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The Token Corresponding Society and Token Congress

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The word 'token' in this context means a coin or similar object which is issued for use in place of regular or official coinage. Up to a few decades ago tokens were mostly treated as curiosities and often relegated to the dealer's 'junk box' but today there are avid collectors and researchers of almost every conceivable series. An introduction to some of these can be found in the links to sections below. White to a group of enthusiasts who collected tokens and agreed to publish a bulletin for circulation between themselves. The TCS Bulletin is now a quarterly publication with an index being published at the end of each volume of twelve issues. A cumulative index to the first 10 volumes was published in There is no formal committee to run the Society, but policy decisions, as the need arises, can be made at Token Congress each year where many of the subscribers meet.

Does the frequency of anchor depictions indicate a maritime use, such as ferry tokens? Were the simplest just gaming counters, or even part of the game itself?.

Lead tokens - classic designs are long cross and weave/flower patterns The oldest lead tokens in Britain, known as tesserae, date from Roman times and are . Lead, as it is soft and prone to oxidisation, has rarely been used for coinage the commonest are the so-called 'Winetavern' or 'London Wall' tokens, dating to. Records 1 - 20 of A Post Medieval lead alloy uniface token, probably dating to AD The obverse of the token depicts Britannia seated right with.

Perhaps all of these conjectures are right; we may never know. However, beyond these, the perennial problem which cursed much of the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries: the need, not adequately met by many governments of the period, for small units of coin.

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Let us say that an average labourer earned at one stage around 1s per day, a figure not untypical of the early s. The lowest coin of the realm was a farthing, i. Would you fancy trying to conduct your day-to-day business with nothing other than our two pound coins or larger? No wonder the populace felt a need to set to and make their own small change. It would appear also, from the number of worn Dutch duits and half-duits being dug up in East Anglia, that they also imported it from the Continent.

So little is written either on or about lead tokens that one of the first prerequisites must be to ask the provenance of any that come one's way. Often there is no information to be had, but where there is, preserve it. The largest supplies of lead tokens seem to be in the extreme south-east, and Romney Marsh in particular. It is known that smugglers had secret ways through the Marsh unknown to the excisemen, and thereby enjoyed greater success than they would otherwise; however, whether that has any relation to lead tokens I do not know.

I did wonder whether their use was a predominantly south-eastern practice, but then discovered that detectorists in Nottinghamshire and Co. Durham were digging them up in reasonable quantity. It would seem that not many come from too far west, but I remain to be corrected. One of the problems, I guess, is that the series has never been taken seriously and the find statistics not gathered; also, that it is only due to the advent of the metal detector that so many more of these often miniscule and seemingly insignificant pieces are now being found than formerly.

I have one piece only as yet from Wales. Scotland one might perhaps not expect to find represented, in view of its almost total omission from the main 17th century token series, but I have been shown a photo of a piece from Dunipace, Sterlingshire, with a date above initials DM, all straddling a central line.

It could be a communion token conceivably, although Burzinski does not appear to know of it. It is only just within the period at which communion tokens start to be dated. The next question to ask is: which pieces relate to which area? Does that mean that they travelled that far? Both sites have also turned up anchors, i. Markedly strong outer rims show a slight tendency towards being East Anglian, and slender circles about a quarter diameter in from the edge seem possibly to be a peculiarly North-Eastern feature, but even these observations are tenuous, based on very small samples.

Finally: were lead tokens used in other countries, or are they purely a British thing? I am told that they are numerous in some places but, if our own are little known, what hope is there that we hear or see much of others? I have but one, possibly Hungarian, dated I start at the outset here by saying that nothing is conclusive, and that I just put the various theories and invite readers to consider for themselves.

A small number of pieces clearly relate to given people, albeit unknown, or trades; however, the majority are singularly nondescript. What do we make of these? Many of the designs are so simplistic that they could merely be classed as doodles; i. Or perhaps he did care, but did not have any great artistic skill. A few designs, such as petals, grids and the like abound; perhaps this is so because they were easy to draw. Certain designs which appear to be nondescript may in fact relate to particular trades; e.

The petals and cartwheels are not incapable of translation as millwheels either. Does an anchor indicate a maritime connection, or a pub of that name, or neither?

Another possibility is that there was some system of understood denominational value now lost to us. Does it matter whether there were 3,4,5, or 6 petals on a flower?

Lead Tokens, Coinage of the Ordinary Man

Perhaps other common designs such as the anchor or fleur-de-lis represent larger denominations? I incline against this theory, but it is not unreasonable. More likely is that some of the commoner designs are drawn from the Church, which played a larger role than we can now imagine in the lives of our rustic villagers.

Faced with the carvings on church furniture every Sunday morning, might they not have drawn their artistic inspiration from it? A quote or two from the Internet:. In the eastern counties thousands of examples remain.

The quite simple fleur-de-lys form of poppy-head, suitable for the village, is seen in perfection at Trunch, Norfolk, and the very elaborate form when the poppy-head springs from a crocketed circle filled in with sculpture, at St Nicholas, Kings Lynn. Wall decorations consist of various Christian emblems " Catherine, grid-iron for St.

