Metal detecting holidays in England

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Lead tokens - classic designs are long cross and weave/flower patterns

Lead, as it is soft and prone to oxidisation, has rarely been used for coinage proper, and never in England. However, since it is cheap and easy to melt and cast, coin-like objects of lead, and sometimes also of pewter and tin, were widely produced in medieval times up to the nineteenth century. These lead pieces probably had a range of functions, perhaps a cheaper versions of reckoning counters and as token coinage in small scale dealings, and more certainly, as chits, tickets or passes. Ecclesiastical bodies used such tokens to register attendance at services. In most cases it is impossible to ascribe a particular function to these lead pieces.

  • The oldest lead tokens in Britain, known as tesserae, date from Roman times and are not very common. Little is known about them.
  • Several medieval series in pewter, as described by Mitchiner, are generally thought of as being deriving from London and other large cities. They include various pieces debatably thought to be tavern tokens, counters or for ecclesiastical use, although the latter types are not necessarily to be identified with communion tokens. The supposed ecclesiastical pieces are often extremely small, with a diameter of about 11mm.. The earliest of these series date from about 1200 and are thought to have been a token coinage used by pilgrims.
  • The main 17th century token series is almost entirely in copper and brass, but seems to have some kinship in design with a few of the better-designed lead pieces; in particular, in the way that they use issuers' initials.
  • The mainly Scottish communion token series is contemporary and struck at similar date almost solely in lead; it will have little in common in terms of usage, but could be confused in the early years where there was extreme simplicity of design.
  • The hop token series as defined by Alan Henderson, starting c.1770 and continuing until the late 19th century, seems to emerge naturally from agricultural lead and is probably that with which it has most affinity. The range of numeric values {1,3,6,12,30,60,120}, usually indicating volume in bushels, is mirrored on a number of crude leaden pieces.
  • Lead token classifiacations

Bob Alvey, 1980s Proposed list, 2004

  1. Petalled flower Petalled flower
  2. Initials Initials
  3. Segments Segments
  4. Lis Lis
  5. Anchors Anchors
  6. Ship Ship
  7. Hatching Hatching/Grid
  8. Birds Numeral
  9. Keys Irregular or compound geometric
  10. Heads Heads and busts
  11. Bottles Tavern Utensils
  12. Squared Geometric Squared Geometric
  13. Head of Wheat Framework
  14. Kite Crosses
  15. Religious Religious
  16. Arms Arms, shields or heraldic designs
  17. Trees and Plants Trees and Plants, and their produce
  18. Birds
  19. Animals, including fish and insects
  20. Merchant Marks & other monograms
  21. Trades, other than milling
  22. Mill-related
  23. Buildings
  24. Obscure characters
  25. Misc objects {royal and imperial}
  26. Misc objects {celestial}
  27. Misc objects {other}
  28. Outer rim series {several}
  29. Words or significant abbreviations
  30. Pellets or other simple designs
  31. Circular or elliptical geometric
  32. People, other than heads

Great reference site for lead tokens and explanations of types

http://www.mernick.org.uk/lnc/dpowell/leadtokens.htm

 

Medieval lead tokens 1200 - 1500 AD

 

 
 

Very unusual double sided type 2 medieval lead token

 
Lead tokens all periods
17thC lead trade token
17thC lead trade token
17thC lead trade token
17thC lead token
17thC lead trade token
17thC lead trade token
16th C Elizabeth 1st prohibited lead tavern pieces - glass and bottle
16th C Elizabeth 1st prohibited lead tavern pieces - bottle flowing into glass
 
17thC lead trade token
17thC lead trade token
17thC lead token - rider on horse
Roman lead token - very similar to 17thC examples
C10thC Saxon lead token
17thC lead token - man standing
15thC Medieval Boy Bishop lead token
17thC lead token with star design
17th lead tarde token
Medieval lead token - cross between a Boy Bishop token and a long cross type - at a pinch it could be a Saxon example
15thC lead trade token

Medieval Boy Bishop lead token

Obv Long cross and pellet

Rev Bishop mitre

17thC token like the Obv of a Charles 1st coin with the shield and harp.

