Conder Tokens

Question: What can you tell me about Conder tokens and why they have that name?

Answer: Conder tokens, also known as 18th Century Provincial Tokens, are privately minted tokens struck and used during the late 18th century and early 19th century in England, Anglesey and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland. The token coinage came about due to the shortage of small denomination coins for everyday transactions as well as factors related to the Industrial Revolution, population growth, and the preponderance of counterfeit circulating coins. To alleviate the shortage, private business owners and merchants took matters into their own hands, and the first tokens of this type were issued in 1787 to pay workers at the Parys Mine Company. By 1795, millions of tokens of thousands of designs had been struck and were in common use throughout Great Britain.

These items are called “Conder tokens” after James Conder, a British collector who prepared a listing of these in 1798 titled An Arrangement of Political Coins, Tokens, and Medalets, issued in Great Britain, Ireland and the Colonies, within the last 20 years, from the farthing to the penny size. While this was not the first listing of these tokens, the Conder name has stuck.

James Conder was born in 1761, lived in Ipswich, Suffolk, and was a collector as well as an issuer of tokens. His cabinet was auctioned in 1855 by Sotheby and Wilkinson in London. In 1910, The Provincial Coinage of the Eighteenth Century, by Richard Dalton and S.H. Hamer greatly updated information on the series and was nearly 570 pages in length. However, the Conder name is still used.

There are some Conder tokens that have connections to America, including several varieties of Washington tokes, the 1795 Franklin Press token, and the circa 1792 Kentucky tokens.

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