17th Century Trade Tokens

Becky Field

Thomas Cocke (a cock)
Patrick Butler
Reverse side - Of Bickonsfeild TcK
Patrick Butler

In the seventeenth century Trade Tokens were minted throughout the country to cope with a chronic shortage of small change available to shopkeepers.  James 1 attempted to solve the problem by granting royal patents to his favourites to coin farthings.  This, however, did not benefit the community at large – only the patentees and the King, who split the large profits between themselves.  These fraudulent patents were revoked in 1643.  The government of the day planned to repair the damage that this was undoubtedly causing to trade but the Civil War put paid to that and shopkeepers took matters into their own hands.

Between the years 1648 and 1672 approximately 15,000 types of token were issued throughout the country.  230 different types are known within Buckinghamshire and 6 originated in Beaconsfield.  These tokens are relatively rare but the Society is fortunate in having a few in the archive.  They were originally purchased by John Stanbury, a past Chairman of the Society.


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