The obverse of an Unofficial Farthing token bearing the signature of John C. Parkes (I.C.P. ) of Dublin
John Parkes was born in Dublin in 1821. He was one of two sons born to Isaac Parkes (b.1791 and d.1870). Isaac moved from Birmingham to Dublin in 1807 where he took up an apprenticeship with his brother who was a manufacturer of metal buttons. Isaac later set up business on his own as a military ornament maker, die sinker and medallist. His first medal of note was produced in 1814 and one of his last in 1865.
Both John Parkes and his brother William followed in their father’s footsteps becoming medallists. John continued his father’s business after the latter’s death in addition to being a die sinker and medallist he also manufactured commercial tokens.
In 1862 John’s business premises were located at 111, The Coombe, Dublin. At this time he was described as a Coffin Furniture Manufacturer, Die-sinker and medalist. On his earlier medals and tokens he variously used one of the following signatures;
- I PARKES
- I PARKES F
On his later farthing tokens he used the signatures;
John Parkes held the appointment of Medallist to the Royal Dublin Society and executed several important medals. He eventually found it more profitable to develop a trade as a wholesale ironmonger. Thereafter he gradually abandoned die-sinking. He died on 1st February 1901 and was buried at Mount Jerome Cemetery, Dublin.