Deanston Mill Token

We have found a good few of these at our last few digs. Thanks to Stuart (Imadeus) for doing some good research to bring the finds alive again.
Rare Deanston Cotton Mills Perth (Perthshire) copper halfpenny token undated. Obverse: Overstrike in relief : “DEANSTON COTTON MILL”. Reverse: Blank. The Adelphi Cotton Mills (also known as Deanston) were built in 1785 by John Buchanan of Carston and his brothers. They employed around 700 workers at that time, but since it was a predominantly agricultural area, they had difficulty in maintaining the workforce and the resulting financial problems forced them to sell the mills in January 1794. An account of a fire at the mills in December 1794 indicates that the then owners were Joseph Samuel and William Twigg. In 1808 the mills were bought by Kirkman Finlay and in 1837 they are listed under James Finlay & Co. The mill owners faced a major problem trying to pay their large workforce and overcame it by purchasing worn scrap “bad” halfpennies and overstriking them in their own name. They were then given as pay to the workers, possibly as truck tokens redeemable in the owner’s shop. The Deanston tokens were probably issued after 1794. Listed in Davis as “R – RARE”.

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4 Responses to Deanston Mill Token

  1. Richard Muszynski says:

    I have one of these, in good condition apart from a warped edge.

  2. Richard Muszynski says:

    Thanks for replying. I’ve just finished typing this and realised it’s quite long and with a slight digression into coins but I’m sure you’ll forgive that. No, not on one of your digs. It turned up just randomly in a small bunch of old coins I got at the Barras in Glasgow many, many years ago like 30 odd. I had looked through them and thought ah, a mill ‘token’ but although that was interesting I thought nothing much more of it for a very long time. Then I looked it up about 3 years ago and with it saying ‘Deanston Cotton Mill’ that made it very easy to find. I did email the current distillery venue where the mill used to be but I got no reply which was a pity as I felt they should have at least one. I assume they will do by now though and especially if you folks are digging them up, which is great and maybe the earlier editions too(?). You’re doing well if you unearth any with little or no verdigris or other corrosion caused by the ground over such a long period.
    When I say mine is in ‘good’ condition I mean it has good definition but has the classic lovely dark browny/bronze patina. I have not cleaned it in any way and I know better than to ever to polish any ‘coin’ and I stongly assume that’s true for tokens as well – yes, I’m sure it will be and as with any numismatics. It’s got no noticable scratches and has been in a separate plastic coin wallet for years now in a box with some silicon sachets to absorb any moisture. I do the same with a very rare 1860 copper farthing I have. The last year of British coins made in copper was 1859 but a very few farthings dated 1860 got out made in copper – (the tell tail thing being that the date is on the obverse not the reverse) . I collect other noted UK coins post 1860 but it’s by far the rarest. Condition is paramount though in coin collecting as I’m sure you’ll know so it will not be worth a great deal but I do enjoy having it just for the the rarity alone.

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