Revolutionary Times in Buckinghamshire, England.
David Pickup submitted this question about an interesting token.
Image by kind permission of © Dix Noonan Webb auctioneers
The recent discussion about removing statues associated with slavery reminded me of a token dated 1796 which features the anti-slavery movement. The token is inscribed 'TO THE FRIENDS FOR THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY' and on the reverse 'AYLESBURY TOKEN'. Trading slaves was not made illegal in Britain until 1807 and slavery was not finally outlawed in the British Empire until 1834.
An anti-slavery group was set up in Aylesbury in 1792 by the town vicar, one
Thomas Lloyd. The anti-slavery movement in this country was dominated by
evangelical Anglicans and Quakers. The reference to “friends” on the token may refer them. The token is dated after Rev Lloyd left Aylesbury but the group he started may have continued. An anti-slavery society was formed in Aylesbury in 1826 by George Nugent Grenville, MP for Aylesbury and local church ministers.
The token is a bit of a mystery.
Why do all of the examples have weakness in centre on both sides? Was it made using old dies?
The cap of liberty on a pole was a symbol used in the French Revolution. Is it a reference to the French Revolution or liberty in general?
The other side has a portrait of William III who reigned one hundred years before. There has been a Jacobite assassination attempt in 1696. Although William III was an investor in a slave owning company he was a representative of the Glorious Revolution which links to the idea of liberty. Did the issuer associate the anti-slavery movement as a revolution?
Who is the “James” underneath the portrait? Was there a designer of that name or does it mistakenly refer to King James II?
Interesting piece. Can anyone help?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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