22 Mar 2020

Leper Colony Tokens

Tokens | Mr_Norris_LKNS

Ten years ago I was spending a lot of time searching through the "junk box" at my local coin shop. I had not been married too many years, had a mortgage, had two kids in school, and didn't have much money to spend on hobbies; so I was looking for items to enjoy at prices that wouldn't cause trouble with our household budget. World coins and currency, tokens, and "junk box" finds can provide a lot of enjoyment for little cost. I learned a lot about world history, geography, international trade, and international monetary systems through poking around a "junk box" for items I didn't recognize.I came across what I thought was a coin in the foreign coin box. It was denominated in centavos and had the word "lazareto" on it. It was nowhere near mint state, but it wasn't in bad condition either. I bought it with several other foreign coins and took it home to look it up.What I discovered later was that it wasn't really a coin in the strictest sense of the word, but rather a token: a coin-like object used to facilitate a restricted form of exchange or commerce. It was spent and accepted like money, but only had transactional value within certain establishments or between certain people; it was not universally used for all debts within the jurisdiction of the issuing governing body. In fact, few people outside of this token's intended circulation would want to even touch it. The token turned out to be a leper colony coin.If you don't know more than the average person about leprosy (and at the time I did not), your first reaction might be, "What have I just touched!?" Leprosy is an ancient disease. Leprosy caused bumps to appear under the skin; patches of skin turned a deathly whitish color. Hands would lose feeling and movement, and fingers would shorten, making hands look claw-like. Leprosy also affected the feet, causing the sufferer to walk stiffly and shuffle, like an old-time movie monster. The nasal membranes would be affected, making it hard to breathe through the nose, or causing nosebleeds or even disfigurement. Due to the loss of feeling, cuts and burns would go unnoticed, which would then get infected, causing awful-looking wounds and potentially gangrene, sepsis, and death. For much of history there was no known cure and little known to treat the symptoms. An advanced case of leprosy was horrible to the sufferer, and unsettling to those around.Leprosy has been socially stigmatized at least since Biblical times. Some saw the disease as a curse from God, possibly for some evil you or your parents had committed. As medical science advanced and people began learning how diseases were spread, people feared catching leprosy from an affected person. Whether people feared being cursed by association, catching the disease through proximity, or simply witnessing its awful effects, ancient (and not so ancient) societies did not want to be around anyone suffering from leprosy. People with the disease were cast out of society and isolated. Laws were enacted to keep lepers from coming close to people who didn't have the disease. Yet, leprosy sufferers often lived quite awhile, and would need care and community. Therefore, as social outcasts with a common plight, they would often band together and form their own separate communities... and in more modern times, governments would often enforce such an arrangement by creating a separate space for them... what would become known as a "leper colony". As with most societies, commerce would form, and a means of facilitating commerce would become necessary. In the case of colonies formed by governments to control the interactions of lepers with the rest of society, special currency for these colonies was created and issued."Leper colony money" served more than one purpose. For those confined to the colony, it provided an ability to conduct commerce within the colony. People would have jobs, for which they would be paid. They could purchase things they needed without having to barter. Having money to spend would lend some sort of feeling of normalcy. However, it also made escaping more difficult. A sufferer might decide to sneak out of the colony... but with no money that would be acceptable outside the colony's walls, it would be hard to get very far. One could send money to family outside the colony, but only by exchanging leper colony money for local currency through the colony's administration. I'm sure this was often less than useless, as a corrupt administrator could simply pocket the local currency.As science made further advances, the cause of leprosy was isolated to a slow-growing bacterial infection. In the mid-20th century, a cure for leprosy (now known as "Hansen's Disease") was discovered. The Center for Disease Control states that although it is thought that leprosy can spread through aerosolized respiratory droplets (i.e. coughing and sneezing), it is not as successfully contagious as viral diseases such as the flu: "Prolonged, close contact with someone with untreated leprosy over many months is neededto catch the disease." The disease has not been totally eradicated, but it is rare. Even so, 180,000 cases exist worldwide annually, 100 of which are in the United States. No transmissions of leprosy have ever been known to occur through handling of coins or currency used by sufferers of the disease. In spite of this, some people are wary of these numismatic items. Once a cure and treatment became widespread, the need for leper colony money disappeared. Like so many other items of currency that were no longer required, many of the coins and notes were destroyed. Having come from a limited production run in the first place, the destruction of large quantities of these items increases their rarity. Some, like the "lazareto" type I found, are more common, while others are extremely rare. Collector value is driven primarily by market, however; a leper colony token is only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. Stigma and paranoia regarding leprosy has contributed to keeping the market cool for these items.For more information on leper colony money, please see this February 13, 2018 article from Atlas Obscura, which includes some information obtained from the ANA's Money Museum Curator Douglas Mudd.I have no photos of the coin I found, but to see an example, click here.

