Great Britain 1789 Halfpenny Conder Token, Durham, South Shields. DH-7, MS65BN PCGS. Obv. a nicely detailed three-masted sailing ship with SUCCESS TO THE COAL TRADE around. Rev. coat of arms bisecting date 17 | 89, windlass above, ASSOCIATED IRISH MINERS ARMS around. Edge: PAYABLE IN LONDON, and engrailed – x – . A beautiful blue-toned Gem Brown example of this handsome and beautifully designed token (engraved by one of the Wyon family members, we believe), the sole finest Brown example so certified at PCGS (3/2021). The design is struck a tad off-center on the flan towards 6 o’clock on the obverse (ship) side, and correspondingly at 12 o’clock on the reverse (date) side. A small planchet flaw also occurs in that area, along with a couple of small digs on the reverse. Beautiful luster and a bold strike of this excellently sculptural design more than compensate, as does the delightful bluish patina developed over time. This design is not seen that often—certainly not in such excellent condition.
We couldn’t resist including the closeup photo of the figurehead on the front of the ship. We’re not sure exactly who it is, but we must insist that any resemblance to Jiminy Cricket is purely coincidental!
Background: South Shields is an important port and coastal town in northeast England near Newcastle on Tyne and the mouth of the Tyne River. This piece seems to pay tribute to the importation of Irish coal, which continues to this day.