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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

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.


By James Conder

Published 1798 by George Jermyn, Ipswich.