27 Jan 2020

The Token That Has Music Middlesex D&H 302

Tokens | Mike B

Hi everyone. Well I have allot of Tokens. Trade private, political all sorts. When I saw this one I was curious. Now I wanted it for many years. So I tried to see if the notes were real or just a bunch of notes. To my surprise the music coincides with a song most of the old timers knew and middle age. I don't know what there teaching in school anymore but it's called God Save The King. Now it's not on the top ten but the music goes to a song we used to sing sometimes in school . It's the music to My Country Tis of Thee. Remember that . It's very patriotic. We want it every day in class. The Token is 30 mm 14-8 grams. It says God Save The King. Below it there is a crown all encircled by the notes to God Save The King. It was done by William Forster. It says on the reverses Wm Forster Violin Tenor, and Violincello maker No 348 Strand London. Strand London was a stretch of stores that made these wonderful instruments. If you ever get a chance to go to a quartet go. It's some of the most beautiful music you can hear. You can put your head back and close your eyes. I use to go when I could. I will start once again. Now I put a bid on it to my surprise many showed up. It's not rare or scarce. It shows you these tokens will surprise you all the time. I looked at it again on the reverses it was the shield of King George The III. I wonder how many picked that up. Well I paid a reasonable price. And I was glad I did. I had seen it in the books but now I could own it. I did. I started to do the research and never figured that those notes were the real thing. England is very good at adapting. When the King died and a Woman took the Throne naturally it was changed to God Save The Queen. This is just another reason I love these tokens. A sorry for everyone. Maybe we can change the words to God Save The ANA. Hope you enjoyed reading this as enjoyed writing it. Enjoy. Mike.

25 Jan 2020


Tokens | Longstrider

My next blog has been known to cause controversy in other venues, i.e. NGC blogs. Not only controversy but some people get downright angry. Let’s see how it goes here. Below you will see my example of a Dan Carr Token. This particular specimen is a 1917 Peace Dollar with the original design from artist/sculptor Anthony De Francisci. It is in the original high relief as well as the “broken sword” reverse. There are a couple of facts that I need to discuss now.

16 Jan 2020

The Soho Mint And Matthew Boulten

Tokens | Mike B

Hi everyone. Last week I wrote a blog on a very great token of a very important man in the history of the reign of King Henry the VIII. One of my favorites. Not really. Now.I figured I would write a blog on the famous Soho mint. Little did I know this went on for page after page covering all aspects of the mint. It has tremendous history. The Soho mint was officially opened in 1788. It was designed by Matthew Boultin. He had asked permission of King George the III . He was granted an opening ten years later in 1788. It's were these pieces of art in copper were made.. It's located in Handsworth West Midlands England. It has eight steam powered presses that would make 70 to 84 per hour. Big difference from today.. Now the presses were patented by Boultin himself.. In one of the pictures you can see the tokens or coins falling into the basket. Now before we go any further he did make coins for England. Spain and the people of the French revolution. He had the best die makers Britain had to offer. The token on the bottom of the mint was done by Peter Kempson.one of the many great die makers of his time.I can't list them all just to many. They made coins for the colonies as well Now with all kinds counterfeiting came in as a problem. Britain took up a great fight against this as did George the III. In one of the photos you can see Soho by the red line. Not very well but it's there. He used weights to capture these people and it worked. The counterfeiting was rampant during the the 1770 before the mentioned opened up. If you were caught you died that simple. In 1771 a woman was caught. She was hung outside the Newgate Prison another great token. After she was hung she was burned at the stake. Might be a good idea today.Well it's a small world. When I first started collecting these I was directed to one Bill Mckivor. This man studied them and would go to Britain to buy them. He has sold thousands. . Saw a token I liked he said send a check to me. Well a few days later I received my token. I didn't mail the check yet. He said don't worry I know I will get it . He helped me allot about these tokens. What I didn't know he was a very good friend of Richard G. Dick Doty . Senior Numismatic Curator at the Smithsonian institution. He passed away on the second of June2013. He also loved the tokens

