PREV ARTICLE       FULL ISSUE       PREV FULL ISSUE      

V10 2007 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE




The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 20, May 20, 2007, Article 20

FEATURED WEB PAGE: CURRENCY IN SAMUEL PEPYS' DIARIES

This week's featured web page discusses currency units mentioned in
the 17th century London diary of Samuel Pepys.  A commentary by Glyn
Thomas discusses the usage of tavern tokens in Pepys' day:

"For many decades and through much of Pepys’ life there was a severe
shortage of small change in England - it wasn’t worth the government’s
efforts to make these low-value coins in sufficient quantities. As a
result, many of the taverns and coffee houses made their own tokens
which they handed out in small change (usually worth a 1/4 penny (a
farthing) or a 1/2 penny). Technically this was illegal but
successive governments let it go.

"The tokens could be used in the places where they were made, and
usually in the shops in the immediate neighbourhood because they could
take them back to the tavern; but the farther away you were, the less
likely they were to be accepted as being good money.

"On the back of the coins are usually a combination of the value (e.g.
1/2 penny), the street the tavern is in, perhaps the landlords name,
and the date.

"But most people still couldn’t read, so on the front was usually a
depiction of the symbol on the pub sign - so illiterate people could
find the pub that made that particular token.

"I understand Pepys never mentioned these little almost worthless
tokens in his diaries although he probably had some in his pocket
on most days: it makes you wonder what things that are obvious to
us in our own time will be mysterious to people 300 years from now."

Featured Web Site

  Wayne Homren, Editor

Google
 
coinbooks.org Web
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization 
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor 
at this address: whomren@coinlibrary.com

To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 2005 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

PREV ARTICLE       FULL ISSUE       PREV FULL ISSUE      

V10 2007 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE


Copyright © 1998 - 2005 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster