Author Topic: Barbados: this coin is cancelled.  (Read 1596 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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Barbados: this coin is cancelled.
« on: November 14, 2009, 01:58:37 AM »
Until 1715, the coin of Barbados was muscovado (brown sugar), cotton and tobacco. Several acts mention them as equivalent to sterling, e.g. an act of 29th April 1668 sets the price of muscovado at twopence a pound. Accepted coins in 1651 were the guina, the "Dutch gold ryder", the (silver Dutch) "Rix dollar" the "ffrench double pistoll", the "Spanish double pistoll, the "ffrench crowne, the "sylver Cardecue" (quarter ecu) and the (Spnish) "sylver peice of eight & the lesser of that species". However, the reforms of 1704 drove out all but the very worst coins, so that in 1705 a paper currency was issued, augmented by one year Treasury bills of credit in 1706. By 1790, the bad coins in circulation (mainly Spanish silver and Brazilian gold) were cut into quarters, four of which were said to weigh about three-quarters of the whole piece. A proclamation was made to have coins circulate weight. Copper coins were starting to be introduced, first in 1788, a second issue in 1792 and things seemed to be improving when a wrong tariff for the pistareen caused the silver to be exported rom the island, leaving it effectively on a gold standard, without small change. Therefore, "Anchor money" was shipped to the island as a replacement silver coin.

In 1834, the United States reformed its coinage, making it attractive to ship Anchor money there and once again the island found itself without small change. Different interests pitted the merchants against the plantation owners, so that it took until 1836 before a new rate was found, at which sterling was rated against the dollar in such a way that coins remained in circulation.

I think my token saw service in the period 1834-1836. It was issued by Moses Tolano (the name is misspelled on the token), of 33 Swan Street, Bridgetown. Burial records show that Moses was a merchant and that he died in 1852. The obverse shows a trunk (for transortation of dry goods) with his initials. The reverse has a cask (for transportation of liquid goods) with his initials and the slogan FREEDOM WITHOUT SLAVERY. This might well be a reference to the slavery abolition act of 1833, which Moses apparently approved of. His political opponents, the planters, would have thought otherwise, so this token is also a political statement.

My token has a deep punch mark. Pridmore escribes it as "markings adopted to destroy their currency."

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