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Manufactured at the Worcester Porcelain Company and distributed to the factory workers during the 1770s and early ’80s, the tokens were of great interest to the student of British commercial and social history, illustrating first hand the ingenuity of local industry in circumventing widespread currency shortages in the shires. Coin clipping (shaving the silver) was rife, and the banks, understandably, were loathe to fuel the problem with more coinage. In the tradition of paternal management, the Worcester Porcelain Company prevented its employees from falling into the temptation of coin clipping by issuing them instead with such porcelain tokens which could be exchanged with local tradesmen for consumer goods and eventually recycled into the factory.

Each token was embossed W.P.C. (for the company) and to the reverse with the following inscription: “I promise to pay the bearer on demand two shillings – W. Davis at the porcelain factory”.

Not many of these tokens are known to have survived. Several reside in private collections, one of the more widely documented being the Rous Lench one shilling example which can now be found in the Zorensky Collection. Four more are held by the Royal Worcester Museum. These three tokens, each measuring 4cm diameter, had been discovered by the present vendor’s grandfather in a secret compartment of an inglenook fireplace of a house in Halesowen, West Midlands in the late 1950s.