The David Young Collection of Medals of Devon
I cannot remember a time when I was not collecting coins or tokens. Like many, my interest began with coins taken from change and the foreign coins which my Father brought back from his overseas trips. I was also fortunate that Fred Baldwin was a family friend who gave me books and coins, together with advice or assistance with identification. After I started working I began collecting English shillings and a holiday in Switzerland prompted a collection of Swiss coins.
Around 1970 I discovered tokens, eighteenth century at first and later those from the seventeenth century. Their main appeal at that time was that the tokens were cheaper than the coins; also the tokens were issued locally by an individual or business so that most of the pieces were different. So began the collection of Somerset tokens and by the time I moved to Somerset in 1976 I was collecting any token from that county. The Swiss coins and shillings were sold and the proceeds used to start the formation of a library of books on tokens. In 1990 Steve Minnitt and I published Tickets Checks & Passes from the County of Somerset, and it was while doing some research for this book that I came across the pleasure gardens and theatres in Bath.
While reading about Bath, the pleasure gardens of London were mentioned regularly and I
acquired the occasional token from one or other of the London gardens. These tickets seemed more personal as many of them were numbered or even named to an individual person. There was so much social history linked with the tickets and the more I learnt about the gardens and their tickets the more fascinated I became with them and the period in which they were used. So around 1996 I began collecting tickets for the London pleasure gardens and I was lucky enough to acquire a number of Vauxhall Garden tickets from the sale of Owen Parsons’ collection in 1998. Within a few years I was also colleting the tickets for the London theatres and other entertainments and over the last twenty years the collection has grown substantially.
I have enjoyed reading and researching the history of the various pleasure gardens, theatres and entertainments and how their tickets were used. As these pieces are unusual I
thought others may be interested to hear about them, so I have given a number of talks at the annual Token Congresses and have written articles for the Bulletin of the Token Corresponding Society and Coin News. These talks and articles have now covered most of the pieces in the collection, which is what I aimed to do when I started the talks. I feel now it is time to dispose of the collection and hope that others will find as much enjoyment in these pieces as I have.