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Royal Mint touch-pieces

Since the Middle Ages it had been believed that a touch from royalty could heal the ‘king's evil’ or scrofula – a swelling of the lymph nodes in the neck caused by tuberculosis. This became formalised in ‘touching ceremonies’ which allowed the monarch's divine powers to be witnessed by the masses. Demand for the royal touch was so high that bronze or copper admission tokens were introduced to keep a record of numbers. At the ceremony, the sufferer was presented with a gold touch-piece, which would commonly be hung on a ribbon and worn as a necklace. James II also touched for the ‘king's evil’ and continued this practice after he went into exile.

Cats 40–42