17th-century token sold for twenty times its estimate

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18 November 2020
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A 'probably unique' octagonal 17th-century token from Ludlow, Shropshire sold for twenty times its pre-sale estimate at Dix Noonan Webb recently.

Expected to fetch £100 to £200, the Jeremiah Bright token eventually fetched over £2,000.

Peter Preston-Morley, Head of Coin Department, Dix Noonan Webb, said:

‘Tokens were a currency substitute issued by private individuals, merchants and organisations when governments were not, for various reasons, issuing small change. They are mostly copper, although during the Napoleonic wars silver tokens were also made and circulated. Shropshire material is always very keenly sought after, so it was no surprise that this probably unique token sold very well and was bought by UK private collector.’

The octagonal halfpenny was believed to be previously unpublished, and featured the unusual message ‘sqvare dealing’.

English tokens achieve highest prices

The two highest prices of the sale were for 18th-century tokens from London and Surrey.

The very rare and extremely fine silver London Proof halfpenny from Cornhill, dated from 1795, and had once been in the prestigious Cokayne Collection. It depicted a Bluecoat boy preparing to draw from a lottery wheel and sold for £2,480 against an estimate of £600-800. Due to its rarity and quality, it attracted a lot of interest and was subsequently bought by a US private collector.

Also selling for £2,480 was a Prattent’s mule Penny from Lambeth (Surrey) which showed a man seated on ground gnawing a bone. This extremely fine example, which was bought by a UK private collector, had considerable original colour and had been expected to fetch £800-1,000.


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