Mining tokens provide so many stories that Howard’s taken just a few from the current auction to elaborate on them.
Mining was one of the industries that became unionised. This token from the North Stafford Miners Federation illustrates a particular feature of all early Mining Union badges – they all have two holes The practice dates back to the earliest days when trade unions were illegal so members had to be secretive. Thereford the membership pass was sewn to the inside of the mans jacket lapel. This made any allegiance not outwardly visible but easily accessed. This Staffordshire Miners Federation badge is unusual in that it has a portrait of Enoch Edwards (1852-1912), a pioneer Trade Unionist. Edwards was President of the Miners Federation of Great Britain in 1904. He became an MP in 1906 until he died in 1912.
Lot MB79-32 is an odd-shaped badge from Yorkshire Miners Association, Houghton, made to look like one of the coal tubs with little wheels. We can’t remember having had anything like it before
This is a reminder should we need one that mining was and still is a dangerous occupation. The key to the morphine cabinet had an engraved fob attached. Alan Marshall, to whom this collection belonged, was a member of the mine rescue team, and worked all over Yorkshire – hence the large number of Yorkshire checks in this sale.
One of the most curious is the following check from Charity Colliery. The story starts with Rev. Nicholas Chamberlaine (1632-1715) whose legacy created a charity in Bedworth, Warwickshire. It was the Charity that owned the land and sunk the pit in 1831. This ownership provided funds for the Charity which provided education & health provision as well as almshouses. It was a successful venture. However the trustees did not want to be involved in the running of the venture and in 1841 the pit was sold. Stanley Brothers Limited took over in 1898 and ran it until the pit closed in 1924.