Tuesday, September 16, 2008


At a time when the world money markets are in free fall and world headlines are full of news of bankruptcy and recession, the successful launch of £10,000 worth of the Lewes Pound has attracted news stories across the globe. Why this should be is another matter. It has certainly touched a media chord.

Today the BBC News reported that Dozens of pound notes issued in an East Sussex town to encourage shoppers to support the local economy have been sold on an internet auction site.

As of tonight there were 28 sellers of this local currency on Ebay. Two consecutive numbered notes had reached a sale price of $55.48.

The Times reported that 'The Lewes pound became the largest currency launched in Britain for more than a century this week as cheese shop customers, German numismatists and a ten-year-old boy buying a chocolate bar were among those who snapped up all 8,500 available notes in less than 24 hours. '

Lewes' local brewers Harveys have created a special beer to celebrate the occasion.

The town has also had its own currency once before, between 1789 and 1895.

The Hindu Times reported the story this way: 'The East Sussex town of Lewes in England has always been a contradictory sort of place, probably ever since the barons demanded a say in government and defeated Henry III outside the town in 1264. It was here too that Tom Paine, whose pamphlets fanned the flames of revolution in America, honed his polemical skills at the Headstrong Club in the White Hart during the 1760s. They still burn the Pope and sundry politicians in effigy every bonfire night. And on September 9, just along the high street, the Brewer’s Arms was displaying a sign warning Chancellor Alistair Darling that he was barred. Now, the town is going one step further along the road to contrariness by issuing its own pound notes...It is an attempt to boost local spending in the local economy.'
Lewes is following on from the Totnes Pound which was launched a year before by a Transition Town organisation which Lewes also emulated.

See also:

The "Brixton brick"

Berkshares Inc

'Slow Money Revolution: the global growth of local currencies.' by Cliona O Conaill. New Consumer magazine.

See Previous Post: Paine In The Net

Also the following review from The Generalist Feb 2006:

The Trouble with Tom: The Strange Afterlife and Times of Thomas Paine by Paul Collins [Bloomsbury.2005]. This extraordinary and wonderful book follows the author through space and time as he unravels the journey of Tom Paine's bones [dug up by the radical William Cobbett and shipped to England] and gives us a wonderful picture of the radical life and times of the 1700s. [The information in this book supersedes the 'bones' story given in my previous Tom Paine posting.] See reviews here: Bookslut, The Telegraph,

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