydell again with the Mercer’s arms.
An interesting one from Thomas Hartwell, with images on both sides for his two establishments, the Lion in Abingdon and the Crown in Ashworth. Next Thomas Geagle at the Bridewell with an image of three clubs. The last Berkshire token in the talk comes from the village of Longworth, issued by Thomas Morris who was a grocer with an image of the Grocer’s arms, the commonest shield in Berkshire. Neil then moved on to Newbury, which although not on the Thames, is still in Berkshire with an example of a town piece, which is the commonest Berkshire token of all, still available for about £5, with a ‘frozen’ date. There are thirteen different types for this token.
In an interesting aside, Neil explained how the sub-editor for Berkshire tokens in the Williamson revision in 1889 of the original 1859 William Boynes token book was a man named Major (Lt. Colonel?) Lowsley RE. Lowsley visited a pub due to be demolished in Reading where they had found a stash of 17th C tokens. He arrived within ten minutes of the start of demolition to avoid the chance of any of the tokens being taken away. He also made his own medal, token value five shillings, which has an image of Hampstead Norreys Church, the image being inverted left to right.
A few years ago Neil had a chance to look at the Town Council minutes from Windsor in the 1650s and he discovered that all of the token issuers were on the council, so clearly influential people of the times. Neil currently has about 160 of the slightly more than 200 known 17th C tokens in Berkshire. The meeting concluded with a discussion of the best reference books for the series and a round of applause to thank Neil for a well researched and presented talk.
In our continuing series of contributed pieces we have two short articles from Graham.
Captain Sir Tom Moore Tribute
The funeral of a man much admired, Captain Sir Tom Moore, took place on 27th February 2021.
The guard of honour was provided by 1st Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment, into which his old Regiment, Duke of Wellington’s, had been merged.
As a numismatic tribute I illustrate an item of ‘trench art,’ from my collection, which was created by a soldier from the ‘Wellington’s.’ The engraving produced perhaps by a man of military bearing, an artisan watchmaker or engineer. Certainly, he would have served in the front line during the Second Boer War.
The coin used was a South African Republic two shillings from 1892-7. The Obverse portrait of Paul Kruger, facing left, has been given an added hat and a pipe. The Reverse design was worn away to provide a blank flan on which to create a work of art. A depiction of a Wellington boot in the centre of a star. The lettering reads: SOUTH AFRICA / 1899 / 1902 / DUKE / WELLINGTON/ REGT
The engraving was quite worn telling us it must have been much admired.
“I must have one of those!”
It started of very well. On a visit to Mr Rose of Thames valley Coins in Reading I examined the array of coins laid out on his table and spotted among them a face I knew well, Rev. John Wesley. So began this Methodist local preacher’s the hunt for the medallions of Methodism and the corresponding research. It did not mean neglecting the acquiring of the usual modern British coins by date, especially as I had an excellent opportunity as a bank cashier.
As time went on, and my pay increased (slowly), I discovered first hand that not all coin collections are put together in a systematic fashion. In my case, I would often come across something unusual with the response “I must have one of those!” The evidence remains with trays of ‘odds and ends’ that don’t seem to fit anywhere within the main collecting themes.
There was a case in point the other day. I was reading ‘A Pocket Encyclopaedia,’ entitled ‘World History’ (Sandcastle Books 2008) in an endeavour to learn more middle ages and European history. In it I came across an illustration which brought forth the cry, “I must have one of those!” For two reasons, the image and the story.
Sad to say, on visiting Wikipedia I learnt there were but two examples known, another illustration that we do not always succeed in our numismatic quests. Further detail was provided. A Russian beard token from 1705 was carried to indicate that the owner had paid the beard tax imposed by Peter the Great.
At least during lock-down we have not been taxed for our surplus hair, facial or otherwise!
· 10 years ago – Stuart Adams gave a talk on ‘London Wholesale Markets, their Tallies and Tokens’
· 20 years ago – Michael Gouby give a substitute talk on ‘Cartwheel Coins’
· 50 years ago – Mr. B.H. Grove spoke about ‘Roman Coins and their Relation to History’