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  • Washington Grate Halfpenny Tokens

    Washington Grate Halfpenny of 1795: Introduction

    This 1795 British copper halfpenny token was designed by Thomas Wyon of the Peter Kempson and Sons mint in Birmingham, England, for the London firm of Clark and Harris, dealers in stoves and fireplace grates. The obverse displays a bust of Washington facing right with the legend "G. WASHINGTON. THE FIRM FRIEND TO PEACE & HUMANITY." The reverse displays a large grate (a screen put in front of a fireplace) with LONDON and 1795 below. The reverse legend reads "PAYABLE BY CLARK & HARRIS 13. WORMWOOD St. BISHOPSGATE ." The "Grate" token is found in both the large button and the rarer small button varieties; referring to the relative size of the three buttons on Washington's coat. Most examples have a diagonally reeded edge but about 30 of the large button variety exist with the lettered edge: "PAYABLE AT LONDON LIVERPOOL OR BRISTOL."

    The "Grate" token was made for and used in England but has been collected as part of the American Colonial series because of the Washington bust and because of its relationship to the Liberty and Security series. The "Grate" halfpenny was designed by the same engraver who created the Liberty and Security "penny" and it uses a bust similar to the 1795 Liberty and Security "halfpenny".


    See: George Fuld, "Coinage Featuring George Washington,"in Coinage of the Confederation Period,  ed. by Philip L. Mossman, Coinage of the Americas Conference, Proceedings No. 11, held at the American Numismatic Society, October 28, 1995, New York: American Numismatic Society, 1996, pp. 165-259 on pp. 207-208.

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    Section Contents Washington Grate Halfpenny Tokens

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