Almost 500 lots of British Tokens spanning 300 years and covering all corners of the UK from the Collection of John Rose will be offered in a live/online auction by International coins, medals, banknotes and jewellery specialists Dix Noonan Webb
on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.
As Peter Preston-Morley, Specialist and Associate Director, Dix Noonan Webb, explains: John Rose, a familiar figure in the British token collecting fraternity for many years, first developed an interest in coins as a boy. One day in 1969, going through the trays of coins at Aladdins Cave, a shop in South Croydon, he found some tokens, including an example of the 1649 farthing issued at The Ship Inn, on the north corner of Lincolns Inn, London, his local pub when he first started work as a laboratory technician at the Royal College of Surgeons. This group is estimated to fetch £150-200.
The Rose Collection is broad in its scope, but understandably London-centric and particularly so for the 17th century series, which has remained his chief focus throughout his collecting years. Many important pieces are included, and one instance is a very recent purchase, a farthing of Richard Winsper from Lincolns Inn Gate (est: £200-300). The 18th century element of the collection also includes some major rarities, notably a highly elusive Godington hop token (est: £150-200) and several silver proofs. From the 19th century there is a superb example of John Robertsons Newcastle-upon-Tyne halfcrown (est: £400-500), and a rare Chinaman halfcrown of Edward Wright of Birmingham (est: £600-800).
The collection includes many wonderfully shaped tokens ranging from hearts to squares as well as many other shapes. As Mr Preston-Morley explains: Heart-shaped tokens and square-shaped ones were made that way to distinguish them easily from circular ones, most people who used them in the 17th century were not literate and looked at the signs on the tokens rather than the wording a marketing ploy, if you like!
Other notable examples, which are illustrated above, include an extremely fine and rare 18th Century Lambeth token, that was made for collectors of the day, and bears the motto I promise to pay on demand the bearer one penny. It is estimated at £800-£1,000. A very fine and rare 18th Century example from Sunderland showing a view of an iron bridge with two vessels passing underneath is estimated at £500-£700. Other interesting items include from London; a very rare 17th Century Token of Newgate Within Prison, dating from 1669 (est: £300-£500) and from Clerkenwell, and 18th century token depicting a man standing with wooden leg, stating Mr Joseph Askins - the celebrated ventriloquist 1796, which is estimated at £300-£400.