All collections » Tokens » Denton's Farthing
The obverse features a circular
legend: "DENTON SMITHFIELD" with a floral design separating the words; inside
the legend there is an inscription in four lines: "DEALER IN COINS HOSPITAL
The reverse side shows two simpletons facing each other and a circular inscription: "WE THREE BLOCKHEADS BE".
Dalton & Hamer: 1053
The witty circular inscription on the reverse side “We are three blockheads” (WE THREE BLOCKHEADS BE) gives rise to a logical question “Where is the third blockhead?”; and then, automatically, the answer is that it is “You”, the one who looks at this token.
Matthew Denton (Matthew Denton 1771-1838) was a publisher and numismatic dealer at Gate Hospital, West Smithfield in London, where he produced The Virtuoso's Companion and Coin Collector's Guide in 8 volumes with engraver Thomas Prattent , each of which contained 30 sheets with well-drawn engravings of 4 coins on each. In the first volume, the frontispiece is an engraving by Prattent entitled "History protecting Medals from the Ravages of Time".The Virtuoso's Companion and Coin Collector's Guide, Thomas Prattent, 1795
Stamp engraver Russell, manufacturer unknown. Many copies have been found along with tokens produced by Skidmore's, so this issue was most likely produced at the Clerkenwell factory.