Terry writes: We have found a 1813 penny token from the Flint (North Wales, U.K.) lead works; we would like to know if it is worth anything.
This is company store token from Flintshire in Wales, England and was used to buy merchandise at the company store but probably circulated within the nearby community as well. The obverse shows a factory with smoking chimneys, the legend FLINT LEAD WORKS and in exergue (below the base line of the design), the date 1813. The reverse has a beaded border and an inner circle. The legend at the border is ONE POUND NOTE FOR 240 TOKENS, the inner circle’s legend is ONE PENNY TOKEN.
The monetary system, for those uninitiated to the English system prior to 1971, was based on twelves not tens. There were 12 pence (pennys) to a shilling and 20 shillings to a pound (£), therefore 12 x 20 = the number of pennys in a £ or 240.
The story of tokens in England is fascinating and probably far more interesting than collecting official coins. Most of the private issue tokens were motivated by coin shortages, mostly small change, that plagued England’s economy at various times in her history. The shortages between 1811-1815 were caused by the economic drain of the Napoleonic Wars. Often, manufacturing firms were compelled to create their own coins in order to pay their workers. The “obligation” on the Flint token promises to pay an official £1 note for 240 tokens which allowed acceptability by the receivers.
Value of this token depends on grade (condition) and variety (there are 9 known varieties). Approximate range: US$10 – $50.