Four Exeter traders tokens (obverse)

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Four Exeter traders tokens (obverse)

In mid-17th century England there was a serious shortage of small change. To ease the problem, the government allowed shopkeepers and other tradesmen to issue their own tokens, which could be redeemed only in their shops. Thousands of traders all over England issued such tokens; more than 100 were circulated by Exeter traders.

The four tokens shown here are among the more interesting Exeter tokens. All are farthings (quarters of a penny - the smallest denomination).

1. The token of William Wollman, a candle-maker, with a row of candles, the reverse with candles below a tray in which candles are made. (Obverse side.)

2. William May, maker of lanterns, 1663. (Obverse side.)

3. Marie Mountjoy - an example of a woman's token. The motif is the Virgin Mary (recognisable by her crown and long hair), symbol of the Mercers' Company, showing that Marie was a member of this clothworkers' guild. (Obverse side.)

4. Achior Brocas, shown with a 'Turk's Head' (with a turban) and coffee pot, showing that he ran a coffee house. (Obverse side.)

Acknowledgments: RAM Museum

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