All collections » Tokens » Exeter Halfpenny
On the front side of the token, the figure of Bishop Blaise (Saint Blaise) is depicted for three quarters, holding a comb for combing wool in his left hand and an open book in his right hand. The circle legend reads: "SUCCESS TO THE WOOLLEN MANUFACTORY".
According to the breviary, Blaise was Bishop of Sebastia in Cappadocia, an ancient province of Asia Minor, and was martyred by the pagans around 300 AD. He was scourged, then his body was torn apart with iron combs and beheaded. Blaise is said to have brought prosperity to England by teaching the English how to comb out wool and is the patron saint of wool weavers and merchants. Exeter's wool trade goes back a long way, with the first wool mills being mentioned in the affairs of Edward I (1239–1307), which increased significantly during the reign of Henry VIII (1491–1547). The wool spoolers held their meetings in a building called Tucker's Hall. Later, in 1559, they were united in trade guilds under the governor and four consuls. At the end of the reign of William III (1650–1702), Exeter had its own mint. On the coins that were minted on it, the letter E is depicted under the bust of the king.
The reverse side depicts the coat of arms and the motto of the city of Exeter. Behind the shield, the coat of arms depicts a crossed sword and mace, on top of which are royal crowns. The coat of arms is surmounted by a hat given to the city along with a sword by King Henry VII (1457–1509), which the burgomaster had to wear at all official events in the city. The shield on the coat of arms is divided in half in red and black, on top of it there is a triangle of golden towers. On top of the shield is a red lion holding an orb. The coat of arms is supported by two silver Pegasuses with golden manes and hooves. The motto on the coat of arms reads: "Semper fidelis" (Always faithful).
The ledge says that the token is payable at Samuel Kingdon's warehouse (PAYABLE AT THE WAREHOUSE OF SAMUEL KINGDON .X.).
Engraver and manufacturer Hancock.