coinsbygary's Blog

21 Sep 2021

1794 Lace Manufactory 1/2 Penny Conder Token

Exonumia | coinsbygary

Lately, I have been spending a lot of time photographing old, heavily toned copper coins and tokens. Having only recently honed my skills to produce the best photos possible, I have re-imaged a number of my 1/2 penny Conder tokens. This token is currently part of my seated imagery typeset. Below is my description of the token and a copied description from the Smithsonian Institute collection. Enjoy!


Chambers, Langston, Hall & Company sold lace and issued this charming halfpenny token in 1794. It was payable at their shops in Leighton Buzzard, Berkhamsted, and London. To replenish their inventory of lace, Chambers, Langston, Hall & Company commissioned women living near their shops to manufacture it for them.

The central device on the obverse of this token is a woman sitting underneath a tree in a relaxing environment working with fabric to make lace. Around the top rim of the token is the obverse legend, "Lace Manufactory." Allegorically, the woman on this token represents what must have been a multitude of artistically skilled women fashioning lace for Chambers, Langston, Hall & Company.

The central device on the reverse of this token is a sheep and the date 1794 in exergue. As such, the sheep represents wool, one of the raw materials used to make lace. The purpose of including this token in my set is to illustrate one of many essential tasks that can be done from a seated position.

Incidentally, with the industrial revolution (circa 1760-1840), the introduction of machines into the workplace made it possible for many more jobs to be done from a seated position. Unfortunately for the women manufacturing lace by hand, the introduction of machines made lace mass-producible and thus much cheaper. Regardless, there will always be a premium paid for handmade crafts.

This description comes from the Smithsonian Collection. Source ( https://womenshistory.si.edu/object/lace-manufacturer-token-1794:nmah_642238 ) This token valued at a half penny was issued by a merchant to pay his workers in 1794. The inscription reads "Pay at Leighton Berkhamsted or London - 1794" with a sheep on one side, "Lace Manufactory" and a woman making lace on a pillow under a tree on the other. "Chambers, Langston, Hall & Co" is stamped around the rim. The token could only be used at one of the merchant's stores. Chambers, Langston, Hall & Co were haberdashers at 46 Gutter Lane, Cheapside, London. This type of tokens was possibly issued due to a shortage of official small change coins in the late 18th century. Gary



Level 5

Man, I bet this made @Mike happy. Glad to see some under appreciated coins here at the ANA blog.

Long Beard

Level 5

How coincidental. I'm looking at some similar tokens from Ireland of the same time period. Great blog!


Level 4

That is a great image of a wonderful toned token, thank you for sharing and history to boot.

AC coin$

Level 6

It is good to know history from a fine collector. The Smithonian is major authority in all matters historywise.


Level 6

excellent, informative blog. Photos? Let's just say I am very jealous. Thanks.


Level 6

Beautiful token! Loved the photo! ; )

It's Mokie

Level 6

That must have been a challenge to capture but you did yourself proud. Thanks for sharing a glimpse at your collection.


Level 7

I enjoyed this very much. One reason I collect them. The other is the excellent history and reserch. And I have to say a great picture. It's so enjoyable to read a good blog and you write the best. !! Thank you for the history and how people had to live in Britain because of the wars they were in. Thanks again .


Level 5

Very nice token. Nice photo. Thanks for a nice blog.


Level 6

Great photography.

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