This is the third and final part of a three part series on Tradesmen’s Tokens. Tradesmen’s Tokens were commonly used by tradesmen as a form of currency when there was a shortage of the normal types of coin. It allowed them to continue to trade and was widely used in the mid 17th century.
TRADESMEN’S TOKENS.—No. III.
From The Gentleman’s Magazine Volume 31 May 1849 Page 496
THIS Token appears to have been of the satirical class, and was issued by William Newcome of “Darby.” The inscription, which is continued from the obverse to the reverse is “Touch not mine anointed; doe my prophets noe harme;” the propriety of which is not countenanced by any device on the coin. Doubtless Newcome was a profane wag, and designed to have a fling at the Puritans, who were accustomed to adopt scriptural signs and mottoes (whether appropriately or otherwise) after the “Praise-God Barebones” fashion.* And had any caviller questioned the applicability of the quotation, Master Newcome would probably have directed him to read it, “doe my profits noe harme.” The issuing of these Tokens was a very profitable affair, for one pennyworth or copper or brass could be converted into forty or fifty tokens; hence they came to be issued in such quantities, that the Government was compelled to suppress them by severe enactments.
Yours, &c. B. N.
*There is a public-house at Tunbridge Wells, at the back of Mount Sion, which formerly bore for its sign “God encompasseth us;” the puritanical landlord little imagining it would ever become corrupted into its present ludicrous designation, “The Goat and Compasses.” Tunbridge Wells during the reign of Charles II. was the stronghold of Puritanism, as the names of “Mount Sion.” “Mount Ephraim,” &c. given to the localities by these sectarians, still attest. And there is a curious custom still adhered to in the oldest church (or chapel) of this popular place of resort — that of the separation of the sexes during divine service — the men occupying one side, and the women the opposite side of the church. Even temporary visitors here fall in with this ancient practice, which is doubtless of puritanical origin.