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Trade card of Francis Newbery, Bookseller and Stationer, the corner of St Paul's Churchyard
P.12601-R

The bills the Blathwayts received from the various shopkeepers in London took many different forms. This one issued from Newbery, bookseller and stationer, was written on the back of a sheet printed with a large trade card. No first name is engraved on the plate; however, the itemised bill, dated 28 Jan 1771, is written and signed by Francis Newbery, who inherited the business from his father, John (1713-67). Newbery's bill, like many of the others in the collection, is lined with old folds, although unlike some of the others it is not addressed on the back. The bill was probably delivered to the Blathwayt's home by someone working for the shop, since it could be expensive to send letters, even across London. Before the introduction of the Penny Post, where the cost of postage was paid for by the sender, letters sent by the General Post Office were paid for by the recipient based on the distance the letter had travelled and the number of sheets used (a make-shift envelope counted as an extra sheet).

Some items for sale, such as the Gentleman's Magazine, and the Public Ledger, are given prominence in their own segments of the elaborate frame, engraved in larger letters to catch the eye. Other items in the lettering reveal that Newbery also sold items not now associated with booksellers or stationers. The bottom quarter of the central cartouche is taken up by medicinal cures for various ailments, the most prominent of which, in capital letters, is 'Dr. James's Powder for Fevers':


It was not unusual for some shopkeepers to supplement their main trade with the sale of potions and powders. Patent medicines were extremely lucrative and sole vending rights were fiercely defended by proprietors (see the case of John Centlivres, linen seller).

London newspapers were full of ads for elixirs that purported to cure a range of health problems. In February 1772 Francis Newbery paid for notices in London newspapers warning customers that no-one else was entitled to sell Dr James's powder without a certificate signed by him. Basil Burchell, a cutler and toyman who ran a shop on Long Arce in the 1740s, also held a monopoly over the sale of two patent medicines: Dr Chamberlain's anodyne necklace for teething infants and sugar plums for getting rid of worms. The medicines were advertised on either side of a trade token (illustrated right), which was issued in large numbers. The Fitzwilliam posseses a dozen examples.

Another of the Fitzwilliam museum's online exhibitions is on the subject of eighteenth century tokens

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