Dundee half penny trade token, 1797. The obverse depicts a man wearing a long jacket and a ribboned hat, weaving flax at a trestle table. The inscription reads 'FLAX AND HEMP IMPORTED HERE IN 1796. VALUE L160,128 - 3.336 TONS'. The inscription in the field reads 'FLAX HECKLING, W: DES:'
The reverse design shows a grand three-storied building. shown with two elevations visible. The inscription reads 'DUNDEE HALFPENNY, 1797. DUDHOPE CASTLE, FOUND. 1660. CONVERTED INTO BARRACKS'.
Trade tokens were issued by merchants, to provide small change during times of shortages of copper coins. Trade tokens were used in a system similar to bartering, where a token was used as an alternative form of payment for goods, with the agreement that the token could then be exchanged later for goods in the merchants’ shop or warehouse.
This token from Dundee features an unusual inscription, which details the value and quantity of flax and hemp that was imported into Dundee during the year 1796; 3,336 tons, at a value of £160,128 (about £17,000,000 in today’s money).