Silver half crown token with a view of Staverton Mill – £3000 at Dix Noonan Webb.

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Comprising 115 lots, the highest price was achieved by a rare half crown token dating from 1811 showing a view of Staverton Mill in Wiltshire. Guided at £2000-3000, it was bought by a collector in the US at the top estimate.

Silver tokens of such relatively high value are typically much scarcer than the copper tokens that were widely issued as halfpennies, farthings or pennies to fulfil a need for small change. Typically, the minting of tokens of larger denominations was frowned on by the authorities and only tolerated at times of a wider shortage of silver coins.

This particular token, one of the classic examples in the entire series, was issued in 1811 by John Jones, the proprietor of the Staverton Super-fine Woollen Manufactory. The mill sited on the Avon was said to house 40 looms and the very latest in textile technology. When hostilities between the industrialist and local wool shearmen who feared for their livelihoods reached a peak in 1808, Jones was attacked and shot in the face. His offer of a £500 reward for the capture of the culprits was never claimed.

The year after this coin (and a similar copper penny) was issued, Jones was declared bankrupt in November 1812 and he died within weeks. The mill as depicted on the token, engraved by Thomas Wyon, later burnt down in 1824. Another building was erected on the site the following year and was acquired in 1897 by the Anglo-Swiss Condensing Milk Co, better known today as Nestlé

It is thought to be only the third example of this token offered at auction in the past 30 years, with others selling for £1950 (May 1999) and £1600 (March 2003).