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Thomas Spence, Copper Halfpenny Obv A pig facing left trampling on emblems of royalty. A cap of liberty above. Upon a banner: Pigs meat Published by T. Spence London Rev Britannia seated facing right. ROUSE BRITANNIA Edge Plain (Conder p.290, 264; Atkins p. 133, 654a; D&H Middlesex 843a)
Near gem, toned uncirculated. The reverse softly struck up per usual for this variety. Scarce.
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 possession.