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17th-Century Farthing Trade Tokens

The Sussex tokens are a series which possess considerable interest and importance. In appearance they present no very special feature; most are of the ordinary shape, two only being heart-shaped and one octagonal. In devices but few present arms or crests of private individuals, and very many the ordinary trade arms and signs. Speaking typws occur in tokens of Horsham, Uckfield and chichester, in which a heart, a swan, and a hart are the punning devices.

In some instances the spelling of the place-name is in a local phonetic form, as at Arundell, and by this we are enabled to verify change in village pronunciation. Many of the tokens were issued from places which are now small and insignificant villages; but in one noticeable instance, that of Brighton, the relative importance of the village in 1668, to the magnificent watering-place of 1890, affords remarkable evidence of the rapid growth and increasing importance of a town which, but a short while since, was a mere fishing village.

Eastbourne is another similar instance, analogous, perhaps to the growth of Clapham in Surrey. These places in the seventeenth century issued their one or two tokens only, but have grown to gigantic proportions, whilst places which issued many tokens in the early days have from various reasons dwindled down to mere villages. The thirty-three tokens of Chichester, eleven of Midhurst, and ten of Petworth, may be referred to as illustrative of these remarks. the persistence of local names, is, however, one of the main features of this series; and, from the valuable notes appended to the tokens, much important information on Sussex families and village life will be obtained. Nearly fifty tokeners announce the fact of their residence(?) in the county upon their tokens. This is the largest proportion in any county of the United Kingdom of tokens bearing the(?) county name, and it reveals that love of their home that still distinguishes Sussex men. The attribution of two of the Eastbourne tokens is somewhat doubtful, but the fact of their having been found in the near neighbourhood is somewhat strong evidence for(?) their removal from Lincolnshire and attribution to Sussex. The token of Peeter Sqvier, of Steining, No. 164 (167?), would suggest the position(?) of hereditary chemical knowledge in that family. The evidence of both name and trade is very remarkable.

The leading authority on Sussex archaeology, Mr. Frederick Sawyer, [?].A. has, with very great kindness, provided the notes to this [?]. No person is more qualified than Mr. Sawyer to speak with authority on the antiquities of Sussex, and very much time has been devoted by him to searching out information respecting the issuers of the tokens. Reference has also been made to a privately printed pamphlet on Sussex tokens by Mr. James Lowe-Warren (1888), and to the collections of the Sussex Archaelogical Society. Notes to which the word "Warren" or the letters S.A.C. are attached are taken from these latter sources. The Editor tenders his warmest thanks to Mr. Sawyer for his most able and valuable assistance, and also expresses his indebtedness to the other sources to which he has alluded.

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