The obverse of an Unofficial Farthing token issued in the name of Gregory Browne, the landlord of the Royal Artillery Canteen, Woolwich between 1851 and 1865, bearing the signature of Pinches of London below the bust of Queen Victoria
Pinches of London were a prominent family run business of die sinkers, medalists and token manufacturers. The first company to bear their family name was founded c.1840 by Thomas Ryan Pinches (1814-1868) and in 1856 put under the control of one of his younger brother, John Pinches (1825-1905).
The Pinches came from a long established Shropshire family. Thomas and John’s father, William Pinches (b.1787 and d.1832) moved to Birmingham in c.1810 where he set up business and married the sister of William J. Taylor, an established Birmingham based medalist. The couple had 6 sons and 5 daughters. Upon the early death of William and his wife, the Taylor family arranged for their oldest son, Thomas Ryan, then aged 17, to enter the employment of W.J. Taylor, who by then had moved to London. Thomas’ four surviving younger brothers went to live with an uncle in Shropshire but went on to join Taylor in London once they were old enough. Hence all four brothers were trained as medalists.
In 1840 Thomas Ryan Pinches set up his own business as a medalist, diesinker and seal engraver. In 1846/7, he was joined by his eldest brother William and later his brother John.
In 1856 the Pinches’ business split. Thomas Ryan and his family moved to Lisle Street where he operated as a stationer while John Pinches (b. 1825 and d. 1905) was put in charge of the family’s medal business which was then based in Oxendon Street.
Like his two older brothers John Pinches had initially learnt his trade from his uncle William Taylor. He later worked at the Royal Mint under William Wyon (and his successor) between c.1846 to 1851 as well as for Ralph Heaton and Sons of Birmingham. He only joined the Finches family business around the time of its split in 1856. After the death of his oldest brother Thomas, John continued to run the family medalist business under his own name.
Later John Harvey Pinches (b.1852 and d. 1941), the eldest son of John Pinches, continued to run the family company after the death of his father in 1905 and turned it into a limited company, John Pinches (Medalists) Limited in 1940. John Harvey was succeeded by his eldest son John Robert Pinches (b.1884 and d.1968).
Infrequently Pinches struck medals engraved by one or other of the Wyons and in 1932 they acquired the rival family company along with their historic stock of dies. In the early 1960s a New York dealer and entrepreneur worked with the John Pinches Ltd. in marketing restrikes and fancy pieces.
In 1969, with the remaining of the Pinches family reaching retirement age the company was sold to the Franklin Mint of Philadelphia, USA.