10 Jan 2020

Cardinal Thomas Worsley D&H 10. One Penny

Tokens | Mike B

Who Was Cardinal Thomas Worsley? Well he was a very educated man. He received his degree at Oxford in 1530 at the age of 15.. Now this is not a repost. It's been a while I think it fell off. And we have new members. This is a Conder Token of the Cardinal. Some of you have heard about him in the T.V. series The Tudors . First don't believe everything you see in the movies. Remember that. He was Archbishop of York, and Chancellor of England to King Henry the VIII. One of my favorites. Not really. Worsley held many titles. He built many beautiful homes and castles. He was born in Ipswich in 1473.. His claim to fame was the Chancellor simply because he had the ear of Henry and he basically ruled England. King Henry and Worsley were the best of friends. Did he take a few pounds for himself.? What Chancellor didn't but one. Saint Thomas Moore. Also best of friends with the King. For that he had his head cut off. Not really he would not join the Church of England. King Henry's church. He had many riches land many homes. Now I said don't believe what you see in the movies or T.V. shows. In the Tudors King Henry turns against Worsley. Has him out in the tower of London and commits suicide. Far from the truth. Yes he was arrested because he did not get the divorce for his King. The Pope turned him down. Worsley argued that if the Pope granted this England would remain Catholic.. The Pope has grandfather them before. On his journey to hear his charges he came down with dysentery and passed on in Leicester at the age of 57. The British are known for their record keeping. He was surrounded by his supporters at his death and spoke his final words"I see the matter against me how it is framed.But if I had served God so diligently as I have the King maybe he would not have given me the gray hairs". Then he passed. He was accused of everything but never convicted of anything. The Mint cried at the news of his death.. He was born in Ipswich the same town as Conder the man who started cataloguing these wonderful tokens. So in this day and age instead of making movies of non fiction than fiction they distort history.. Now the light was working when I received it and you can see we have one now without the lamp.I wanted you to see the token as it is today red brown and still looks like the raw token. And in the light you can see the great detail. As a matter of fact Conder had a statue of him made. The reverse shows Worsly's gate at Ipswich. The gate was built in his memory and to protect the city. Now I haven't done a blog on Conder tokens for a long time. Once in a while I will post a blog on some you may like. Thanks.Mike

31 Jul 2019

1793 North Wales Farthing D&H 15a

Tokens | Mike B

Hi everyone. Well I haven't done a token in a while so I went to my blog book I pre write them and found this simple but very important token. Now it's a half penny made by the Royal mint. That's right a token made by the Royal mint. Not Soho but in England at the big mint. Why would they do that.? Well in about 1791 and 1792 Britain realized they were running very low on these tokens. Then people used them constantily. Now if they were made any were made anywhere else they would get only sixty an hour. Certainly not enough to keep up with demand.. That's why the Royal Mint made them. Now if they were going to make these they wanted a good die sinker and designer. It didn't take long to chose Peter Kempson. One of the many masters of this type of coinage.. I believe with no disrespect to the others he was the best without doubt. So he was called to make this token and one for South wales.. So he put the Prince of Wales on the obverse who would become George the IV. The reverse depicts the crest of the office of Prince of Wales. Then he did something to this token that was different. He raised different points in the token . Not a lot but a very slight dot changed the texture of it. Given it a wonderful feel and a terrific look. Only Peter Kempson would do this. Now there are thousands of different tokens is it possible someone else did this also? Of course. Now it weighs 3.6 gr and is 21.6 mm. To me the perfect size to carry. It was accepted at once by the people. I looked for mintage but could not find them. Those measurements are mine. When I can't find it I use my tools to get them. Now this is not a long blog but an important one no less. To think they were running out of pennies it immediately hit the economy and it picked it l up. Yes this Farthing made a differance. . Now we talk a value I know it's important to most of you. In a MS condition depending on the condition believe me when I say you will make your money back. I never use dollars when I write about these. I have seen most of them and they wouldn't make an A/U. More like an XF. I think Kempson did a great job and this small token has an impact on a country's economy. I hope you enjoyed this. Thanks dor.reading. Pat.

05 Jul 2019

Soho Mint Token

Tokens | World_Coin_Nut

Matthew Bolton was a general manufacturer in Birmingham. In 1762 he bought and rebuilt some works at Soho on the outskirts of the town, with a Mr. Fothergill as a partner. In 1767 he became acquainted with James Watt who settled at Soho in 1769, and a little later became a partner in the firm of Boulton and Watt. In 1773 Boulton added an Assay office to his ordinary business. The works were enlarged, and a coining mill was erected in 1788. This became the Soho Mint, producing many remarkable coins until 1850 when it was dismantled and the machinery sold to Ralph Heaton and Sons of Birmingham who was engaged in striking money.

05 Jul 2019

Hard Times Tokens 1832-1844. Enlarge Pictures!!

