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Status: research in progress.


This penny token was issued in Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland, in 1677. There were many local trade tokens issued in Ireland during this period due to a shortage of official coinage; little documentation remains about many of these.

I obtained this coin as a novelty, but when I had difficulty evaluating its worth, I decided to research its history and learn its story. I became even more motivated to learn about this coin when I discovered that some of my ancestors are from the vicinity of Kinsale.

The coin is listed in Trade Tokens Issued in the Seventeenth Century in England, Wales and Ireland by William Boyne. It is number 547, on page 1398 in volume II. Boyne conjectures that the token was made by William Ballard, since the only other token of similar type with edge inscription is known to be the work of Ballard. However, according to the Council Book of the Corporation of Kinsale, 1652-1800, William Ballard died in late 1653. All mentions of William Ballard in the Council Book are dated 1652-1653. There’s no mention in the council book of this specific penny, but Nathaniel Cox was commissioned to make coins in the late 1660s, so my current guess is that it is him. There are some references in early 1678 to authorizing the minting of additional coinage reusing the most recent design.

I thought the portcullis design might have something to do with the construction of Charles Fort, which was constructed in the late 1670s.

I researched this a long time ago and didn’t keep good notes on what I found. Would be good to find something specific connecting the coin to the fort, or something. Need to read the Council Book more carefully to see if I missed specific mention of the coin or the fort. Can also search for other references discussing Charles Fort or Nathaniel Cox.

Stir the pot!

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