Online Encyclopedia of Silver Marks, Hallmarks & Makers' Marks
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British Silver Tokens

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British Private Coinage
by Trevor Downes
A shortage of quality coinage had been prevalent in Great Britain since about 1760. The cause was two-fold; the Royal Mint had become antiquated and unable to produce coins of trusted quality and this made life easy for both counterfeiters and shavers, therefore fake and clipped coins were commonplace. At the same time, the beginnings of the industrial revolution caused people to migrate to the cities to work in the new factories and mills, new shops opened to service this influx - creating even more jobs and a great deal of coinage became necessary to pay the new populations of wage earners.

To remedy the situation, the Soho Mint in Birmingham was opened by Matthew Boulton in 1778, his production standards were higher than anyone had ever seen and quality tokens were manufactered for hundreds of firms desperate for coins. In 1798 the Government invited Boulton to re-equip the Royal Mint, but the work was left incomplete at his death in 1809.

Silver tokens like those shown below, produced for the York silversmiths Cattle and Barber in 1811, were short-lived due to some firms failing to redeem this private coinage, as well as a new surge in counterfeiting and issues that were below sterling standard. Privately minted coinage was made illegal by the Government in 1814.
Barber & Cattle Shilling

obverse


reverse

Barber & Cattle Sixpence

obverse


reverse


Related Pages at 925-1000.com:

British Hallmarks Explained
London Date Letters & Maker's Marks
Birmingham Date Letters & Maker's Marks
Chester Date Letters & Maker's Marks
Exeter Date Letters & Maker's Marks
Newcastle Date Letters & Maker's Marks
Sheffield Date Letters & Maker's Marks
York Date Letters & Maker's Marks
Edinburgh Date Letters & Maker's Marks
Glasgow Date Letters
Dublin Date Letters
British Import Marks

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