Thursday, 25 August 2016

Some Oxford Tokens.

 In the Seventeenth Century local traders issued copper tokens for their customers. Collecting tokens is a fascinating way of learning about the history of Oxford.
Seventy people are recorded as having issued trade tokens in Oxford during the period, the highest number for any provincial town after Norwich and Exeter. In 1652 the City Council spent £20 on farthing tokens. £20 would have paid for approximately 100,000. However, the Council was unable to maintain its monopoly and tokens were immediately issued by local tradesmen.
These images are all from a member’s collection.

                                 Oxon 129 Thomas Combes   Neare the East Gate

                                  Oxon 125 John Bowell Mercer 1657 Sugar Loaf

Sugar was a luxury item in the Seventeenth Century. Someone tried to bribe a judge in nearly Aylesbury with a gift of some sugar. Trying to sweeten him!


                                      Oxford City token the Mayor of Oxford 1652

Can you see the small mintmark? The “R” stands for Rawlins who was the engraver.
DAVID RAMAGE was the Chief Engraver at the Tower Mint in the time of Charles I, who was beheaded in 1649. Cromwell annulled his prerogative, but I note that Ramage produced trial designs for some of Oliver's milled silver coinage. However, I think that the final contract went to a Dutchman. Ramage was responsible for the design and production of most of the Token coinage from 1652 until 1662, when he died. Charles II declared the token coinage illegal in 1675. Only a small proportion of the tokens issued by Ramage bear the letter "R".

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