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Token of Ioanes Hovell

This find was unearthed by Colin Barton. It’s a 17th century token, which is in well above average condition for a detecting find.

     Within the inner circle on the obverse is a shield bearing the arms of the Grocers’ Company. The surrounding outer legend reads * IOANES * HOVEL and this is the name of the issuer.

On the reverse, in two lines within the inner circle, is * I * H F. On this side the outer legend reads * OF * SOHAM * 1658.

The preceding details add up to this token being a farthing, which was made to circulate in Soham in Cambridgeshire.  In Seventeenth Century Tokens of the British Isles and Their Values by Michael Dickinson this token is listed as number 172 on page 34.

Ioanes Hovell issued farthings bearing two dates: 1654 and 1658. The basic design is the same but the later date seems to be much rarer than the earlier one.


Colin’s find looks to be in VF condition with no corrosion or any other defects. It’s got good eye appeal and if I was cataloguing it for sale at auction my pre-sale estimate wouldn’t be any lower than £120 to £150.

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