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Princess Charlotte, School Merit Award Tokens Circa 1818

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Obv: H.R.H.THE PRINCESS CHARLOTTE / BORN JAN.17.1796.DIED NOV.6.1817 small H below bust.

Rev: 5 INTEGERS on central shield surrounded by scroll-work pattern. If you look above 'INTEGERS' you can see the inscription has been reworked.

Brass 33mm by Thomas Wright Hill. Undated but circa 1818 by my reckoning.


Thomas Wright Hill started his working life as a brassfounder but later(perhaps because of his large family & the cost of schooling) he purchased a school in 1802 & became a teacher/headmaster & taught his own children there, as well as others of course. His sons, one of whom Rowland Hill went on to lasting fame for his invention of the postage stamp, later assisted him in his schools. Obviously his previous experience as a brassfounder assisted him when he decided to issue his own school tokens.


As to why I date this as circa 1818, well 1817 is the earliest date possible and in 1819 the school was moved to a new purpose-built school designed by his son Rowland in Hazelbrook, called Hazelwood on Hagley Road in Edgbaston, where they issued new tokens for that school(earliest date for that school's token, that I can find, 1821), hence no more Charlotte.


The much more common token which you usually see is the 'PRINCESS CHARLOTTE 1/10TH or ONE DECEM', which I have 2 of, this much larger token is quite rare.


If you care to google Thomas Wright Hill & his son Roland there is a lot of info available online, not so for these tokens.

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The 'Integer'(latin: whole/complete) was the basic unit of currency for his metric system. 1 'Decem' = 1 tenth of an Integer, the smallest token 1/10 of an Integer = a Decem. An early example of decimalization in England. Thomas Wright Hill was very interested in Maths & Language & wrote extensively, he became a much respected academic & was invited to give lectures to fellow academics. Quite an achievement for someone of humble origin, in a very class conscious 19th century England. Some of his writings are online and cover, amongst other things, his early form of shorthand.

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  • 1 year later...

Just before Christmas I noticed an Ebay seller offering some Princess Charlotte tokens, he had listed a group of one 5 integer, two 1 integers & one decem(tenth of an integer). I already had a 5 integer & a decem which I had posted here in exonumia, so wanted one of the two 1 integers but could not justify bidding on the whole group. I noticed the seller had included a link in his description to my post on these Charlotte tokens & described it as an excellent article. So I asked if he would be kind enough to let whoever was the winner know that I was interested in buying one of the two 1 integers from him/her as I wished to post pics of it here on CoinPeople. The seller replied that he had brought a large mixed assorted collection & until he had read my post he had no idea what the Charlotte tokens included in the collection were & so he looked through the collection again & he had another AU I integer available and informed me that it would be his pleasure to send it to me free of charge, he would not even accept postage.


The kind dealer was the Sussex Coin Co, here is the One Integer Princess Charlotte School Merit award brass 26mm.



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  • 10 months later...

Looking at the picture I can see the lack of detail in her curls etc(compared to my example) but cannot tell if that is from post mint handling wear, worn dies or from being a copy. I have no reason from the picture to think it is a fake, perhaps a realy sharp, larger, higher resolution pic would be a help.


You are much better placed, having it in your possesion, to judge if it is genuine or not. Mine is not readily available or I would weigh it for you to compare to yours.


Sorry I am not being much help, could I ask what makes you think it is a modern copy?

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None of mine show discoloration either & handling wear is minimal to say the least, that is they all appear as almost just struck, the brass they used has stood the test of time.


Then the slight lack detail in the curls is just from worn dies. So I have no doubt it is genuine.

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These 'Charlottes' seldom show much if any handling wear, because, shortly after they were struck for use the school was relocated & renamed & another style of reward token was minted, So for being almost 200 year old, nicely designed, still in good condition, reasonable priced & only 3 in the set they are nice tokens to collect.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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