rmw's Journal

  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Entries in this journal


RMW Collection

OK, fans of coins from across the pond.

Or not.

Its time to




Lets see how everyone grades this in US and in British (which is different).

A winner gets all of the others to genuflect in his or her general direction.

Good luck.

1719 farthing.jpg


The final years of the reign of Edward VII, in 1908 to 1910, saw the intensification of the naval race between Britain and Germany, with Britain still comfortably ahead.

In Europe, a supremely stupid move took place with the formal annexation of Bosnia by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This angered the Russian Empire and cemented its relationships with Britain and France, which in turn moved Germany closer to Austria-Hungary as Germanys only reasonably close major ally. It also upset whatever little demographic balance there was in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and drew it further into the maelstrom of Balkan politics, and strengthened the resolve of Serbian and other Slavic nationalists. The rival alliances in Europe were now set and only needed a spark to set a war off, which happened in 1914 with the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne by a Serbian. The resulting war made empires fall like rain and marked the entrance of the United States as a major world power. 

1908 Penny Weir, obverse.JPG

1908 Penny Weir, reverse.JPG

1909 Penny , obverse.JPG

1909 Penny, reverse.JPG

1910 Penny, obverse.JPG

1910 Penny, reverse.JPG


Here are the 1905, 06 and 07 pennies in my collection.

In those years, the drums of war were beating louder, as the two sides which ended up fighting each other in World War I were pretty much set in these years, and Britain built a new class of battleship, the HMS Dreadnought, which immediately rendered the rest of its own navy, as well as that of any others, obsolete. The naval face by the end of 1907 was on in earnest.

1905 Penny, obverse.JPG

1905 Penny, reverse.JPG

1906 penny.jpg

1907 Penny, obverse.JPG

1907 Penny, reverse.JPG


Edward VII was the eldest son of Queen Victoria and assumed the British throne after her long reign, in 1901.

Although Britain was still considered by many to still be the worlds premier superpower, by 1901, her uncontested superiority was in a position of being challenged, by the United States and more crucially, by the recently united German Empire, which by most accounts had the worlds greatest army and was during this time beginning to build up a navy, the object of which was to one day challenge the British Fleet, not seriously challenged since the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

At the same time,at the beginning of Edward's reign, Britain still adhered to its policy of Splendid Isolation, not seeing the need to entangle itself in alliances with foreign countries. But the rising power of Germany soon led it to look to gain alliances, first with Japan in 1902. Its interests, unthinkably at the time, began to align with those of its centuries old enemy, France.

Edward played an important role in gaining for Britain an alliance with France through his visit there in 1904. From that visit grew the Triple Entente between Britain, France and Czarist Russia,

all of which  ended up fighting on the same side against Imperial Germany and the Austro Hungarian Empire in World War I. The Us also eventually joined that conflict, in 1917, 100 years ago.

Although the bronze coins made during this reign are plentiful, I dont see all that many that are still in blazing red uncirculated condition.

I have just recently completed a set, pretty much all MS 65 or 66 Red, with one or two exceptions, where they were graded as RB but still have 75 percent plus red.

I will post a few here today, the 1902 High Tide and 1902 Low Tide varieties, as well as examples of the 1903 and 1904.

Many of these pieces were obtained from a source which purchased and wrapped these pieces on their original release, so that they preserved their original red more so than most.

I will post some more next time. Enjoy!

1902 High Sea Level Penny, obverse.JPG

1902 High Sea Level Penny, reverse.JPG

1902 Low Tide Penny Weir, obverse.JPG

1902 Low Tide Penny Weir, reverse.JPG

1903 penny, obverse.JPG

1903 penny, reverse.JPG

1904 Penny, obverse.JPG

1904 Penny, reverse.JPG


I have two more pieces to show here today, an 1861 Victorian farthing from the Royal Mint and an 1874H farthing from the Heaton Mint, both in proof.

For the Royal Mint during this period, in most years proofs were only produced as a "proof of Record" so mintages were exceedingly tiny, less than 100 and perhaps closer to 20.

I dont know how many Heaton Mint proofs were struck, perhaps someone else out there does, but in any case it would also not be in vast quantities.

