Mention 18th Century tradesmen’s tokens, and it won’t be long before the name ‘Conder’
comes into the conversation. Many, if not most, American collectors of these tokens
use the name as a generic description, thus: ‘Conder Tokens.’ But it may be less
well known that the reason for the association is because James Conder, a merchant
from Ipswich, was one of the first to publish a catalogue of ‘provincial coins’ even
while they remained in circulation. Interestingly, though, the Preface by James Wright
of Dundee foresees the end of tokens with the comment: ‘The massy national coinage,
however, now on the anvil of fabrication for Government, by that ingenious and useful
member of society, Mr Boulton, is likely soon to supplant the whole.’
Compared to later works, specifically the major publication by Dalton & Hamer which
is still the only comprehensive catalogue, Conder’s work is painstaking but relatively
unsophisticated. But it is of historic interest as it was aimed at, and bought by,
collectors who could still find tokens in their everyday change.
Original copies of Conder’s book are scarce and quite expensive, but Google Books
have scanned a copy and this is available free. Just click on the title page above,
and a .pdf file will download which contains the full text.
Please note, though, that as the original work contains 371 pages, the file size
is a fairly chunky 7.4MB
AN ARRANGEMENT OF PROVINCIAL COINS, TOKENS & MEDALETS Issued in Great Britain, Ireland
and the Colonies, within the past twenty years; from the farthing to the penny size.