Good Money tells the fascinating story of British manufacturers' challenge to the
Crown's monopoly on coinage. In the 1780s, when the Industrial Revolution was gathering
momentum, the Royal Mint failed to produce enough small denomination coinage for
the factory owners to pay their workers. As the currency shortage threatened to derail
industrial progress, manufacturers began to mint custom-made coins, called 'tradesmen's
tokens.' Rapidly gaining wide acceptance, these tokens served as the nation's most
popular currency for wages and retail sales until 1824 when the Crown outlawed all
moneys except its own.
GOOD MONEY: Birmingham Button Makers, the Royal Mint, and the Beginnings of Modern
By George Selgin
Published 2008 by the University of Michigan Press.