Non-state coinages have not received the same level of scholarly attention as state issues. Yet they have huge potential to help us understand not just non-state coinages of today but also money more broadly, how types become accepted and successful, or not. With over 10,000 issuers within 25 years British 17th-century trade tokens provide an excellent field for exploring these themes and many others.
This paper will present the initial results of my ongoing PhD research. It will provide a new national overview of this para-numismatic phenomenon and of token issuers. It will explore issuers’ motivations through numismatic and textual evidence. The tokens will be a springboard to wider questions around money issuer motivations using cross-period and international comparisons. In doing so it will provide broader insights into non-state coinages and credit instruments, with a particular focus on power relationships of issuers and acceptors, and on monies of the poor.