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Hopping Tokens




Dail sends the following explanation for the Hopping Tokens:-
Hop Tokens
There is far more history surrounding hops and subsequently hop tokens than is written here, but very briefly, hops were first cultivated in Kent in 1525 by immigrants from Flanders who brought hop plants with them, and the knowledge of how to grow them.  By the 18th century, the number of hop grounds in Kent had greatly escalated, particularly in the Canterbury, Faversham and Maidstone areas.  Subsequently the available local labour force became inadequate during the height of the hop-picking season, so hop-pickers were hired from elsewhere, predominantly people from London who treated hopping as a long working holiday.
Hop tokens were used as an on-the-job currency for the hop-pickers.  For each bushel picked the farmer would pay with tokens which were exchanged for cash at the end of the hop-picking season.  This arrangement generally facilitated the farmer's cash flow as well as discouraging the pickers from leaving the job and moving on.
Hop tokens are almost exclusively associated with Kent and East Sussex.  They generally date from about 1770 up to the start of World War Two, but because hop cultivation was not confined to this period, it seems reasonable to suggest that some sort of token currency may well have been in use before and after these dates.
The very early tokens were made of cast lead, gradually moving over to white metal alloys in the early nineteenth century.  Other metals such as brass, bronze, copper, and zinc were also used to a much lesser degree.  Early tokens would have had the farmer's initials or full name on as well as the monetary value, but from about 1835 tokens became more ornate, and may well have been embellished with either the Invicta horse, oast houses, family coats of arms, hop pokes and even hop binds.  In more modern times non-metal materials were used such as printed cardboard.  Hop tokens finally became obsolete in the 1940's when increased literacy led to written methods of accounting and payment, such as hop-pickers books.
W N Vinson.  Wateringbury.  Hop Tokens
Regarding your own Hop tokens bearing the name W N Vinson.  Wateringbury.
The fruit and hop farmer William Nash Vinson was born in Swanley Kent in 1885 to William Vinson, a farmer, and Mary Hannah Nash.
William junior, eventually married Mildred Laidlaw in Chelsea in 1909, and soon after moved to the beautiful Hall Place in East Barming.  I cannot find where his Wateringbury hop ground was situated, but suggest it was on the outer boundary of the village, as most hop grounds here are well known, and well documented.
William Nash Vinson died aged 29 in the district of Bromley in 1914, which perhaps dates your tokens between 1909 and 1914.