Monday, 10 December 2018

Lawrence Wilson, Wetherby 1667 token issuer

I am not a token collector but I have always been interested in the nearest 17th century tokens issued to where I have spent most of my life.

There was a monetary crisis in the mid 17th century, silver was not issued in the form of farthings nor half pennies because their size was prohibitively small. There was an attempt by the government at the time to rectify it with the issue of patents to Harrington and Lennox for the production of base metal coinage but this had ceased by 1650 and, in order to facilitate small trade local merchants issued their own base metal tokens.

I have just been lucky enough to acquire, albeit a poor example, the rare 1667 token from Wetherby issued by Lawrence Wilson (pictured at the head of this post).

Obv: (star)LAWRENCEWILSON.HIS.HALFE , around beaded inner circle, shield containing Blacksmith's Arms within.

Rev: (star)PENNYOF.WEATHERBE.1667 , around beaded inner circle, L W with ormonde knot below, at the ends of which three flowers appear above the initials.

Williamson 365

The memorial gardens, Wetherby

There was a pub in Wetherby called the Blacksmiths Arms, located where the memorial gardens are, adjacent the HSBC bank opposite the Horsefair Centre. It was noted in the 1834 trade directory in the possession of James Mason and was finally recorded as closing in 1929.

 Williamson's catalogue of 17th century tokens

Three tokens were listed by Williamson in his catalogue of the series. As well as the Wilson coin there were specimens for Wetherby Market (undated) and an issue by Francis Sayer (1668). All three types were sold over this summer, specimens much finer than mine, but I’m still pleased to have secured my little piece of 17th century Wetherby history.

The three Wetherby tokens