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Finally, I have bought the piece I’ve always wanted

25 posts in this topic

It is a 1797 Conder token, catalogued in the Dalton and Hamer reference book as from the county of Middlesex 906. For 18th Century English Provincial token collectors, it is one of the most popular and desired tokens to possess (minimally, at least for this collector) of 1000s of different varieties that can be accumulated! It is considered rare with less than 75 made. Collectors label it the “wild man” token.


It was produced for a merchant by the name of Richard Summers who was located in the West End of London. He was a dealer in curiosities, but also sold perfume (R.C. Bell – Tradesmen’s Tickets and Private Tokens). Unlike some earlier tokens created for small change (in response to the refusal of the King to produce anything but silver and gold pieces), this piece was likely made for contemporary collectors who became fascinated with the craftsmanship of their makers. Here are the seller’s pics (Jerry Bobbe):




The Obverse


It is a man or is it an ape? I could imagine such a figure or mask displayed in Mr. Summer’s shop to entice interest among his customers or to create an ambience of the exotic. The token’s legend reads: “A WILD MANS HEAD FROM THE LAND OF JESSO TO BE SEEN AT” and the statement continues on the reverse. The Land of Jesso was not a real place and can be seen on old maps to represent unexplored or unknown areas. A web reference states:


“…."Jesso" can be said to be a combination of Hokkaido, Sakhalin and southeast Siberia. The indigenous group known as the Ainu are native to both Hokkaido and Sakhalin, so the unfortunate "wild man" was presumably of that ethnic group. The alternative, of course, is that the head wasn't a real human head, and that Mr Summers crafted it himself. He would then have chosen "Jesso", on the far side of the world, because nobody would have known any better to contradict him.” http://www.coincommunity.com/forum/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=23742


I’ve taken an off angle picture that I think elicits the appropriate “terror” response!




The Reverse


In the middle is Richard Summers’ cypher RS. The outer edge continues the sentence from the obverse with his business address. He advertises that “PAINTINGS BOUGHT SOLD AND EXCHANGED”. Here’s another off angle picture that captures the 100% red color (amazing for something this old):




The Pedigree


Another compelling aspect to this piece is its pedigree that I would be remiss in not sharing. It was once owned by Wayne Anderson who was an early copper specialist who assembled an extensive Conder token collection. He commissioned Allan Davisson to auction his collection that was conducted in April 2000 soon after his death from cancer. The auction catalogue states: “Wayne’s goal was to have the finest possible example of each piece he collected. He understood the issues involved – flan, strike, die polishing, flan polishing before the strike, surface, natural color, long term storage effects – and was constantly refining his collection.” He also possessed a major collection of rare marbles and was an expert on custom knives (Davissons Ltd. catalogue - Auction Thirteen, Part II, The Wayne Anderson Collection).


Wayne Anderson was also the founder of the CTCC – the Conder Token Collectors Club, of which I am a member, and its first editor of their quarterly journal.


In a tiny way, I hope to honor his memory by this post.




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the obverse is SUPERB!!


the engraver/ die sinker is a genius


AMAZING TOKEN AND if this was at double what you paid at an early coin dealers table at the summer ana IT WOULD BE EASILY SOLD


one of the best threads on here of any token with explaination i have yet to see


mostly token



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Congratulations...I love a coin/token/medal that comes with a great story...great posts like this are why I visit these boards..thanks

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Congratulations Catbert!


This token is definitely on my short "someday" list! It's one of the few Conder tokens that comes with a lightside pricetag and is worth every penny paid. This one comes with an excellent pedigree to boot.

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There are only a small handfull of Conder tokens that are in my "one of my favorites" group and this is one of them. Superb.

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Thanks to all for your compliments and for your appreciation of the wild man piece! I am awestruck at the cleverness and skill shown in the design of many Conder tokens. And, as part of the collecting experience, the opportunity to explore a slice of history at the same time is very compelling and rewarding to me.

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I have seen and lusted after this token at Cheapside Tokens (VCoins), congratulations on acquiring such a nice one.


Also, your "off-angle" photo is outstanding and is my new desktop.


I'm still taking baby steps with Conder Tokens and my must-have Conder currently is the Middlesex 414, aka the Pidcock's.


I almost had an uncirculated one the other day but was outbid. :cry:

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