The state system of small coins had collapsed in the 1640’s. Between 1648 and 1673 there was a national shortage of small denomination coins following the series of civil wars. These were needed by most people to make daily purchases.
In some towns and cities, tokens were issued by local traders to be used in place of small coinage at their and other businesses in the area. These tokens were usually in farthings, halfpenny and penny denominations. The information on the coins varies, often they show a pictorial guide as to the trade they were associated with, a name and sometimes a date.
The tokens in Chesterfield Museum relate to:
•Richard Clark – Angel Inn
•James Dutton – 1666
•William Milnes – Grocer – 1667
•Thomas Radford – Haberdasher – 1666
•Edward Wood - Apothecary
The use of these tokens came to an end in 1672 when King Charles II introduced the new royal copper coins.
I have chosen these because of the history they tell us, the upheaval of the Civil War (1642 – 1651) and the Cromwell ‘Protectorate’ period (1653 – 1659) through the impact it had on the economy. It also shows how the people rose to the challenges of a lack of small coins by creating their own.
The ones on display in Chesterfield Museum relate to not only large businesses (The Angel Inn which in New Square) to individual traders (William Milnes, Thomas Radford and Edward Wood.) We do not know who James Dutton was, or what he did. It can tell us what was happening in the town at this time.
Charlotte - museums assistant