Leodis Hammered Coins


Coast Guard Wreck Service Token


Board of Trade proof of service at a wreck token, 1877 - 1972.

Obverse: A crown surrounded by the legend: PROOF OF . SERVICE AT A WRECK .

Reverse: A 3 masted sailing ship surrounded by the legend: BOARD OF TRADE . ROCKET APPARATUS .

EF with some lustre. A chunky piece with much historical interest attached. Scarce.

Material: bronze. Weight: 26.5mm. Diameter: 36.2mm. Thickness: 3.7mm.

Historical background

Apart from the officers in charge of stations, all other coastguards were volunteers and unpaid as is the case today.

However when they were called out and attended or assisted in a shipping casualty such as a shipwreck, they received a token payment. This may have been to deter pilfering of any cargo that was washed up from the wreck, or may simply have been a payment for services rendered.

Payment was made by the presentation of a wreck token to all those who attended. It could then be exchanged later for the appropriate payment for the service rendered. E.g.:

Turnout - 2/6d.

Attending a wreck - 5/-.

Saving a life - £1.0.0.

Over the years the payment was modified as appropriate; this payment seems small today but was fairly substantial at the time.

The tokens were commissioned by the Board of Trade (latterly the Coastguard). They were designed & an initial order for 3,000 was delivered in 1877 at a cost of £10.0.0.

A subsequent order for 1,000 was delivered in August 1883.

25 wreck tokens were issued to each coastguard station and were stored in a canvas bag and held at the station.

The tokens became obsolete in 1972 and were subsequently recalled.
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  • Stock No.: L9160

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