AAA Historical Americana - World Exonumia.


'Tokens of the Industrial Revolution - Foreign Silver Coins Countermarked for use in Great Britain, c.1787-1828', Manville, 308 pages, illustrations in the text, 55 plates. Casebound, jacket.

"During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries a severe shortage of silver coins hampered trade in Great Britain-just at the time when manufacturing developments required increasing amounts of coin to pay factory workers in the new industries. The need was particularly great in cotton-spinning which depended upon iron-smelting for its machinery, and which in turn, depended upon coal-mining for its power source. Throughout a forty-year period in the late 18th and early 19th centuries the lack of
silver coin was partially met in these and other industries by countermarking foreign coins, chiefly Spanish dollars from the New World mines which were available, in millions, from capture and trade. Most of these tokens were stamped with a valuation slightly above their bullion value so that the coins could circulate and not be tossed into a melting pot. This innovation was particularly prevalent in Scotland, much less so in England-where the Bank of England tried extensive issues in 1797 and 1804 that failed under the massive weight of counterfeiting-and hardly at all in Ireland.

Many Scottish countermarking firms clustered in and around the industrial cities of Glasgow, Paisley and the shipping centre of Greenock, although tradesmen as far afield as Tobermory on the Isle of Mull and the famous Lanark Mills at New Lanark also issued countermarked tokens on foreign silver coins. The few English countermarked issues were widely scattered from Northumberland and Lancashire to the Midlands. The two known Irish countermarks were issued from near Belfast and in Co. Kilkenny in the south. Even after the practice was specifically forbidden by several Acts of Parliament it continued virtually unabated until sufficient regal coins of the new Coinage (1816-1820) became widely available.

The extant numbers of individual token types varies greatly. Many are known by just one or two surviving examples. This fact, as well as published references to issues not known today, suggest that many others may not have survived, and are lost to history. The British Museum have the largest
number of different types, and the National Museums of Scotland, Birmingham City Museum & Art Gallery and the American Numismatic Society in New York, also have major holdings. Other specimens are scattered throughout provincial and world museums and private collections. Fewer than a thousand
specimens are recorded, although an exact figure is illusive due to overlapping pedigrees of the more common types. Several unique specimens disappeared when an important collection was stolen and presumably melted for bullion shortly after the First World War.

The present volume outlines the historical, economic and social background of each city, town or even village which issued these countermarked tokens and attempts a corpus of all known examples.

$70.00 plus postage.

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Rich Hartzog
AAA Historical Americana -- World Exonumia
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