Pocket test scale for weighing coins

Contributed by Richard Law

Pocket test scale for weighing coins

This scale tests coins to check they are of full weight. From the earliest times, coins have been stamped with information about the issuer, whose reputation in the markets establishes metallic purity. The issued weight should be standard, but prior to milled edges, coins could be milked for a small amount of metal with a file and this gadget was made to protect its owner from being underpaid. The label reads 'The turn to be at the end for a guinea; the other way for half a guinea; and the slide at the cypher where it will stop. It stops several times in removing towards the centre; each a farthing above the standard. When gold is short of weight, remove the slide the other way where every division is a penny. Made by H BELL, Lancashire.' Many of the selected 100 objects have been coins, which helped develop trade and ultimately, accumulated wealth and banks, reflecting peoples' confidence in the value of the coins. This little scale dates from a time when that confidence was undermined by counterfeiters and clippers; a solution to a problem that was eventually dealt with when machinery was developed to press out tamper-proof coins with milled edges.

Comments are closed for this object

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.

About this object

Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline


Prescot, Lancashire


View more objects from people in Beds Herts Bucks.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.