A very large number of Roman leads are coin-like in design, with heads, busts or full figures in conjunction with abbreviations or initials; i.e.
their quality of design is far greater, indicating that they almost certainly had some semi-official status not enjoyed by their later English counterparts.
Not surprisingly, one of the commonest sizes of tesserae corresponds almost exactly with the 13-14mm diameter of the official quadrans. A number of them are not dissimilar to our own British paranumismatic usage within the last 200 years; others are similar in spirit, but reflect in detail the differing habits of the day: A large number of pieces which bears the heads, names or initials of people now unknown, and may well be the equivalent of our local traders' pieces; others will be passes, granting some entitlement now lost in history.
Some pieces do show the names and features of identifiable emperors, but so in abundance do our modern 19th century unofficial farthings.
Up to a few decades ago tokens were mostly treated as curiosities and often relegated to the dealer's 'junk box' but today there are avid collectors and researchers of almost every conceivable series.
An introduction to some of these can be found in the links below.
This initial Token Congress at Crewe was the start of an annual event and membership has grown ever since.The traditional classicist will feel very much at home with the subject matter on these pieces, and it is therefore a great surprise that more interest has not been shown in them; one of the results of which is that very little has been written about the series, and such as has has not often been in English.