17th-Century Farthing Trade Tokens
The Editor has in this country also to bewail the loss of assistance which he had hoped to have received. A correspondent
who had commenced to collate the tokens of the county, and had done good work at the Bodleian, was suddenly called to
Africa, and in the hurry of departure the manuscript, with the collation and notes, disappeared.
The entire work has occupied so many years in compilation, that the Editor cannot venture to keep his subscribers waiting longer, and is therefore, with much regret, obliged to leave noting this county as a heritage for future collectors. He has found very few collectors much interested in Oxforshire coinage, and repeated letters in the various county journals have elicted no response. The collation will, he trusts, be found accurate; and he believes the list newly made includes all the known tokens of the county.
The special feature of the series is the presence of unusual merchant-marks upon several of the tokens. The two Witney issuers were probably concerned in the staple trade of the place, that of wool and blankets, and the woolpack, associated with special trademarks for denoting their own goods, appears on the tokens. Trademarks also appear on tokens of Oxford, Henley, and Burford. A token of Thomas Appleby, of Oxford, affords us a mystery, the strange words "Mallia Cadreene" are a crux to all token-collectors, and the mystery still awaits solution at the hand of some local investigator. The issuer was evidently a man of some note, who bears proudly on his tokens his family achievement.
There are town-pieces struck at Burford, Henley-on-Thams, and Oxford, and those of the two former places are deciddly makrs of some merit above the average character. North Leigh gives us a token issued jointly by William and Ann Mason, probably partners as well in trade as in home life.
Two tokens of Bicester, clearly designed by the same artist, are heart-shaped, and a token of Chipping Norton, and the one of Barford, are of the same unusual and interesting shape.
In Oxford itself we have tokens issued at the Pestle and Mortar, the Cock, the Gilt Looking-Glass, the Bush, the Sugar-loaf, the Basket and Ball, the Three Kings, the Three Salmons, the Fox and Goose, the Mermaid, the Three Blackbirds, the Golden Key, the Crown, the Salmon, the Angel, the Bird and Hand, and the Spectacles, all these signs, which form a goodly list, being specifically named; while many others are implied by device. There is a peculiarity of the Oxford tokens which gives them a family relationship in design, and may betray the hand of a common designer, and that is the presence on so many of the name of the issuer's trade.
We find tokens issued by the following trades: Chandler, watchmaker, cutler, milliner, vintner, mercer, brewer, baker, glover, rugmaker, clockmaker, hosier, fishmonger, apothecary, goldsmith, skinner, ironmonger, draper and clothier, hatter, and silk-weaver--milliners especially occuring frequently.a It is decidely uncommon to have the trades so emphatically mentioned as they are on these of Oxford, and the fact is an important feature of the series. We find reference made on the tokens to the North Gate and the Turle Gate, and to the East Gate. One issuer gives the Tennis Court as his place of residence; but the only mention of the colleges is on No. 167, where Lawrence Short tells us he lived "neare New Colledge."
Four of the issuers in Oxford were women, Ann Turton, Ann Pierson, Alice Lant, Olive Hind issuing tokens.
The two tokens of Dunstew are very interesting, as their issuer was a carrier, a trade very rarely mentioned on tokens. This man, Thomas Barrett, issued his two tokens--halfpenny and farthing--and delineates his basket-pannier on the tokens. There are many guild arms represented in this county, those of the apothecaries, fruiterers, mercers, pewterers, grocers, drapers, weavers, bakers, barbers, surgeons, leathersellers, vintners, goldsmiths, tallowchandlers, upholsterers, cordwainers, turners, ironmongers, brewers, and clothworkers, the pewterers and turners being of rare occurrence.
A token of Chipping Norton, and another of Henley-on-Thames, bear the arms of the City of Oxford, but whether out of compliment to Oxford, or as denoting any affiliation of corporate existence, is not very clear. The circumstance itself merits recognition.
Punning devices occur on the tokens of Fawler in Chipping Norton, as he bears a falcon volant; also of Groves, with the device of a wild man in a grove.
The places issuing tokens have been increased in this county by four not named by Boyne, i.e., Dorchester, Ewelme, Stokenchurch, and Shipton-under-Witchwood; while forty new tokens or varieties have been added.
The City of Oxford boasts of an unusually larege number of tokens for one place, its record being 188.
The series, as a whole, awaits more adequate treatment at the hands of some county collector.
The gold token of Thame occupies an unique position in the whole series of tokens of the seventeenth century. It is the only instance of an issuer going to the expense of striking a proof of his token in gold. It is mentioned in the "History of the Church of St. Mary, Thame," by the Rev. F. G. Lee, of All Saints', Lambeth (1883), and had been seen by Mr. Lee when in Mr. Lupton's possession. It is not known where it is at present.
© 2007-2017 BritishFarthings