Clown Penny Token from Victorian England

This undated coin is a bit of a conundrum to me. It is in fine to very fine shape – I’ll grade it VF20.

One side of the token shows the legend “Clown” and the denomination “1 D“. An underlined d was commonly used as shorthand for the word penny in England and some of the British colonies in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Victorian England Clown Penny Reverse

Victorian England Clown Penny Reverse

This is confirmed by the other side of the coin, which reads only “One Penny”. That’s got to be one of the most boring reverses I’ve ever seen on a coin.

Victorian England Clown Penny Obverse

Victorian England Clown Penny Obverse

Identification code: unknown

Date: Approximately 1900? There was a coin shortage from the 1790’s to about 1870, but pennies at that time were much larger than this coin.

Mint Mark: n/a

Mintage: unknown (but I have not seen any coin like this, so presumably few were minted)

Country of origin: unknown

Composition: Brass?

Size: 18 mm

Weight: unknown

Other details: Did you know that the origins of the word “penny” are pretty murky? The word “penniless” dates to at least the14th century, which means that pennies must have been in use before that.

The use of an underlined D (ie; d) to indicate a penny has been found on ledger books from the 17th century, and it may date back to the Roman Denarius coin.

Estimated Value: unknown (I paid approximately $2 for this piece as part of a lot)

2 responses to “Clown Penny Token from Victorian England

  1. i’ve just bought 4 of these and like you would be interested in the origins. i’ll let you know. Martin

  2. Hi,

    I have a similar token for 2d and numbered on the front. I am led to believe they were in-house amusement machine tokens from the early 1930-1960.
    Clown Amusements were based in Uk, and made most of the coin machines in arcades at the time.

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