Also I have an announcement today in that the Registry Sets I have are greatly expanded through the inclusion of Type Sets by denomination for reigns going all the way back to Charles II.so there are 7 new Registry Sets for the reigns prior to George III. Anyone out there who is interested is more than welcome to have a look. I am the first one to  open up sets in these categories. Others may have finer coins but there are virtually no other Registry Sets in these categories. Many of these coins will be close to best known. The best off the top of my head would be:


1672 farthing -65 RB- shown before- 70 percent red after 345 years

1674 halfcrown-61, R5 in British EF, none known as in Mint State

1685 farthing-61- extremely rare in this condition as a tin farthing- most tin farthings quickly turned to dust due to primitive metallurgy were and these were very crudely struck

1694 halfpenny-65- a glorious copper piece, maybe the best known currency piece of the reign

1700 halfcrown- 65- got it all, strike, luster, surfaces and eye appeal -photo doesnt do the luster justice

1717 sixpence-64- actually a no doubter gem with a prooflike obverse

1717 halfpenny-65-  very well struck for the issue

1744 halfpenny-65- an exceedingly well struck gem

1751 halfpenny-65- equal in quality to the 1744

1758/7 sixpence- 65- unusually lustrous with great eye appeal, perhaps a first strike


There are two 1746 proof pieces in a separate registry set, the shilling in 65 and halfcrown in 66 star


Anyway  for the Brit enthusiasts out there, enjoy!

1861 Proof farthing, obverse.jpg

1861 Proof farthing, reverse.jpg

1874H proof farthing, obverse.jpg

1874H proof farthing, reverse.jpg


I have one more George III piece to show, and then we move on to later reigns

There is an 1806 restrike farthing here, struck in the mid nineteenth century using dies left over from the Soho Mint,whose coin making operations had wound up by that point.

By the reign of George IV, steam powered machinery had finally been installed in the Royal Mint itself and higher quality coins began to be produced in greater quantities after the Napoleonic Wars.

The George IV proof farthing shown here was made in tiny quantities, well less than 100. 

I thought I had a proof William IV farthing but dont and so I will show a ringer piece, a red and brown Unc piece.

These three pieces have been graded either as a 64 or 65.

1806 copper restrike, obverse.jpg

1806  copper restrike, reverse.jpg

1821 proof farthing.jpg

1834 farthing, obverse.JPG

1834 farthing, reverse.JPG


As I have mentioned before, the fact that a private company, Soho Mint, was advertising and eventually was licensed to manufacture coins for Britain led it to produce a wide variety of proofs and patterns , all during the reign of George III.

But here is a 1771 proof farthing actually produced by the Royal Mint prior to the advent of the Soho Mint, along with various Soho products and restrikes, some of which were sold by the descendants of the proprietors and were kept by that family since their manufacture over two centuries ago. the gilt piece has been mislabelled as a halfpenny but is in fact an early Soho farthing.

All of these pieces have been graded as 65 or higher.

1771 proof farthing, obverse.jpg

1771 proof farthing, reverse.jpg

1806 Gilt Halfpenny, Peck 1387, Obverse.jpg

1806 Gilt Halfpenny, Peck 1387, Reverse.jpg

1805 restrike farthing, obverse.jpg

1805 restrikw farthing, reverse.jpg


George II reigned from 1727 to 1760. In that long period, proofs were issued in only one year, 1730. Here is a gem example.

During George III's long reign from 1760-1820, many patterns and proofs were produced, mostly from the revolutionary Soho Mint, which utilized the first steam powered coin making machinery in the world. But first, they had to overcome the resistance of the Royal Mint to the new technology before they got a license to produce coins for Britain. As it was a private concern, many patterns and trial pieces were produced during the year shown on the coin (early Soho), later than the date shown (late Soho) , and by WJ Taylor later in the nineteenth century after obtaining the original Soho dies (restrikes). It is very difficult to distinguish the stage at which a piece was produced and usually you go by the state of the dies used in the strike.

As a private concern, the Soho Mint was free to make pieces in different metals or gilt pieces as well. 

Here are some examples, mostly in PR 65, some of which came from the family holdings of the descendants of the original proprietors of the Soho Mint (the Boulton Family).

