P.T. was around for decades. Before P.T., Barnum was a popular American entertainer. Gilbert Pidcock, a showman from America, brought dozens of exotic animals to London.
Pidcock’s Exhibition was his private zoo. To promote this show, he created a series copper tokens that depicted various animals from the menagerie.
A classic example of such a token was sold for $129.80, plus the 18 percent buyer’s fees in Classical Numismatic Group’s Aug. 4 electronic sale.
This example is part of a wide range of tokens known today in America as “Conder” tokens. An early cataloger of this series was also included.
London was the home of the menagerie, which featured many exotic and unusual animals. The 1801 copper halfpenny token came in London. These were not the usual animals you would see in London. They came from Asia, Africa and South America.
According to the British Museum, he traveled with exotic animals as a showman in 1779. However, Pidcock bought Thomas Clark’s Exeter Change menagerie in 1793. He had been involved with Clark for two years.
The Exeter Exchange, also known as Exeter Change, was a building located on the north side the Strand in London. The menagerie that was located on the upper floors of the building’s 1773-demolished 1829 structure is its most well-known feature.
With very few exceptions, all Pidcock’s tokens depict an animal from the exhibit on each side. This example also does.
On the reverse, you will see the wanderoo (liontailed macaque), who holds a small staff. The lion-tailed monkey is an endemic South Indian monkey.
The obverse has inscribed information that identifies the source of this exotic sighting: PIDCOCK’S GRAND MENAGERIE EXETERCHANGE, LONDON.
A crane is seen on the reverse with PIDCOCK’S EXHIBITION and THE AFRICAN CRANE surrounding it.
The token is 9.36 grams in weight and 30 millimeters wide.
It had brown surfaces and edge bumps. The auction house rated it as “Near Extremely Fine”.