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.

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About this object

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Location

Prescot, Lancashire

Culture
Period
Theme
Size
H:
1.2cm
W:
14cm
D:
2.2cm
Colour
Material

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