Windmills and Watermills on currency
Whilst there is a long tradition, and widespread acceptance of issuing
commemorative stamps, the number of coins and
banknotes issued is far fewer, and they tend to be less "commemorative" in
their design. (After all, the design objectives are different...) Despite
this, there are a few examples of mills appearing on coins and banknotes.
I'm not aware of any issued English currency bearing a windmill. However,
at the time of announcing that the latest £5 note would celebrate
the life of Elizabeth Fry, the bank of England showcased a possible design
for the note that showed Newgate Prison, with its ventilation windmill
above the gateway. Unfortunately the final design for the note issued in
2002 does not include either the prison, or the windmill.
17th-19th century Tokens
A shortage of coinage for small change in the 17th century led to a fairly
widespread use of tokens as unofficial coinage. These tokens often depict
local life, and carry interesting images, including a number of mills.
Similar situations in the 18th and 19th centuries also caused more tokens
to be issued.
The halfpenny token below was issued in 1794 by the Union Of Appledore, Kent.
It shows a man carrying a sack to Appledore windmill on the reverse, and on
the obverse, a lion and a lamb with the motto "Peace, innocence, and plenty".
The edge carries the text "Payable at W Peckham's Appledore" - where W Peckhan
was a general shopkeeper in the town.
Appledore token, 1794.
1811 shilling issued by William Jerrems in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire carring an image of a ship and a windmill.
William Jerrems was a grocer and a linen merchant, who traded with American partners in Norfolk, Virginia.
William Jerrems, Gainsborough, silver shilling token, 1811.
1812 Weybridge mills (iron works), Surrey. Carries text "One Penny payable at Weybridge I Bunn & Co 1812 Hoop & Iron Warehouse,
Dowgate Wharf", with an illustration showing the waterwheel as well as the chimneys of the foundry.
Weybridge penny images supplied by Galata Coins.
Lemmonsley Mill, near Lichfiled (Staffordshire) John Henrickson.
Calico, cotton and shirting manufacturer. Twopennny token. Mill with trees at sides, and river.
Reverse: Arms of Lichfield between oak branches, and text "One pound note for 120 tokens".
Lemmonsley token image supplied by Galata Coins.
1797 Middlesex Penny Conder token, showing the windmill for ventilation on the top of Newgate Gaol.
Other mills (including water powered factories) represented on tokens include
- 1795 halfpenny - Padsole Paper Mill near Maidstone, Kent issued by James Smith.
- Warwickshire, Bedworth, H.P. Lane's Bedworth-Mill shilling, 1811, Lane
family crest/legend. Blue grey tone, nearly extremely fine and very rare.
[Auction catalogue entry - no further details]
- Lemmonsley Worsted Mill Lichfield
- 1797 Perthshire halfpenny - has illustration of a watermill and trees
on the reverse. "WRIGHT DES under 46 WATER MILLS FOR BLEACHING PRINTING
COTTON WORKS CORN & c. WITHIN 4 MILES OF PERTH." [Only 72 produced]
- Leaden tokens and tallies
was asking about symbolic millstones and sails on tokens, but the discussion covers the wider subject as well
- Brechin copper 1/2 d - 1801 showing the Church on one side ("Payable by Smith and Wilson"),
and the East Mill (watermill) on the other. Smith and Wilson were flax spinners, and owned the East Mill in 1801.
- Staverton Factory, Wiltshire, issued both a silver shilling token and a copper penny, both in 1811.
The token has a view of the factory building and the river.
- Lemmonsly Mill, near Lichfield, in Staffordshire. A most impressive factory building, with a river before it
and trees at the sides. Calico, cotton and shirting were manufactured there.
- penny from the Glanclywedog factory, which was near Llanidloes, in Montgomeryshire. It probably manufactured flannel.
For more on the history of these types of token see
[provincial trade tokens]
[17th Century tokens]
[18th Century tokens]
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the
SPAB Mills Section issued a silver
token, with reproductions of the Appledore windmill on one side, and the Perth watermill on the other.
In 1995, the Royal Mint issued a medal commemorating the
Centenary of the National Trust, which illustrates a number of the Trust's
properties, including Stembridge windmill, High Ham, Somerset.
The 1971 and 1977 Guernsey 2p shows a picture of Sark windmill. To complete
the circle as it were, these coins also appear on the Guernsey definitive
The 1995 £10 note carries a picture of a watermill.
