Coffee House Tokens - Heaton

Started by birminghamminttokens, August 25, 2020, 07:33:26 AM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


I am not an expert in coffee and tavern tokens. I believe the second token from the left may have also been minted by Heaton. Does anybody have information that might confirm this? All opinions are appreciated. All the tokens are 25mm in diameter. Thank you.
visit - online catalogue of Birmingham Mint advertising & test pieces


Inneresting quartet. Your point of similar style is well taken. Northampton looks much like Burslem and the others are additional evidence of similarity in style. Yet, Northampton shows a few differences, most not important and one I would consider important.

The pearl border and font of the outer legend are different. I would consider that unimportant. The designer had to make place for more letters, so he started from scratch. What I do find an important difference is the large 1 on the reverse. Both the top and the bottom serif are shorter than on the Birmingham tokens. In addition, the top is always flat on the Birmingham pieces, but slanted on the Northampton token.

I think the difference is important because that large 1 would be a standard punch, as is borne out by the three Birmingham tokens. There was in principle no reason to start from scratch on this design element. You may argue that the reason was the missing word HEATON below, but in practice, it would have been sufficient to lower the 1 punch a fraction of a millimeter.

Thinking about the word HEATON, there was probably a clause in the standard contract that specified the Mint's right to include it. Of course, the Mint would be flexible on the clause. If the client objected, it could be left out ... at a price. Why would a coffee house be interested in removing the name of the maker? Moreover, since the Mint apparently did business with a number of coffee houses, it would have market power on its side; the negotiating power of the Mint would be significantly higher than that of the coffee house. The salesman would feel comfortable in asking a high price for removing the word HEATON.

The other side of the equation is that the Mint was a or the market leader. Its competitors would see its products as models for their own and the client may have agreed to the point where he would have submitted a Heaton token as an example of what he wanted. In that sense, the Northampton token would fit into a collection of Birmingham tokens.

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


Thank you Peter for your reply.

I have had the luxury of looking at these tokens close up. All of the '1's are slightly different from each other so I don't believe a standard punch was used. The word 'LIMITED' is almost exact on the first and second tokens. The remaining lettering on token 2 is very similar to token 3. Token 2 also has mixed lettering fonts between 'LIMITED' and the remaining lettering. This also shows up in token 4 but with a different style.

Your comment about the Heaton name not being on the token is interesting and your insight about competitors matching what Heaton was doing has some merit.

visit - online catalogue of Birmingham Mint advertising & test pieces


Those are fascinating tokens.  Any dates?  I've been poking around and couldn't come up with much.  Nice, though!
The Chief...aka Greg


The Burslem Coffee House token was made by the Heaton Mint in 1880.  January 1, 1880, The Coffee Public-House News published a story about the opening of the Burslem Coffee House Company. In that story, there is mention of the 1d. tokens. Here is an excerpt;

"Many must have been struck with the number of boys about the streets, loitering at the public-house corners and doing nothing. An opportunity would now be given them to play chess and draughts and take some light refreshments. Metal tokens valued 1d. each would be issued, and these would form an excellent mode of giving charitable relief, provided they were distributed with discrimination; otherwise they might prove a nuisance."

The coffee house closed in June, 1898.

I am guessing that the other tokens were made around the same time.
visit - online catalogue of Birmingham Mint advertising & test pieces