Monday, July 8, 2013

More Glasgow Squares: From the Royal Burgh to the Countryside

It has been quite an adventure tracking the trail of Glasgow-styled squares as they spread across the countryside.
     In a previous post, we could see how the Glasgow issues of 1714, 1716 and 1725 set the template for many similar CTs to come -- consider also the similarity of these issues with mid-seventeenth century trade tokens (except that the trade tokens were round).
     The earliest renditions of the Glasgow square (GS) appeared in villages located just outside Glasgow. In 1735, Inchinnan in Renfrew (nine miles NW of the city) produced a small GS of 19mm. A few years later, in 1742, Cambuslang (only 6 miles south of the city, but still in Lanark) used a similar GS, also measuring 19mm.
An early GS from Cambuslang dated
1742. The initials in the middle are
for Minister William McCulloch.
     Within a year or two, four churches in Stirling -- Campsie, Killearn, Kippen & Strathblane -- issued small GSs measuring between 17 and 19mm. All of these churches were located in the middle of the shire, due north of Glasgow. Certainly, the dissemination of a design type cannot get more straight-forward than this. Were these early tokens the work of one engraver?
     The GSs were uniformly made. As mentioned before, two bold circles formed a band to produce the defining characteristic. Within the band, the parish name was placed at the top, and the date was placed at the bottom. The minister's initials were placed in the center. The Kippen token was struck at a 45-degree angle using a square blank to produce a diamond effect. But make no mistake, with right angles and equilateral sides, it was still square.
     More pieces appeared in the 1740s at New Kilpatrick (in Dunbarton) and Rutherglen (in Lanark). Both of these places were located along the edges of the royal burgh of Glasgow. The radius widened in the decade to come with Muirkirk, Bothwell, Barony, Cambusnethan, Cadder, Baldernock, Carluke, New Monkland and Shotts all producing GSs. The overall design remained the same with a few minor variations in ornamentation or placement of the date in the center.
As is typical for Aberdeen, this GS
is simple and bold on a thick flan,
and the square is broad at 23mm.
     Many pieces were made in Ayr to the east. In fact, most GSs come from Lanark and Ayr, followed by Renfrew, Stirling and Argyll. Rothsay on Bute Island used a GS in 1770, and Glasserton in Wigtown used one a year later. A primitive, somewhat incomplete, GS was produced at Newbigging in Angus -- is this one really a GS? You will have to decide this one. Finally, a few Aberdeen churches used GSs in the 1820s and 1830: Stewardfield in 1823, Saint Fergus in 1830 and Monymusk in 1832.
     Interestingly, many GS are not immediately known to collectors since catalogers like Brook and Burzinski do not have images of them. Without the image, it is difficult to discern from verbal descriptions if the CT is a GS. For example, the 1735 GS from Inchinnan is pictured in Kerr & Lockie but not in Brook. Some images can only be found in the marketplace: a Greenock GS dated 1792 can be found in a recent ebay auction. Auction catalogs are invaluable in this regard. For example, GSs for Greenock can be found for 1798, 1802 and 1809 (the latter with cut corners) in the W. J. Noble Collection catalog of CTs that sold in Australia in July 2000.

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