HOPS AND CROPS

      Tokens were often useful in monitoring output in industries where the workers were not kept under close supervision in a factory building. Some of the earliest relate to the first period of underground coal mining, but the most frequent use was in agriculture, and the most common agricultural use was in the hop yards of Kent and Sussex. Hop tokens are some of the crudest that can be met with, as most were produced by the local blacksmith or on the farm itself. The huge labour requirements during the hop harvest could only be met by a temporary influx of urban visitors who would earn tokens according to the number of bushels of hops harvested, redeemable for cash at the end of the week.

      More generally the horticultural industry operated similar systems, but the tokens are usually brass with a monetary value and are similar to those used in other contexts, so that it may be difficult to distinguish less explicit examples from market or even inn tokens.