Conder tokens is a fascinating area of collecting where tokens and coins intersect. In the late 18th century Great Britain, there was a serious shortage of small change for everyday trade. The government didn't do much to fix this, so many private businesses took it into their own hands, and started minting a large variety of tokens. A small part of the workers' pay would be paid out in these tokens, and they were soon circulating freely in place of the scarce government farthings, halfpennies and pennies.
The name 'Conder Tokens' comes from the man James Conder, a British numismatist who wrote a book, published in 1798, with the title An arrangement of Provincial Coins, tokens, and medalets issued in Great Britain, Ireland, and the colonies, within the last twenty years, from the farthing to the penny size. Ipswich.
The design with Isaac Newton is loved by many, and comes in both the farthing and halfpenny denominations. The farthing has a cornucopia (horn of plenty) and a branch of leaves, along with the word 'FARTHING' at the top. The halfpenny has is larger, and has and added caduceus, two snakes coiled around a winged scepter, going through the branch and cornucopia.
Values are about the same for both denominations, as outlined below:
worn: $18 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $45
well preserved: $80
fully uncirculated: $750
The strikes on these coins are often partly incomplete - it is not uncommon for the fine details in the curls of Newton's hair, or in the leaves on the oak branch, to be slightly incomplete, even on almost uncirculated coins. Wear is best told by the partial or complete loss of luster, and for the halfpenny, where the snakes cross each other on the caduceus. For the farthing, a good tell of the coin's state of wear is how complete the lined pattern on the cornucopia is.
The superb specimen in our main picture comes from respected eBay seller ThisnThatShopping09 in Arizona, USA. CoinQuest thanks ThisnThat for use of their coin image, it's a beauty!
Remember that any damaged coin will be worth much less than the values quoted above, which are catalog values - refer to our 'Important Terminology' page on the top left in order to properly interpret these values.