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Thomas Spence, Copper Halfpenny, 1795, obv Spence's bust facing left. 1794 below, the 4 retrograde. Around the perimeter T * SPENCE * 7 MONTHS IMPRISON'D FOR HIGH TREASON *, rev A lion facing left with a cock standing on its back. LET TYRANTS TREMBLE AT THE CROW OF LIBERTY Ex: 1795, edge engrailed ( Atkins p. 123, 519b; D&H Middlesex 685b)
Near gem uncirculated with underlying original color. Rare.
Thomas Spence, (1750-1814), Newcastle schoolmaster and writer who moved to London in 1792, where he set up shop as a bookseller and became an active member of the London Corresponding Society. He allowed his home and shop to be used for meetings and, in May 1794, was arrested along with a dozen others, and remitted to Newgate Prison for his efforts. Upon release he entered the business of selling tokens, publishing a handbill listing twenty obverse and twenty reverse dies that could be ordered paired in any combination, and authoring an early guide to the series, The Coin Collector's Companion in 1795. He issued and sold a variety of tokens before quitting the business in late 1796; his stock and dies passing to Skidmore where they continued to be muled amongst themselves and with others then in Skidmore's posession.
Provenance: A H Baldwin & Sons, Auction 92, 30 September 2014, lot 709