1730 proof farthing obverse.jpg

1730 proof farthing reverse.jpg

1797 copper restrike farthing, obverse.jpg

1797 copper restrike farthing, reverse.jpg

1797 farthing Peck 1199, obverse.jpg

1797 farthing Peck 1199, reverse.jpg

1799 gilt farthing, obverse.JPG

1799 gilt farthing, reverse.JPG


Here are patterns and proofs I have collected for the reigns of Queen Anne and for George I.

In the first 3 cases, these pieces were made under the Master of the Mint at the time , Sir Isaac Newton. This was his day job when he wasnt figuring out the physical laws of the universe.

I would be less than surprised if the 1713 and 1717 farthings shown here were personally handled by him as the quantities minted were miniscule. No currency farthings were minted during the reign of Queen Anne (r 1702-1714). This was due to the insistence of influential people to make the farthings out of pure copper, but at that time there was no means to reliably do so. They were subjected to the "hammer test" of the time, and too high a percentage of pieces subjected to the blow cracked or split. As to the copper piece shown, rumours of its rarity had persisted for decades, to the point where murder was attempted on at least one occasion in the hopes of obtaining one. It ended up that the rumours were incorrect, but well less than 1000 were probably made. 

As to the 1713 silver piece, Peck variety 747, this is very rare. the 1717 lacquered proof is from the collection of Colin Cooke, who amassed probably the greatest collection of farthings of all time. This piece is extremely rare, with likely less than 10 made.

1713 farthing.jpg

1714 farthing obverse.JPG

1714 farthing reverse.JPG

1717 proof farthing.jpg


Now that the Coronation Medals I have are done, lets go thru a tour of English and British farthing patterns and proofs.

Most of these were produced in tiny quantities, often well less than 100.

First up will be the 17th century pieces I have, a 1665 pattern Charles II (Peck variety 423) and a 1699 proof in silver.

The 1665 is being graded right now but will probably come out as a 64 or 65. the 1699 proof is a 65, cross graded from PCGS, which also graded it as a 65.

A fairly large quantity of 1665 dated pieces are out there with different varieties. Generally the longer haired versions (this is one) are more rare than the short haired varieties. To my knowledge this is the first depiction of Britannia on a coin since the days of the Roman Empire. And rumour had it that the lady depicted as Britannia was the Kings mistress.

The silver proof piece must be one of the best known, although I have seen one or two pretty much its equal. This is an example of a William III Type 2 farthing, and came from the Terner Collection, one of fabulous quality sold more than 10 years ago.

1665 farthing obverse.jpg

1665 farthing reverse.jpg

1699 Terner Proof farthing in silver, obverse.jpg

1699 Terner Proof farthing in silver,reverse.jpg


So far, starting with James II in 1685, Ive posted examples of official Coronation Medals of the monarchs of England and Great Britain.

Now, we come to Victoria, who came to the throne as a teenager and gave her name to an age, when the British empire was at its peak and when the sun never set on it, as its possessions circled the planet. Britain was indeed the superpower of most of the Victorian Age.

This piece is the most recent acquisition and was graded as an MS 64. I thought a nice Victoria medal would be an easier one to get but it turned out to be one of the harder ones.

Again , the design and engraving are in my opinion superior to most coins, but beautiful coins were produced during this reign as well, notably the Gothic Florins and Crowns.


Victoria Coronation Medal, Obverse.jpg


George III was the grandson of George II, the son having predeceased him.

Im still looking for a real nice George III Coronation medal (the official one, by Natter) and so I will move to George IV here.

At least one of these medals comes with the original case as well, itself in as new condition.

George IV Coronation Medal-Silver (1).jpg

George IV Coronation Medal in Copper.jpg


Just like George Foreman, George I of Britain also had a son named George, although not as many times, apparently.

Here is an example of the Coronation Medal of George II, who reigned from 1727 to 1760, and was the reigning monarch during the first part of the Seven Years War against France.

This piece, made in 1727, is virtually as struck and came with the original case it was issued in.

George II Coronation Medal in Copper.jpg


I just purchased this Coronation Medal today. It is of George I, from about 1714.

After the death of Queen Anne and the end of the direct Stuart line, George Elector of Hanover (Germany), well down the pecking order in line for the British throne, was nevertheless chosen for the role by Britain, the princes head of him deemed not qualified. This uncirculated piece was made from silver.

