Vaughtons of Birminghham

The reverse of a canteen/mess penny token bearing Vaughtons Limited’s characteristic design of a tulip wreath plus their usual maker’s signature, “VAUGHTON BIRM.”.

According to their own records, this company, initially described as gold key and seal makers, was established in 1819 under the name of its original founder, Philip Vaughton, who was a Birmingham goldsmith and jeweller.

In 1854/55, the company expanded and changed its name to Philip Vaugnton & Son and then in 1864, to Philip Vaughton & Sons.

During the 18th century, they are listed at various addresses in the city including the following;

1831-33       21 Court, Summer Lane

1833-44       6 Hampton Street

1842-67        127 Great Hampton Street

1868-79         1 Great Hampton Street

1880-1901     194 (then 193) Great Hampton Row

1902-1909      Gothic Works, Livery Street

From 1880, the company is known for manufacturing medals and from c.1890, also badges, checks, tokens and tallies. The latter were initially recorded as products of the associated family business of Vaughton Brothers who, until 1901, were separately listed at the following addresses in the city;

1890-95       133.5 Constitution Hill

1896-1901   135 Constitution Hill

From 1902, both companies were operating from the same address, i.e. the Gothic Works in Livery Street. In 1909, Philip Vaughton & Sons and Vaughton Brothers formerly combined to for Vaughtons Limited.

Vaugntons’ former factory – The Gothic Works in Livery Street, Birmingham.

From c.1896-1901, both companies produced products bearing the maker’s signature “VAUGHTON BIRM.”. This signature appears to have continued to be used on similar products after the formation of Vaughtons Ltd. However, other maker’s signatures are also known from various of the company’s medals from before and after the above dates.

In addition to their maker’s signature, many of the checks and tokens issued by Vaughtons Ltd. can be readily identified from their very distinctive reverse designs. This typically comprises an anticlockwise string of tulip petals between two concentric beaded borders with a mark of value in the centre field. While similar, it is different from the full string of tulip flowers which is a characteristic of similar products produced by Ardill of Leeds.

As of 2023, Vaughtons are still operating in Birmingham from 16, Well Street. The company is no-longer family owned and as of 1994, was taken over by W.H. Darby Limited.

An trade advertisement for Vaughtons Limited from December 1909.

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