The 2002 50c coin, issued to commemorate the "Year of the Outback", carries
a design featuring the vanes of a wind engine (a familiar sight in the
[Royal Australian Mint]
The 1993 $10 note (a plastic note) has a wind engine as a security device
visible front and rear on the note.
Banknote 1949 10 guilders 1949 Kg.Willem I/windmill
[1998 De Hoop Windmill Medal from Garderen]
[1994 Token from Molenaarsgraaf]
[1997 "De Wachter" Token from Zuidlaren]
[1997 Windmill "Poortugaal" City of Albrandswaard]
Banknote 25 rup (1989) coconuts/ox mill
10 krone banknote 1951 carries a picture of Egeskov Windmill in southern Funen,
drawn by the illustrator and architect Ib Andersen (1907-1969).
The Barbados 25 cent coin shows the classic image of Morgan Lewis Mill -
the view from the rear of the mill, with the ramp up to the sugar
mill in the foreground of the image.
The Barbados $2 banknote - the rear of the note shows a windmill
with the distinctive Caribbean shaped roundhouse on top holding
bare sail stocks in the cross of St Andrew position. The image is
turned into a distinctive logo by the addition of a circle which
passes through the tips of the sail stocks. The front of the
note then has simply the silhouette of the mill and circle logo,
though if you hold the note up to the light, its use becomes clear
- it is a security device to allow detection of misregistration of
the printing on the front and rear of the note
The 10 lirot (Israeli pounds) banknote from 1973 carried a picture of the
Montefiori windmill in Jerusalem.
The design was kept almost identical when the currency changed, becoming the
one sheqel note issued Feb 24th 1980 (withdrawn Sept 4th 1986).
Regular issue German currency has not carried mill motifs. However, in
times of emergency (notably war) local paper currency, known as notgeld, was often used instead of
official currency, and there are many examples of this carrying mill images.
[Windmills on German notgeld]
[German Emergency money]
[almost identical info]
[TIMS bulletin No.57 - Windmills on Emergency Banknotes - by Fred Atkins]
10 dinar note - date unknown: shows olives and olive crushing mills.
The 1977 £M5 coin shows a picture of the Windmill of Xarolla
with 6 sails. This coin only seems to have been made available as part of
two silver sets: a proof set edition of 2437 by the Birmingham Mint, and a
larger Brilliant Uncirculated edition of 4816 by the Malta Mint.
Maltese £M5 coin, 1977
The Manufactures' Exchange Company in Bristol, Connecticut, issued a $5
note in the 1810's which shows a windmill, bales of cotton, a woman, and a
factory as a decorative vignette at the top of the note. The 10$ note issued
around the same time shows effectively the same image, but reversed left to
Manufactures' Exchange Company, Bristol, Connecticut $5 note
Manufactures' Exchange Company, Bristol, Connecticut $10 note
[Watermill express (sic) with a stylized windmill image]
Holland Michigan Tulip Time municipal 25c trade token from 1951.
Anodized magnesium or aluminium.
One side shows a wooden smock mill, with tulips, and the text "It's tulip time in Holland every year in May. Holland, Mich", whilst the
other side has a wooden clog, and the text "May 16-19,1951 good for 25c in trade, Holland Mich. Redeem before June 1st, 1951"
These medals are a bit bigger than most coins, but have much the same form.
Bronze medal, 39mm diameter,
celebrating the 175th Anniversary of Trumbull, Connecticut in 1972.
Bronze medal, 38mm diameter,
celebrating the bicentennial of Granby, Massachusetts in 1968.
celebrating the American bicentennial in 1976.
The back side depicts Lake Meredith of Fritch, Texas, with a windmill,
oil equipment with the name B. Rusk, and an arrow head which reads Alibates.
Mardi Gras Doubloon
Mardi Gras doubloons are a New Orleans tradition - coins which are thrown from
the Mardi Gras floats during the parade.
Don Quixote is a recurring theme on these tokens, often illustrated with a
windmill or two!
Don Quixote Mardi Gras doubloon 1969
Don Quixote Mardi Gras doubloon 1978
Don Quixote Mardi Gras doubloon 1980
The very first banknote issued by the Central Bank of Aruba was the 5 Florin
note in 1986. The front of the note shows a small windmill under the
The 1993 South African 10 Rand banknote shows a wind engine along with
some sheep on the open plains of Africa.
Text and images © Mark Berry,