World Coins

Dykes explores origin of Foundling Fields halfpenny

The copper 1795 Foundling Fields halfpenny tokens of British architect and builder James Burton are explored extensively by David W. Dykes in the summer 2011 issue of The “Conder” Token Collector’s Journal, the official publication of the Conder Token Collectors’ Club.

Dykes’ research was reprinted with permission of Dykes and the British Numismatic Society. The original article appeared in the 2010 British Numismatic Journal.

Burton developed portions of the Foundling Hospital Estate along the northern edge of London.

Dykes believes the tokens were issued not as a profit-making venture, “but as a genuinely redeemable token coin supplied by Burton to his subcontractors to help make up the wage bills of the workmen employed” in the estate development.

The halfpenny tokens, cataloged as Dalton and Hamer: Middlesex 303-305a in The Provincial Token-Coinage of the 18th Century Illustrated by S.H. Dalton and R. Hamer, are categorized as three types, all sharing the same obverse die. The common obverse depicts “the crest of a lamb holding in its mouth a sprig of thyme in its mouth within a circle and the legend foundling fields ♦1795♦.”

Of the three reverse dies, two broke at an early stage, and the third developed a flaw obscuring the bottom part of the legend. The slightly different reverses depict the letters jb intertwined within a circle, with payable on demand inscribed around.

Other articles are devoted to the Triangle Type of Sketchley Masonic tokens; numismatic books and other literature devoted to 18th century token coinage; and tokens, using Dalton and Hamer attributions, that were made by Peter Kempson.

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