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New Brunswick Token


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May 1, 1843 New Brunswick's first official coins, the Penny and Halfpenny Copper tokens, commence circulation. Before this date prices were quoted in New Brunswick currency, although Spanish, British, or American coins were actually used.


New Brunswick -- a token of 1843 and a coin of 1854. The token was struck and circulated even against the explicit orders of the British Government. Still, in accordance with a Parliamentary Act, the province was provided with an almost identical coin eleven years later. The token was struck by Boulton & Watt and the coin by Ralph Heaton. There are many varieties based on the rigging of the ship, which because of the seafaring nature of many of the provinces, was a favored design element.


In 1843 the Province of New Brunswick decided to order the minting of penny and halfpenny tokens. "The Colonial Office," Charlton writes, "on being informed of the plan, was displeased and ordered the New Brunswick authorities to cease at once from proceeding with the proposed coinage. New Brunswick officials informed the Colonial Office that they had terminated their agreement, but secretly went ahead with their plans anyway. To make a long story short, Britain didn't find out about the 1843 New Brunswick halfpenny and penny tokens until much later, in 1854.Under the provisions of the Currency Act of 1852, the government of New Brunswick in June 1853 sought permission to issue a coinage of copper pennies and halfpennies," Charlton writes. After receiving sanction from the proper authorities, the coinage was struck by Heaton & Co. from modified 1843 reverse dies and completely new obverse dies.Charlton goes on to say the "dies were prepared by Leonard Charles Wyon, who used for the obverse head punch of the contemporary English coinage. These head punches were of the attractive young [Victoria] head designed by William Wyon.J.A.Haxby and R.C.Willey, in their book Coins of Canada, write "the word currency was used in place of token on the reverse. The use of currency indicated the official nature of the issue and also implied Halifax Currency, the standard at the time."

Richard W. Bird, in his excellent book Coins of New Brunswick, writes that 201 boxes of the copper currency arrived on board the ship John Barbour on December 18, 1854. He goes on to note the Province's new Lieutenant-Governor, John Henry Thomas Manners-Sutton, "issued the Proclamation making the new copper currency legal on January 8, 1855."







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