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What is this coin ?


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This is a circa 1840's piece, during the late 1840's there was some debate about decimalising the British currency and several minting outlets put out proposals - but this piece is really rather more of a play money type piece created for 19th century collectors or even kids using them as "dollhouse" money. They are relatively common even now because they were made into the many hundreds of thousands. A lot of them can be traced to a manufacturer in Germany by the name of Lauer. These pieces typically sell for about £5 or approx. $7.50 nowadays.

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It is a school merit award token, not worth much monetarily.


Name HRH Princess Charlotte ; Obv: THE H.R.H PRINCESS CHARLOTTE ; Rev: ONE.DECEM / 1/10

country: UK ; material: brass; denomination: school merit award

artist: Thomas Wright Hill

size mm: 20 reeded edge/plain edge is rarer

ref: Rodger #290, Batty 4879 A. I believe circa 1818, see below for a higher denomination token.




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 ONE DECEM', which I have 2 of, this much larger token is quite rare.


The 'Integer'(latin: whole/complete) was the basic unit of currency for his metric system. 1 'Decem' = 1 tenth of an Integer.


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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