British Lead Tokens

Laurence, etc". Whilst some of the earlier of these types correctly represent major categories, I do not feel that they represent a full classification:. In addition to this, a formal classification system also needs to be able to accommodate additions, especially in a field as obscure as this one. In short, it needs to be a bit more generic. In an attempt to improve on this, but without detracting from Bob's existing work more than need be, I have attempted to build up a new classification which preserves as many of his type numbers as possible.

I have, however, wanted to keep them in approximately descending order of frequency, which has necessitated a few reallocations. In summary:. Development of these types into subtypes could be a separate, but future, phase of the same exercise. However, it is optional; do we want it? I venture to suggest that a simple single-number classification of the type proposed may be adequate enough for both collector and researcher, and that use of a more sophisticated system such as the Neubecker one employed by Robert Thompson for the main 17th century tokens may be i too cumbersome and ii inappropriate for this less formal series.

The number of petals varies between three and six, five or six being the most frequent. Occasional pieces, usually larger, have the petals superimposed on a second design. Sides where small initials flank the main design will be classified according to that design. Items with both initials and numbers will be dealt with either here or under type 8, depending on which is predominant, although it is recognised that they are hybrids.

Where there is no predominance, type 2 will take precedence because initials offer a clue to identity. This differs from Bob Alvey, whose types 3 and 12 map on to my 3,9, and 12 without exact one-to-one correspondence. In addition to sides with low numbers indicating a specific value, those with dates and nothing else also come under this category.

It also accommodates designs which are a compound of different simple geometric types. Edward I pennies, although that is not invariably so. Pieces which mimic Cantian Celtic, Roman or other ancients are also occasionally seen.

Whole bodies, rather than heads, are type 32, whilst other isolated body parts, e. Bob Alvey allocated this number to bottles specifically, but I have extended the application.

One of the beauties of lead tokens is that they are not so much a single The oldest lead tokens in Britain, known as tesserae, date from Roman times and are . Elsewhere on this site I have written about the lead tokens issued by local . Precise dating of pieces is difficult; only about % of them bear dates, and these. Forum rules. IMPORTANT Before Creating an ID Request, Please Follow the H.A.M.M.Y Code Below. H - Have at least two good sized clear.

Could have been absorbed into type 27, but I chose to keep tavern tokens as a separate category. One feels that they should be adjacent to the 17th century series, but a Richard Gladdle catalogue of March shows one dated to the s.

Pieces with four quarters containing alternate horizontal and vertical lines will remain here for the moment, notwithstanding that they may depict millstones and should correctly reside in type Where the number of segments is necessarily two, i. The design does not cover the whole side, or at least not without significant variation; if it did, it would belong to type 9.

Weight: Description: The token is roughly circular and uniface with decoration on one side. The coin is an initial type with a capital D placed above a dividing line. When the token is rotated 90 degrees this line forms the upright of a letter R.

The token is an off white-grey colour. Measurements: Discussion: Lead tokens had a wide variety of potential uses such as tallies, gaming pieces, tickets, weights, etc.

Description: The token is roughly circular and biface with decoration on both side. Both faces are decorated.

One side with the initial R B over the dateand the reverse with two concentric rings and a central dot placed off-centre. AD - AD The upper face are decorated with a stylised heart flanked by a pellet and three closely aligned pellets above.

The token is a dark un patinated grey colour.

It is circular in plan and rectangular in profile. The upper face is decorated with a vertical cross with single pellets in each divided quarter.

The reverse is plain and undecorated. The token has a cream grey coloured surface patina.

It is heavily abraded. Width: The upper face is decorated with a vertical cross with single pellets in each quarter.

Dating lead tokens

The upper face is decorated with a vertical cross with single pellets within each angle. The token is disc shaped with a design comprising a cross with three pellets in each quarter on one side.

The fabric is grey in colour. It measures Both faces are decorated with a six petalled flower depicted with hollow ovals in relief forming the petals. One of the faces is heavily worn with three of the petals are obscured.

Discussion: Lead tokens had a wide variety of potential uses such as tallies, gaming pieces, tickets, weights, Created on: Monday 20th May Last updated: Wednesday 22nd May Spatial data recorded.

The design on the obverse appears to depict a series of raised intersecting semi-circular lines. The token can be classified as Powell Type The object has a light grey patina. The object is very worn andpart of the edge has broken away. Lead tokens had a wide variety of potential uses such as use as tallies, gaming pieces, tickets, weights, etc.

The design on the obverse appears to depict a raised quatrefoil. The token can be classified as Powell Type 1. The object has a greyish-white patina. The object is very worn. The overall dimensions are as follows: The design on the obverse depicts a cross dividing the face into quarters.

The reverse is undecorated but appears to have the remains of a casting seam running across the right side. The object is very worn and chipped around the edge. The object is a circular with a central raised ring motif on each side.

The rings are arranged to form a short cross. The metal is a dark cream in colour with a slightly pitted patina Lead tokens had a wide variety of potential uses such as tallies, gaming pieces, tickets, weights, etc.

When I was first introduced to lead tokens by my friend and metal have an initial on and those with a date on, perhaps even less common. Dating lead tokens. Posted by Admin | in April 5, | lead1tokens1dating. article thumbnail. If we change our Privacy Policy, the changes willbe posted here. Recently a Lead Token was found in Little Witley and dates from c to Lead Tokens date back to Roman times when they were.

Therefore those with simple designs are given a more general Medieval to Post Medieval date. Powell Type 2.

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