A uniface oval market trader's tally of J M & W Harris of Borough Market, London.
Tallies were given in return for a deposit paid on boxes and crates when items of fresh food (fish, meat, fruit, etc.) were bought from wholesale markets or farms. They were a means of ensuring that the boxes and crates were returned to the wholesalers and farmers. When the first tallies were produced in the middle of the 19th century, they had a relatively low value (sixpence being quite common). With inflation and increasing packaging costs, the amount required to be deposited progressively increased, typically reaching a halfcrown by the turn of the century, and up to several pounds when the tallies were last in use in the 1950's. The low value of the present tally suggests a 19th century date.
See also UKDFD 36658.