The legend reads SVFFOLK which means it is a Suffolk token

Stunning 16thC lead token

Obv Spread eagle

Obv Tudor Rose

Rare C1480 AD Boy Bishop token for this area, at 26.22mm dia it is a large token based on the long cross groat coin of the period

16thC Elizabeth 1st lead token 2.75g, 17.85mm - Portcullis with E at centre

Obv ***** ERIXE.DEI

Rev XXIIII

17thC lead trade token
17thC lead trade token
Anglo saxon lead token
17thC lead trade token
Roman lead trade token
Saxon token or gaming piece
Saxon coin weight or token ?
17thC lead trade token
Medieval lead token - cross between a Boy Bishop token and a long cross type - at a pinch it could be a Saxon example
Possible Saxon period lead token
Medieval Boy Bishop lead token
Medieval Boy Bishop lead token
17thC lead token with star design
Medieval lead token
17thC lead token
17thC lead trade token
16thC Elizabethan illegal lead pub token - flask and cup design
Roman lead token
Roman lead token - bust facing left
16thC Elizabethan illegal lead pub token - flask and cup design
Excellent 14th/15thC lead token - shield and pellet type
Medieval lead gaming piece
17thC lead trade token
1603 James 1st lead token
17thC lead token - Anchor type
Medieval lead gaming piece or token ?
Roman lead token
Roman lead token
17thC lead token
Roman lead token
Saxon lead token
17thC lead trade token
Roman lead token
Roman lead token
Roman lead token
Roman lead token
17thC lead trade token
17thC lead token
Roman lead token
Roman lead token

Roman lead token

Obv Roman bust

Rev One figure standing - one seated

17thC lead token

Roman lead token

Obv Roman bust

Medieval 'boy bishop' style lead token
First dated 18thC lead token I have seen dated 1754
1603 James 1st lead token
18thC Navy lead token
17thC lead token
Roman lead token
17thC lead token - double headed eagle Roman lead token
Roman lead token
17thC lead token
Saxon looking lead token
17thC lead token
17thC lead token
17thC lead token 17thC lead token
17thC lead token 17thC lead token
17thC lead token Medieval lead Boy Bishop token
17thC lead token Medieval lead gaming piece 17thC lead token
17thC lead token 17thC lead token 17thC lead token
Roman lead token 17thC lead token
1603 James 1st lead token 17thC lead token
17thC lead token Roman lead token
18thC lead token 17thC lead token
Early medieval lead token Roman lead token
17thC lead token 17thC lead token
Medieval lead token Excellent medieval lead token - bear bating sceens both sides
17thC lead trade token Roman lead token
17thC lead token Roman lead token
17thC lead trade token Saxon lead token 16thC Elizabethan illegal pub token

Great find, large 17thC lead medallion - matches smaller tokens of the period

Very rare find, 15thC type 2 lead long cross and pellets lead token but with a detailed obverse. Appears to be two sword/daggers with the letter N

Very unusual 17thC lead token with shield design Medieval boy bishop style lead token 17thC lead token
17thC lead token Medieval Boy Bishop lead token 17thC lead token
17thC lead token 17thC lead token 17thC lead token
17thC lead token 17thC lead token 17thC lead token
17thC lead token 17thC lead token 17thC lead token
17thC lead token 17thC lead token 17thC lead token
17thC lead token 17thC lead token - L Early medieval lead token
16thC Elizabethan illegal tavern token 17thC lead token 17thC lead token - HD 17thC lead token - J
Early medieval lead token Medieval lead token

17thC lead token

Obv H W T

Obv Boars head facing right

Unusually large 17th lead token Medieval lead Boy Bishop token
Medieval lead token Medieval lead token 17thC lead token 17thC lead token
17th lead token 17th lead token Early medieval lead token
17th lead token 16thc Tudor illegal lead tavern token - wine and goblet 17thC lead token
17th lead token 17th lead token 17th lead token 17th lead token

17thC lead token

Obv Bird

Rev Bust facing right

17th lead token 17th lead token