Canadian trade tokens

Started by Figleaf, June 23, 2007, 10:11:14 AM

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Figleaf

This is a contemporary imitation of the blacksmith tokens of the Bust/harp type. They were described by Breton and classified by McLachlan. The classification in the Charlton catalogue is based on McLachlan.

This is Charlton LC-60E1, LC stands for Lower Canada. Type 60E is a bust/harp token of inferior quality, light weight and larger bust (none of these is numerically specified). Subtype 60E1 has a harp with ten strings (I am sure you know better than I how many strings a harp ought to have). Charlton (3rd edition, ©1995) suggests VG 5, F 10, VF 20, EF 50, AU 100, UNC 200. These are presumably Canadian dollars. Grades are for "as is", i.e. starting with how the average token came out of the press and deducting wear. Your tokens shows some wear on the cheek, but the vague double chin is not a consequence of wear.

I have taken the liberty of reducing your pics to screen size and depth.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

brandm24

Just came across this thread and since no one posted an image of the Magdalen Islands token here it is.

I know I'm a little late for dinner...about thirteen years...but maybe I've made it in time for coffee and desert. ;D

Brucersz_magdaken_island_penny_token_1.jpgrsz_magdalen_island_penny_token_2.jpg   
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brandm24

 The same stamp can also be found on large US cents. That would be a good quiz question for US collectors. When is a large US cent not American? ;D


Answer: When a meddling Canadian pharmacist with a magic hammer turns it into a Canadian token. :)

These Devins & Bolton pieces are probably the most commonly stamped issue of any from any country. They probably surpass even the British Pear's Soap counterstamps in number. It's been estimated that the company stamped over a quarter of a million coins with their logo. And, yes, quite a few were on US coins.

Common, but still fun to collect.

Bruce
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Figleaf

The Magdalen pieces are usually well worn. The one on your picture is a beauty, Bruce. It must be the only numismatic item ever made with the fish but not the chips. :) I wonder if there is a connection between the late fish and the surname of the issuer, Coffin. After all, pecunia non olet, but putridum pisces odores.

More specimen and information here.

In the border area, Canadian and US money intermingled as long as (sometimes even after, I found CAD in circulation in Buffalo in the seventies, just after both countries went off silver) the dollars were at par. A late numismatic friend who lived there found a "bourse" in his attic. It had apparently belonged to his grandfather. It contained a varied collection of Canadian and US coins and a single Devins & Bolton overstrike. Highly anecdotal, but there you are.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

brandm24

When I was a child we traveled a lot in both Canada and the border areas with the US. I recall clearly my parents receiving American money in change while in Canada. It was also common to see Canadian money in the northern parts of Maine.

Bruce
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brandm24

I looked up the list of Devins & Bolton examples struck on coins of various countries and was very surprised. The split between US coins (mostly large cents) and Canadian tokens that hosted their counterstamp was nearly identical. I had always thought that the US issues were scarce but that's not the case. In addition to the common large cents, examples are known struck on US Civil War and Hard Times tokens and even colonial state issues.

Amazingly, D & B also stamped their advertisement on dozens of different country's coins, including France, Denmark, Sweden, Portugal, Britain, Spain, and many more.

Bruce

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brandm24

I just came across this piece described as a Lower Canada commercial change token and designated Breton 1007. I'm curious about who issued it and for what purpose. Some type of emergency money maybe?

(Images courtesy of Steve Hayden)

Bruce
Lower Canada-Commercial Chamge Token 1.jpgLower Canada-Commercial Change Token 2.jpg 
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Figleaf

#22
This is indeed a private emergency issue of the British colony of Lower Canada. After complaints about lightweight tokens from the UK being shipped there, these tokens were declared illegal in 1816, but no thought was given to replacing them. In the same situation, Nova Scotia issued its own tokens in 1823, 1824 and 1832, so it is not clear why nothing could be done in Lower Canada.

By 1825, the situation in Lower Canada had become desperate. This generated a large series of badly made, horribly underweight anonymous tokens made in Lower Canada. Most of them are categorised as harps, Tiffins and Blacksmiths, with a few better made outliers such as "Speed the plow" and "Ships, colonies & commerce".

The token you show is indeed Breton 1007, Charlton LC-59B. Note that according to McLachlan, (who actually saw the token), Charlton LC-59A (AFAIK one copy known) is a counterfeit made to deceive collectors.

There has been considerable speculation on the identity of the person pictured on the token. Candidates are Wellington, de Salaberry, Canning and Peel, even though there are in fact two different busts, that on B. 1002 and 1006 and that on B. 1007. I am a MacLachlan fan, so I will quote him: "B. 1007, a more youthful bust than the other two, corresponds in age and general features to that of Sir Robert Peel, and, although a conservative, was a practical reformer, and was Prime Minister about the time of the issue of the coin" (source: R. W. MacLachlan, Is the mysterious bust on Canadian coins really that of Wellington? in: Canadian tokens and medals, Lawrence 1973, pp 116-118.)

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

brandm24

Thanks, Peter. Good information including an explanation of what a blacksmith token is. I've seen pieces identified this way but never understood what it referred tp. 

I should get one or both of these references because I do have an interest in these early Canadian tokens.

Bruce
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Figleaf

It's an old ANA publication. I use it regularly. I found a copy for you here.. That gave me the ISBN 0-88000-028-7.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

brandm24

Thanks for the link, Peter.

Bruce
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brandm24

Another token that I need help with. I'm thinking that it's purpose was the same as the token posted in #21 but just a guess.  This is a half penny token Breton 1009 and Charlton AM-4. The seller described it as "Anonymous".

I thought the "Pure Copper Redeemable to Paper" seemed odd too...unless copper had less value than the circulating paper currency.

(Images courtesy of Steve Hayden)

Bruce
Pure Cooper Redeemable to Paper 1.jpgPure Copper Redeemable to Paper 2.jpg 
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Figleaf

It could have said "Pure Copper Redeemable to Paper", because in principle, that's how honest issuers treated them. You collect, say 120 penny tokens, return them to the issuer and get a 10 shilling note in return. A few British tokens will say so explicitly.

The issuer of this token was out for a fast pound, though, so he made the opposite argument: "PURE / COPPER / PREFERABLE / TO / PAPER. In other words "them banknotes aren't worth the paper them's printed on; demand good copper you can melt and make even lighter tokens from ... uhhh ... I mean..."

The origin of this token is British. It was designed and engraved by Thomas Halliday, a well-known token maker of Birmingham and aimed at the Irish market. The well-dressed man has three clovers and a shillelagh in his hands. At the time (1815-1825), both were thought of as symbols of being Irish and elegant. Unfortunately, the wreath is English. The right part is clover all right, but the left part is oak. However, while oak is common in Britain and considered high quality wood, it is not common in Ireland. The Irish shillelagh is typically made of blackthorn wood, rather than oak. :'(

The token was quite lightweight at around 7 grams, as it pretended to be a penny (18.9 gram), but was more likely to be accepted only for a halfpenny (9.45 gram). The copper was pure, but there wasn't enough of it. It was forbidden to circulate in Ireland and so it was shipped to "the colonies".

That included Canada and since the Canadians collected tokens before most other colonials, they appropriated the type as Canadian with the argument that they were found there. That is akin to claiming that dollar notes are Russian, because many can be found in Moscow and they were used as money when Russia suffered hyper-inflation. If you must assign it to a country, it would be Ireland.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

brandm24

Good information, Peter. Thanks.

Bruce
Always Faithful