Posts Tagged ‘token’

Fifty years ago

July 30, 2016

Of course, most of us weren’t alive 50 years ago but if you were there’s a fair chance you watched the telly that day for one programme, or event, had the biggest UK TV audience ever. Apparently 32.3 million of us tuned in to watch the football world cup final. Those people saw this man lift the World Cup – the Jules Rimet trophy, for England.

Bobby Moore football token dating from 1972

Bobby Moore football token dating from 1972

This is Bobby Moore who was captain of England for that world cup. But in 1966 he had the still correct short back and sides haircut. This image is a later one. But it is on one of those Esso football medallions which the football enthusiasts collected – and which made youngsters tell dad to fill up with Esso petrol. The back has a little information.


This Esso token was found under the floorboards at 21 Church Street

This medallion or ‘coin’ actually dates from 1972.

And why are we showing this on the Market Lavington Museum blog? That’s simple. It is an under the floorboards item found during recent renovations at 21 Church Street in Market Lavington.

A half sovereign

August 7, 2015

Sovereigns and half sovereigns sound like treasure from a past age, probably made of gold and probably worth a small fortune these days. That certainly isn’t the case with a half sovereign at Market Lavington Museum. This is another item found by metal detectorist, Norman, on the old recreation ground. It certainly isn’t gold and it isn’t particularly old. But it is surprising.

Let’s not leap ahead, though. First of all, what is a sovereign in money terms? It is, simply, another word for a pound and such coins were in normal circulation (for the rich) until 1932 and they were made of gold.

But what we have is a very cheap metal half sovereign – a Co-op token one.

Warminster Coop half sovereign token - probably a dividend check token

Warminster Coop half sovereign token – probably a dividend check token

As we see, it is battered and damaged but was issued by the Warminster Co-op

We think this was a dividend check. Such tokens were given to Co-op members to match the cost of their purchases. When it was time to collect the cash dividend, the member could take all their checks to a Co-op and the dividend due to them could be calculated based on the value of purchases. This means such a token wasn’t worth half a sovereign. If a dividend of 5% was declared it was used to exchange for 5% of half a sovereign which we’d call 2½p in present money.

You can read more about Co-op tokens at .

Most Cooperative Societies abandoned metal dividend checks by the 1920s but in some areas they stayed in use until the 1960s. We don’t know when the Warminster society went over to paper records but it seems a fair bet that this item is close to 100 years old.

A Card Counter

October 3, 2012

Card counters, also known as jetons have a long history. Two thousand years ago the Romans used stones to help with arithmetic. The stones were made of limestone and in Latin they were known as calculi. Our word, calculate’ comes from that old Latin word. You can read much more at

By the Victorian era the items, looking like small coins, may have been used to help calculate or they may have been gambling tokens. It had certainly become the norm to make these tokens have a political message or to commemorate a person deemed great in the political world.

At Market Lavington Museum we have a token which commemorates Arthur, Duke of Wellington.

The head of Arthur, Duke of Wellington on a card counter at Market Lavington Museum

On the front or obverse we have a portrait and the name of the Duke. This item is probably in base metal and is about 2 centimetres across.

The Dukes dates are on the reverse of this Jeton – May 1st 1760 to September 14th 1852

The reverse tells us the dates of birth and death of the Duke. We imagine the token was minted soon after Wellington’s death in 1852.

If anyone has more information about items like this, we’d be pleased to hear from them.

Bladud Founded Bath

June 18, 2012

About a dozen years ago, a small metal token was found at number 9, High Street, Market Lavington. This token, value one farthing, was given to Market Lavington Museum. It seems time it saw the light of day, at least in photographic form. The following information comes from the web site – although the pictures of the near perfect and well-cleaned example shown there have been replaced by our farthing at the museum.

Heath’s Bath (Somerset) copper Conder farthing token dated 1794.

Obverse: Crowned and bearded bust to left with bow and quiver of arrows over shoulder with legend: “BLADUD FOUNDED BATH”.

Obverse of token found at 9, High Street, Market Lavington showing King Bladud who founded Bath according to legend.

Reverse: The aforementioned crowned Bladud holding his bow and shield, driving two pigs or hogs with legend: “THROUGH HIS SWINE 1794”.

Reverse of token which shows Bladud as a swineherd

Plain edge.

This was issued by F. Heath who was an ironmonger, brazier and cutler with a business in Bath. Bladud was the eighth King of the Britons who is thought to have founded the baths in 863 B.C.

Legend had it that Bladud contracted leprosy and was locked away. He escaped and took a job as a swineherd. His pigs contracted leprosy as well. His sick pigs wallowed in mud and were cured. Seeing this, Bladud also rolled in the mud and he, too, was cured. He went on to be the 8th King of the Britons. In gratitude he founded a city where the pigs had been cured – the city now known as Bath. Bladud dedicated his city to the Celtic Goddess, Sul. 900 years later, the Romans called the place Aquae Sulis.

According to legend, one of the children of Bladud was King Lear – made famous by the Shakespeare play.

Francis Heath, the issuer of these and other coins, has not been clearly traced. He carried on his ironmongery, cutlery and brazier business, just previous to 1800, at number 2, Bath Street.

How this token came to be in High Street, Market Lavington we don’t know.