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Bradford on Avon Tradesmen’s Tokens

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Paul Methuen token

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The failure of government to issue coins of small denominations in the mid 17th century meant that by the 1650s there was a desparate shortage halfpennies and farthings. To make up for the deficiency local tradesmen all over England turned to issuing their own. It was not until 1672 that Charles II’s treasury began issuing small change and the local tokens were no longer needed.

New Inn, Holt token

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During the French Wars, from the 1790s to 1815, another lack of small coinage occurred. Between 1807 and 1821 no official copper coins were struck, causing major problems. For a period of 4 years, between 1811 and 1815, numerous factories, tradespeople, publicans and even workhouses issued tokens.