Racing token to go under the hammer

John Keightley from auctioneers Hansons with G H Barrow's horse racing disk
John Keightley from auctioneers Hansons with G H Barrow's horse racing disk

A rare horse racing admission disk which gives a fascinating insight into Derbyshire’s sporting and industrial history will go on sale in Etwall this September.

The disk dates from 1830 and bears the name of G. H. Barrow, a major figure in the iron industry in Staveley from the period who had a hand in construction projects including the great north wing at Chatsworth and one of the stands at Chesterfield racecourse itself.

The token will be entered into the Derbyshire section of the September Fine Art auction at Hansons in Etwall on September 25 and 26 and is expected to fetch between £700 and­£900.

Emma Leatherland, head of media at Hansons, said: “The fact that Chesterfield no longer has a racecourse makes this an extremely interesting object, revealing just how widespread and important gambling and racing was in the late Georgian period.

“Such tokens rarely survive from this period and being able to attach a named individual to the object gives us even more insight into the world of racing in the early 19th century.”

The silver disk is similar to ones still in use at racecourses today and would have given Mr Barrow access to the Chesterfield enclosures and stands as well as all the privileges which came with that.

It measures just 2.5cm, is stamped ‘Chesterfield Race Stand Built 1830’ on its front and has the number 42 engraved on the reverse.

Building work was done at the racecourse in 1830 and the auctioneers think that the token may have been given to him for his involvement with the construction of the new stand that year.

The Whittington Moor course saw racing every year from 1727 until it was bought to be used for housing by the Corporation in 1924.