Collection Highlight No. 2 - 1795 Middlesex-Forster's Token

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Lastufka Collection


This is the second in a series of posts which highlight various standout pieces from my personal collection.

Today we're taking a look at my 1795 Middlesex-Forster's token, one of the first pieces purchased for my Symphony Set. You can view hi-res pictures here (or just enjoy them in the video!).

Obverse: Crown and date surrounded by musical notation for "God Save The King", which is also the melody used for "America (My Country, Tis of Thee)".

Reverse: "WM Forster. Violin, Tenor & Violoncello Maker" along with the address in a double circle, surrounding The Prince of Wales’s crest.

Edge: Plain (some examples exist with lettered edges)

Tokens like these were produced by private individuals and businesses in the late 18th century as population growth and the Industrial Revolution spiked demand and the government failed to supply enough coinage for every day use.

This token was made by William Forster, a highly-regarded instrument maker. Forster had an instrument shop in London, which is advertised on the reverse of this token.

Forster was also a music publisher and he entered into a deal with the composer Joseph Haydn to publish Haydn's works, including numerous symphonies, quartets, and solos.

Thankfully tokens were popular coins to collect, even back at the end of the 18th century, so this high grade piece survives today. While it may not be rare or scarce or particularly valuable, it is one of the highlights of my Symphony Set and I treasure it for that reason.

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I'd be careful about blanket generalizations like "the date always goes on the obverse" - especially when you're getting into non-government issues, which may not feel the need to follow anyone else's "rules."

With the Netherlands 10G coins I collect, the date, mint mark and privy mark are all on the Reverse - because I don't think the side of the coin with the king's face is going to be the Reverse in this case.


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@Revenant Totally! Which is why I mentioned it is sometimes referred to as the reverse, I've seen listings describe it as both, there doesn't seem to be a consensus and maybe that's something Forster never even thought about, I don't know. I just didn't want to state "this is the obverse" so absolutely without mentioning that others call it the reverse, and then throwing in my two cents on why I consider it the obverse. Also, that's a nice 10G!

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4 minutes ago, Lastufka Collection said:

 Also, that's a nice 10G!

Thanks! One of only two of that date I've ever seen come up for sale and one I was very lucky to get to nab.

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