The Essential Guide for 18th Century Conders

In the latter half of the 18th century, adequate circulating copper coinage throughout the United Kingdom was in dire shortage. Regal copper, struck by the Royal Mint, had only been intermittently struck from time to time over the previous decades, and thus had not been minted in sufficiently large enough quantities to meet the daily transactional needs of the general public. Resultantly, a significant portion of the population faced exceptional difficulties with merely conducting simple day-to-day purchases.

To make matters worse, much of the regal copper that had remained in circulation had become extremely worn, with much of it becoming indiscernible and unintelligible. Consequently, much of the small coins in circulation were accepted by the public not by virtue of their distinguishable designs and mottos, but rather by their perceived intrinsic value. Acceptance had evolved to where a coin’s accepted value was based on its perceived metallic composition, dimension, and weight.

Given these monetary conditions, it is of no surprise that commerce was saturated with counterfeit pence, halfpence and farthings. Many had been struck with intentionally “worn” dies to give the appearance of extreme wear. Others known as ‘Evasions’ featured mottos and devices that were clearly not by regal-design, to avoid penalty of counterfeiting, but could pass muster by the general public given that the majority could not read or write.

A Late 18th Century English Evasion Token

Fantastical and sometimes humorous mottos appeared in place of the mottos on the regals. “Brutus Sextus,” “Shakespeare,” “Sr Isaac Newton,” and “William Williams” are just four examples of the hundreds of varieties documented.

Towards the 1790s the quantity of imitation coppers in circulation far outweighed the number of regal coppers. And with the country’s meager supply of official coppers still in crisis, it is at this time that the minting of private Provincial Tokens began at the privately-owned SOHO Birmingham mint.  Beginning with private issues struck for the Parys Mines Company of Anglesey, and continuing forward with many more struck for other private companies, these privately issued Provincial Tokens began to appear in commerce.  Given that by this time the public had been accustomed to valuing coins by intrinsic value and weight, these tokens were readily accepted in commerce as long as their supply did not exceed demand and they were not noticeably underweight.

A Conder Token Struck in 1790s

The following guide is an exhaustive catalog of 18th Century Provincial Tokens, otherwise known as “Conders.” Written and published by Richard Dalton and Samuel H. Hamer in 1910, it catalogs the majority of known Conders. The guide is considered by numismatists as the original and ultimate authoritative catalog for the Conder series.

The guide is organized based on five major geographic regions in the U.K.; England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and Anglesey. For each of these regions, the subsections are furthermore subcategorized by county. For consistency, the guide first lists issues based on pennies, then halfpennies, and then finally farthings.

Aaron Packard [End Mark]


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Aaron Packard

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