Archaeological Numismatist

Tag: tokens

Money from Machynlleth: new publication for July 2022

Lately I’ve been busy traversing the complex world of ‘small change’ in 19th-century Britain, so I’m delighted to share news of an article I’ve had published in the latest Token Corresponding Society Bulletin.

This article reports on a previously-unnoticed hoard found during repairs at Parliament House (Senedd-dŷ), Machynlleth, in 1909. Buried in the mid- to late 1810s, the hoard contained 14 copper coins and tokens, and almost certainly represents the contents of a small change purse hidden or lost when the building was used as a granary and ‘miserable dwelling-house’ in the Regency era.

Parliament House (Senedd-dŷ), Machynlleth, in c.1816 (public domain)

The hoard offers a fascinating glimpse of the state of the currency in everyday circulation: a mix of genuine and counterfeit Georgian halfpence,  new and old private tokens from Glamorgan and Worcester, and even a far-flung copper struck for the Canadian Provinces. The distance that these objects travelled before their deposition illustrates the remarkable growth of inter-regional economic integration during the Industrial Revolution, pursued across thousands of miles of new turnpike roads and canals.

So why not have a look? To purchase a copy, get in touch with the Token Corresponding Society.

For a full list of my publications to date, check out the ‘Publications’ page on this website.

Tokens of ‘E. Brewer Claines’: new article for December 2021

Father Coinmas has come early this year, and he has brought his nichest gift yet – a brand new article on the tokens of ‘E. Brewer Claines’ in the Bulletin of the Token Corresponding Society.

Token of E. Brewer of Claines (Image © Murray Andrews)

These tokens turn up pretty often on the coin trade – so frequently, in fact, that nearly 750 of the things were sold in a single lot just a couple of years ago. But despite this, there’s never really been any research into who ‘E. Brewer’ was, and when and why they had these tokens made. My article identifies ‘E. Brewer’ as Edwin Tomes Brewer (1872-1936), an Evesham-born greengrocer and market gardener, and suggests that they were used as tallies to monitor piece-work out in his fields.

So if you fancy a dive into the world of tokens and tallies in early 20th-century England, why not give it a read? To purchase a copy, get in touch with the Society via their website.

For a full list of my publications to date, check out the ‘Publications’ page on this website.

Looking back, looking forward: 2020 in focus

It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a difficult and unusual year for the heritage sector. In the face of an ongoing pandemic, we’ve all had to find new ways of delivering high-quality work while remaining safe and healthy. Fortunately, heritage professionals are an adaptable and resilient bunch, and much work has continued under new conditions. Unfortunately, however, some activities and projects have had to be postponed until conditions improve.

In times like these, it’s important to celebrate the successes we make. So, in this spirit, I want to take a few minutes to reflect on this year’s achievements, and to look forward to new prospects in 2021.

roman republican coin
Janus Bifrons on a Republican as: one head looks back, the other looks forward.
Celebrating achievements in 2020

During 2020 I have worked on some fascinating projects with a range of professional clients and partners. Much of this work has involved the identification and analysis of coins found during development-led archaeological fieldwork: everything from Roman coins from East Yorkshire, to 18th-century tokens from Greater London. For other projects, however, I have turned my attention to material in museum collections. In December, for example, I started working on a new project with Museums Worcestershire, unlocking stories of empire and slavery hidden within their numismatic collections. It has been a great privilege to work on such a diverse body of material from all over!

Archaeology and numismatics both depend on a regular supply of new information and knowledge. For this reason, I’m pleased to have produced a number of new research publications in 2020. Among other things, these have included studies of antiquarian coin finds from London, Shropshire, and Worcestershire, significant new excavation coins from Saxon Lundenwic, and a round-up of recent medieval and post-medieval coin hoards reported through the Treasure Act 1996. Back in September I also had the pleasure of sharing some of my research into coin hoards with the wider public, making a video presentation for the online Festival of Coins.

Finally, I was deeply honoured to receive the British Numismatic Society’s Blunt Prize, in recognition of my ‘considerable output, energy and commitment to British numismatics’. Many thanks to the Society for this wonderful accolade.

What’s coming in 2021?

I look forward to sharing some exciting new work in 2021. On the publication front, I have some important articles and book chapters in the pipeline: these include an extended study of coin hoards from medieval settlements, which will soon appear in the Journal of Archaeological Numismatics, plus a review of some forgotten Tudor gold hoards for the next British Numismatic Journal. On top of these, I have several reports on excavation coins due out over the next 12 months. Plenty of stuff to wet your numismatic whistle – do check the ‘News‘ page for further details.

For those of you of a West Midlands bent, I also have some speaking engagements lined up. On 8 February I will be presenting a lecture to the Worcestershire Archaeological Society, exploring the contribution of coin finds to the study of Roman military activity. Not long after, I’ll be giving a bite-size talk at Worcester City Museum and Art Gallery on the rise and fall of  Atlantic slavery, as seen through coins, tokens, and medals in their collection. Given the current circumstances, both will be virtual presentations streamed online. More details will be circulated closer to the time.

As ever, I look forward to providing high-quality, cost-effective archaeological and numismatic services for interested clients. In 2020 I have completed projects for a range of commercial units, community groups, and museums, and I am excited to continue this work in 2021. So, if you have any project enquiries – small or large, near or far – be sure to get in touch

Many thanks to all the clients, colleagues, and friends that I’ve worked with during this unusual year, and best wishes to all for a happy 2021!

© 2024 Dr Murray Andrews

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