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Masonic Antiques & Collectables

Sketchley Masonic Provincial Trade Tokens

Sketchley Masonic Provincial Trade TokensA unique curiosity born out of an odd situation in 18th century England. Back in the old days it was not uncommon for the man in charge of the royal mint to be compensated based on monetary output. This being the case, it made little sense for him to waste precious resources producing low denomination currencies. This was compounded by the frequent mentality that the portrait of the king should appear on all monies and to appear on anything other than gold or silver was beneath his dignity. The problem with this was that the common people did not deal in silver or gold but rather dealt in base metals such as copper. This huge demand, met with a shortage of supply, caused thousands of enterprising citizens to begin minting their own currency. This was most often in the denomination of a half-penny and was generally accepted as currency throughout the vast realm of the English empire. One of these enterprising individuals happen to be a freemason, and as history would show, a very influential and well regarded one at that. Brother James Sketchley produced his own flavor of masonic half-pennies in the year 1794. They are often mistakenly assumed to be minted in 1790 because that is the date shown on them to commemorate the election of the Prince of Wales to the office of Grand Master. High quality specimens will range in price anywhere from $200 to $1500 depending on rarity and condition.
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