ESCAPE & EVADE

      The success of the 18th Century tokens held the seeds of their failure. Less scrupulous producers took advantage of the better quality tokens by copying them, by reducing the copper content, and by making bogus offers of redemption. It is a principle of economics that bad coins drive out good, more correctly people will, if given the opportunity, hoard better specimens and pass on poorer. The most abject products of all were imitations of the old and now well worn regal coins deliberately designed to look thin and well used since this made them cheaper to produce as well as easier to pass. Since passing one of these was still a criminal offence, a final twist was given to the enterprise by altering the royal titles on one side and Britannia on the other to a lesser or greater extent, so that they could still be passed on to the illiterate, but could be defended as no forgery before an educated judge and jury.