The year 1688 was a tumultuous year for England. On November 5, 1688 William of Orange arrived in England to claim his throne. A month later, King James II fled to France, and abdicated his throne in favor of William III and his co-regent Mary.

The American Plantations Token was the result of a petition filed by Richard Holt, an agent for several English tin mines. The tin industry had experienced a depression in 1679-1680. These tokens were intended initially for domestic use. Upon achieving a royal patent (the first granted by the Crown for America), the coins were designed so that they would trade in North America.

Struck of 97.5% pure tin, the coins were not valued in pence, but at 1/24th of a Spanish real. This would have equaled, in the colonies, one and one half farthings. British documents of the period refer to this tin coin as a "farthing." It is obvious that these coins were intended to serve as a trade coin in the British, French and Spanish colonies in America. Spanish coins were the preferred coins for most transactions at that time.

There are several die varieties for this issue. The obverse depicts James II on horseback The legend: "IACOBVS . II . D.G. MAG. BRI. FRAN. ET. HIB. REX." (James II by the grace of God King of Great Britain, France and Ireland). The reverse has the four crowned shields of England, Scotland, France and Ireland linked with chains. The legend: "VAL . 24 PART . REAL . HISPAN." (Value a 24th part of a Spanish real).

As these coins were made of tin, a highly corrosive metal, examples in rusted condition are often found. Higher grade examples in sound condition are quite scarce and highly coveted.