• Code 190522-1

Gloucestershire Seventeenth-Century Tokens

Biographical notes on the issuers by †Brian Frith, †Irvine Gray, John Rhodes; Token catalogue by  †John Neufville Taylor, †Robert Thompson and Tim Everson. 2022.  HB A4, 256 pages, illustrated in colour, tokens photos all enlarged x 1.5.  ISBN 978-1-908715-19-7.  New.  Now available.

Between 1650 and 1672, to satisfy a need for small change, 281 varieties of copper farthing or halfpenny tokens were issued in Gloucestershire (except Bristol) by 168 traders, four towns and the city of Gloucester. In this book every such issue is described and illustrated, and multiple issues from the same issuer are distinguished by die-pairings. It radically supersedes Williamson’s catalogue, used hitherto, in which 40% of issues were slightly misread or attributed to the wrong place.
The biographies of issuers are perhaps more comprehensive than has been attempted for any other county, and are analysed in an introduction. The traders range from mercers to innkeepers, from apothecaries to blacksmiths and from a postmaster to a sea-going trow-man. It was an era when shopkeepers manufactured their own stock or sourced it directly from London, indeed it was in London that they procured their own tokens, many from the celebrated maker David Ramage. A diligent trader could amass a portfolio of bonds, urban properties and country estates; he or she (and some of the best traders were widows) could establish a son as a London merchant, an Oxford graduate or a country squire. Many traders’ premises, especially in Gloucester, are located by modern postal addresses. A documentary appendix gives intimate details such as the 33 kinds of cloth stocked by a Stroud mercer, or the names of 48 borrowers, 17 customers and 27 suppliers who had accounts with a Cirencester clothier.

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