HALF PENNY TOKEN - MIDDLESEX - WILLIAM ALLEN
Date: A.D. 1795
Obverse: Coat of arms - PROMISSORY HALFPENNY
Reverse: Coat of arms - WILLIAM ALLEN LONDON 1795
Middlesex D & H 246a Half Penny Depicting coat of arms and the name William Allen
In the late 1600's to the late 1700's copper coinage was produced sporadically, sometimes not at all, for various reasons. Conder Tokens (named after James Conder) are copper coins (usually pennies and half pennies) Printed by towns, businesses, and organizations of all types to meet a need for low denomination coinage to pay wages and make change. Thousands of varieties of tokens were minted and many are beautiful and intricate.
About William Allen: William Allen (1770-1843), a Quaker, was born in Spitalfields, East London. He became a successful chemist at Plough Court near Lombard Street and for many years was a public lecturer in chemistry at the Royal Institution. He was active in a wide range of philanthropic projects: campaigning against slavery, visiting Newgate Prison with Elizabeth Fry, traveling in continental Europe to gain increased liberties for oppressed Greeks and persecuted Waldenses, and he was one of the founders of the British & Foreign School Society.
Allen was also interested in agricultural improvements, and improvements to the condition of agricultural laborers with allotments and education.