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Willenhall Rushbrooke Farthing

Willenhall Rushbrooke Farthing

Rushbrooke's was a family tea and grocery establishment in Willenhall, run by Joshua Rushbrooke who was a grocer, baker and confectioner.

When this token/ coin was made, in 1844, there was a shortage of coins at the time and the issue of tokens was fairly common. 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 employees and in addition to advertisment. These tokens were used in lieu of real money or to tie people into certain commercial establishments.

Rushbrooke issued these farthings in change to their customers or to pay employees, so that they could spend the money back in the Rushbrooke's shop. 

Willenhall is world renowned for it's lock manufacturing, the Willenhall community were very proud of this fact. This is shown on this token's reverse as Rushbrooke has ensured the tokens were carved with a padlock, door bolt and curry-comb with the legend:  'LET WILLENHALL FLOURISH'

The farthing tokens were also sold to local traders at the rate of 5 shillings worth of tokens for 4 shillings and ninepence in cash. The tokens continued in circulation until 1860 when new and smaller bronze pennies, halfpennies, and farthings were introduced. At the same time severe penalties were imposed on people using tokens, and so Rushbrooke immediately called-in his tokens, which cost him a considerable amount of money, and melted them down. He managed to sell the copper, and completely recuperate his loss.

Find out more about Rushbrooke's and the farthing tokens on the Wolverhampton & Black Country history website

Find out more about Willenhall's lock heritage at our sister Museum - The Locksmith's House 

Year: 1978

Ref: 1978/096/008

Area: Willenhall

Theme: Domestic and Cultural Life

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