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1790 John Wilkinson Token

1790 John Wilkinson Token

This coin Halfpenny token struck by 18th century industrialist and inventor John Wilkinson, who played a major part in the construction of the famous 'Iron Bridge' in Shropshire.

After 1775 the Royal Mint suspended the striking of copper coins and therefore the need for small change had to be answered by the issue of what are now known as industrial tokens.

As with many tokens struck by industrialists during the chronic coin shortage, this token was probably struck primarily as a means of paying the wages of his employees, in addition to advertisment and self-promotion.

The only face to appear on British coins of the 18th century is that of the monarch, with, of course, the notable exception of John Wilkinson. Wilkinson had his own effigy stamped on his coins, together with the words - JOHN WILKINSON, IRONMASTER.  

Wilkinson’s tokens show on the edges, the places where they would be redeemable: Willey, Snedshill, Bersham and Bradley, at first, and later on, Anglesey, London and Liverpool. 

A variety of these type of tokens would have continued in circulation until 1860 when new and smaller bronze pennies, halfpennies, and farthings were introduced by the Royal Mint and severe penalties were imposed on people using tokens.

Find out more about Wilkinson's Trade Tokens on the Broseley Local History's website

Year: 1790

Ref: 1978/096/010

Theme: Metal Working Industry

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