THE article written by Mark Page about the alternative form of cash currency known as Trade Tokens (Nostalgia January 29) has elicited a fair amount of response.
The Trade Token, valued at one half-penny, issued by “Richard Lucas of Wickham, 1670”, bearing a lion rampant and the inscription “Rather dead than disloyal” was first unearthed at Bowerdean, High Wycombe in 1940. Until the early 1920s Bowerdean was agricultural land, with three farms in its vicinity – Birch’s, Plaistowe’s and Phelp’s. There was also a wooded area, which is still known as Lucas Wood, perhaps named in the 17th century after Richard Lucas.
Geoff Swindells, like Mark a collector of Trade Tokens, has written to say “Thank you for this article. It helps to publicise a little-known use of coinage in times of difficulty. The 17th C token issuers were from all political affiliations and many of them held appointments as burgesses and, sometimes, Mayor. They also came from various religious persuasions, which could cause conflict. The tokens take us through the period of Cromwell’s puritan period and the first twelve years of Charles II’s restoration, periods of dispute and hardship for many ordinary people.”
Geoff continues “I also have tokens from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, for W Skull & Co grocers and tea dealers, and G Willis chair manufacturer, which were probably for advertising as much as spending money. More recently, I have a 25cent token for the NCO’s mess at USAF High Wycombe during WW2.”
Finally, and continuing the theme of advertising, reader David Wiltshire has sent in this image of “postage” stamps depicting the Guildhall end of the High St, and the caption “Wycombe Month”. These stamps were produced in the 1930s, but what was Wycombe Month?
All will be revealed in the Nostalgia page next week.