Tokens | Mike B

Well it's nice to be back. Years ago I came across a token I never saw before. It was called a Hard Times Token. I liked it. It seemed to be political and made before the civil war. It was a low grade but we buy what we like. I said someday I might find a real nice one. That happened at Davidson's auction. I saw my token and it looked real good. So I placed a bid. Clicked on the token and read about it. It was a MS 64 RB and down in the left corner it said Newman! It also said special holder. That I did not know. It was Newman's special label. So i said I like it. And won the auction. The Hard Times Tokens were very political and loaded with satire. They were privately made. The label at the bottom L18- 32 deals with Jackson and his Vice President Martin Van Buren. It seems that Jackson wanted to close the the Bank of the U.S. On 8/15/1836 he wrote a paper stating that Banks and people who received public money for public lands would have to take silver and gold. The banks started printing dollars and printing. This failed terribly.Banks failed and Business closed. We were in turmoil and headed for our first depression. So what we did was make these Hard Time Tokens. This token is called the Executive Experiment it is rated one of the top one hundred medals and tokens. It also says on the obverse Fiscal Agent.. The date 1837and has a turtle. walking very slowly indicating the economy. It also has a box on top that said SUB Treasury. Jackson's idea was being torn apart. The reverse states Illustrious I follow in The Steps of My Predecessor. How bad can this get. Now these tokens were searched out and cataloged by Russell Rulau. . He found them kept looking and found more. It's like our red book. This token is in the redbook. Now we did not get back on our feet till 1844. It was a very bad time for our country even dealing in trade. But we came through it. These tokens are loaded with history. And they don't hold back on what they thought. If you haven't seen them take a look. There is so much of our history. The token dealing with American Slavery just sold for seventy thousand dollars. Now this is the first token I ever owned by Mr. Newman. I very happy to have one in my collection. It also came with a typed notice about were and when it was sold. I mean Newman's label is enough but this is important also. I checked the population. This token there are three in RB. MS 64 and only five graded higher. No I didn't pay millions for it. Many people don't click on the coin at the auction. They didn't see Newman's name. So I was lucky with the price. And everything related to this token. I finally got the token i wanted and it was owned by Mr.Newman. Probably the greatest collector and teacher of coins and tokens. It will be a nice addition to my collection. Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope you picked something up. Pat.

23 Jun 2019

Strange Interests

Tokens | user_17552

I have always had a fascination with coins, tokens, and replicas. When I was a kid I had a Huge novelty penny that was almost big enough to be a coaster for a drink. And when I was a teen someone found a strange token when doing some yard work, and they gave it to me. Need to find out if I still have those somewhere. I have always collected little things, like wheat pennies, foreign coins I found at work (which I have a ton of, working in a college town for many years), and random old or 90% silver coins and two silver certificate Blue ink pre-war paper dollars. But with recent years, talking to my dear friend David Smock, and with the West Point Quarters emerging, I find myself now searching for them like crazy. I have been luck enough to find 22 Lowell fresh from the mint quarters, but still on the look out for the others that are out. And now my interests have grown to odder things. I am on the look out for a novelty coins. the Area 51 Alien 2004 Quarter.

17 May 2019

The Franklin Press And N.G.C.

Tokens | Mike B

My friends how are you. I Just wrote a Journal on this token not because of the token but the label has been wrong for years. Those of you who remember I had a disagreement with NGC before. It took three months three countries and Nobels auction in New Zealand to a library in England. It did make me physically sick. But after they received the fax from the English library. NGC said send it back slabed it graded it a MS 64 and I had won.. Turns out four were made. And it was of Queen Victoria. Now if you enlarge the picture of the label it tells you nothing. Not even how to look it up. So i searched the net and found a dealer selling it stating it was made in Philadelphia. Now We have gone to far. So I called NGC and spoke to a very nice woman. She stated that the information was found in the Red Book. I said no. That's all wrong. It's in the colonial section it doesn't belong there. Q. David Bowers even said it never circulated here it was a collection piece. . There are others like it but at least put the proper information so people have a reference point. Well it says it's a Conder token and it was made in England I said all that information doesn't mean anything on the label. You have a founding father his first coin or token and it doesn't say anything. So after a long talk we agreed to disagree. I emailed Q. David Bowers. He got right back to me and wants to speak to the person at NGC I said I will supply here with your number. Mean while Mr. Bowers emailed the other authors who worked on that part of the book. I simply said we can one take it out. Or two out the proper information for next year. We're it was made G.Britain D&H 307b Middlesex The Franklin Press.that's all were looking for. It seems small but what if you received a coin back with the wrong information would you keep it or send it back. I sent mine back and they are refusing to correct it with the right information. Now I like my coins and tokens label right thats all you would think that I was trying to change the world. I left out there resons. because it would be embarrassing I could not believe what I was hearing. I will stay with this and have everyone get the proper credit mostly the label with the right information. They have it They use the proper book all the time. Why not this part of history? It's very important the correct information is on every token and coin. How else will I tell one from the other. I will keep you posted. This is not a small thing. There are allot of important author's working on the solution. Thanks for reading In will keep you updated. Pat


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