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Soho Library - 19th Century Books

The great quantity of evasive and forged halfpence in circulation during the later part of the 18th century prompted a certain amount of breast-beating in official circles, but very little in the way of action. Only with the effective supercession of the regal copper by the Anglesey and Wilkinson tokens, tokens of acceptable size and weight, was the question of the copper coinage taken at all seriously. Matthew Boulton was, of course, one of the principals in the move to actually do something about the problem - and even then it took him ten years to achieve the first proper regal copper coins.


One of his main contacts in government circles was Charles Jenkinson, Baron Hawkesbury - who later, in 1796, became the first Earl of Liverpool, and wrote ‘A Treatise on the Coins of the Realm: in a Letter to the King’ which was published in 1805. Click on Volume 1, above.


The second volume on our shelf comprises the Supplement to Rev Rogers Ruding’s Annals of the Coinage of Great Britain and its Dependencies, updated in 1817. The Supplement contains much contemporary information from the period of the Coinage Crisis. Click on Volume 2 above.


The third of our nineteenth century works is Samuel Smiles’ comprehensive review of The Lives of Boulton and Watt. Though now outdated by modern research and in a style characteristic of its period, the work contains much information not easily found elsewhere. Click on Volume 3 above.

Smiles' Boulton & Watt