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British Tokens were unofficial pieces of money used as a substitute for official coin when there was insufficient small change for normal daily use.

They were normally coin-like tickets of metal, usually copper or brass, and bore the imprint of the issuer who paid them out in lieu of regal coins on the understanding that they could be redeemed for silver coin-of-the-realm on demand.

There were three main periods when tokens were issued: (Click on the dates shown below to go to the relevant period, or click on the following link English Merchant Tokens for a detailed discussion).

1649-1672 (17th Cenury)
1787-1796 (18th Century)
1811-1821 (19th Century)

JAMES I (1603-1625)
CHARLES I(1625-1649)
1603 Up intil 1603, official small coin is silver and easily lost.James I delegates his Royal Prerogative of striking copper coins to Lord Harrington. 1625 Charles continues the custom of issuing coining patents
but the patentees abuse the privelage, leading to public outcry.

An intended official currency is not introduced due to
the advent of the Civil War


Goto 17th Century