Token: Great Britain John Bishop, Cheltenham  1811 and 1812
Token: Great Britain John Bishop, Cheltenham 1811 and 1812

This is a really cool old copper trade token. Issued by John Bishop & Company of Cheltenham (in Gloucestershire, England), it reads 'A POUND NOTE FOR 240 TOKENS GIVEN BY JOHN BISHOP & CO. CHELTENHAM 1812' on the obverse. The reverse shows an image of Saint Mary's church. Before decimalisation in 1971 (when 100 pennies became equal to one pound), there were twenty shillings to a pound. Each shilling equaled twelve pence -- so there were a total of 240 pence in one pound.

In the 18th and 19th century, it wasn't unusual for regional businesses to issue their own 'coinage' when there was a shortage of actual currency. It is important to note, however, that tokens like this one weren't necessarily meant to replace government-issued coinage; although many of these tokens have a monetary value included on them, the intent was that they would be used towards purchasing goods from a specific retailer or merchant.

Records show that John Bishop was a linen draper (cloth merchant) in London, but it is unclear when or why the business would've been moved to Cheltenham. It is an interesting token nonetheless. Because so many different merchants issued trade tokens with similar denominations and themes, most of them aren't very valuable unless they are in better condition. Here are some approximate values for this token:

Worn: $10 US dollars approximate catalog value
Average circulated: $20
Well preserved: $50
Fully uncirculated: $175

The copper token in our main picture comes from Spink in London, where it sold for 65 British pounds (about $100) during a 2011 auction. It would probably sell for more than that today.

The silver version of this token is even more valuable. Our secondary picture shows a nice example (also from Spink). Catalog values run like this:

Worn: $30 US dollars approximate catalog value
Average circulated: $80
Well preserved: $140
Fully uncirculated: $300

Please note that all values on this page are approximate catalog values. Be sure you understand how catalog values work. They are inflated values that are normally higher than actual buy and sell values. Refer to our Terminology page for a complete description of catalog values.

Coin: 19519 , Genre: Tokens
Requested by: Noel, Sat, 04-Jul-2015 12:23:04 GMT
Answered by: Todd, Sat, 04-Jul-2015 16:40:20 GMT
Requester description: 1812 Front has a church in the back with a path lined with trees leading up to it and the word 'value' tiny in the middle of the bottom and the words 'one penny' fairly large lining the bottom
The other side is only the words and they are worn and all a similar size. There is some sort of triangle on the very top
Tags: token great britain john bishop cheltenham jetton jets jeton ietton tokens exonumia jet jetons uk brit brittan brittain england britian britt english britan british brittish jean iohann juan joanes iov juana joannes iohn johan ioha ioh joan iohannes ion johann ioannes joao iohan ioan ionan johannes church path lined line trees tree one penny cent lining triangle cathedral shrine cathedrale katherdale cath cathederal lines bar bars ones peny cents pennys pennies triangular triangles shilling 20 shillings scilling schillings


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