Tokens. English. Warwickshire 284 (Scarce). Coventry. Kempson's buildings. 1797

Tokens. English. Warwickshire 284 (Scarce). Coventry. Kempson's buildings. 1797


Æ halfpenny token. 13.02g (28mm, 6h). Angled view of a building; THE BARRACKS above, ERECTED 1794 in exergue / Arms of Coventry, an elephant and castle on a shield, a cat above; THE ARMS OF COVENTRY 1797 around; P. KEMPSON FECIT in small letters beside (Reverse 2). Edge: COVENTRY TOKEN.

Pedigree: From the Baldwin's Vault; date of original purchase unknown

References: Dalton & Hamer 284

Grade: Uncirculated bronze proof  (wc1036)

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By the end of the 1700’s the copper coinage for commerce in England was in a bad state. Coins for everyday purchases were in poor condition and counterfeits ran amok. This led to an ingenious innovation by the public. Tokens of similar size and quality were produced by merchants and private citizens and distributed as good currency for commerce. Over time there were so many tokens produced that finding one minted by the government was unlikely. The demand far exceeded the supply as people also began to collect them. Finally in 1797 the government intervened and produced the copper two penny and one penny pieces.

Many people know these tokens as “Condor” tokens. This was because a man named James Condor of Ipswich published an arrangement of the tokens in 1798, just one year after the introduction of the new government issues. There are thousands of tokens out there and the fun in collecting all of them would be a lifelong project.