Im getting close to finishing what I want to do in Coronation Medals, needing a Charles II and a George III (by Natter). The William and Mary and Queen Anne Medals I have are strictly speaking not official coronation Medals but are portraits of the monarchs and spouses as of the year of accession.

The allegory on the reverse of this medal which appears to be the crowning of the King by Britannia, is very different than that of the piece posted last week, showing the hand of God in Heaven handing the powers of the King to James II, denoting his supposed absolute power to rule.

George I Coronation Medal, obverse.jpeg

George I Coronatiion Medal, Reverse.jpeg


Here is a good example of a James II Coronation Medal in Silver, made in 1685. This king is considered by many to be the last of the absolute monarchs, but was overthrown after reigning for only three years. The symbolism of the Crown being granted by Heaven on the reverse is important to understand James attitude to his rule. The majority of the nobles disagreed and so he was forced out.

James II Coronation Medal in Silver compressed.jpg


Ive put together another slideshow, this time for my collection of British Victoria Type pieces.

There are 62 types I have included. I have another 4 ( Jubilee Head 4 coin Maundy Set) which will be submitted soon.

Of the 62 pieces, 9 are slabbed as Ms 64. The rest are graded 65 or better and there are about 11 prof pieces included.

Im trying to figure out why the pictures come out in different sizes. Any comments on how to fix that would be appreciated.


1901 half sovereign, reverse.jpg


Here is a British 1723 SSC shilling. This is often found in good condition despite its age. The story is that somewhere around 2000 were found in an old bank vault in London around the 1820s. I chose this one for its color and excellent eye appeal.

1723 shilling, obverse.jpg


For those armies of Anglo Saxon coin enthusaists out there, here is an example available for sale to me of a Harold I of England (1035-1040) penny, from Lincoln Mint.

the moneyer, whose name is on the reverse, Im told is known to have produced coins for Harolds predecessor, Canute bit not for this king.

Any comments as to what to do? Are there better ones out there? Is this moneyer (Mathan Balluc) rare for this king?

As no response, maybe some explanation is in order. 

We are used to taking coins in change for transactions not because of the value of the metal in the coin was equal to the denomination (a nickels worth for a 5 cent piece for example) but because the government told us so and we have accepted it. This was not the case for over two thousand years where if you were to get. say, a penny in change, you wanted to make damn sure you  got a pennys worth of silver or other metal for it, otherwise you would be prone to rejecting it.

This however created many problems of its own. Rulers as well as people making the money (moneyers) could profit by cutting the silver in a penny with another cheaper metal and take the difference in profit for themselves. It got so bad during the reign of Henry VIII in England for example that the pennies produced later in his reign were so cut with other metal that he was called "old copper nose". Not to his face of course. Your head would be removed from the rest of you in short order if you did. Moneyers could be tempted to do the same thing on their own. So during this period in England they were required to stamp their name on the coin as a kind of certificate attesting to its value. If there was consistent shortchanging of silver in the coin it theoretically would be easy to spot the culprit. This step did not put a stop to the pracrice if the king got  cut of the difference or if a coin were counterfeited using the name of the moneyer.

All coinage could also be rendered obsolete overnight if there was inflation or deflation in the price of silver. And there were many other issues as well I wont get into here.

Harold I Penny.jpg


Last time we looked at George II Young Head copper pieces and noted that many currency pieces were not fully struck up. There are exceptions to that, one of which was available some years ago before I was aware of its rarity.

Here are two Old Head Halfpennies (1744 and 1751)which, unlike the Young Head piece, are fully struck with almost complete detail as the designer envisioned. This seems to be more common with Old Head pieces, although these are unusually well struck. Both were graded Ms 65 by NGC.

1744 halfpenny obverse.JPG

1744 halfpenny reverse.JPG

1751 halfpenny obverse.jpg

1751 halfpenny reverse.jpg


You can see the difference in production standards here, between an FDC 1730 Proof farthing and an MS 65 1739. Hopefully you can note the detail to the portrait on the 1730 versus the comparative lack of it on the 1739. Often, the reverse to the currency pieces lacks detail to Britannias head on the reverse (comes out flat due to lack of striking power or deterioration of the dies), although this one has more than most.



1739 farthing, obverse.jpg

1739 farthing, reverse.jpg

1730 proof farthing obverse.jpg

1730 proof farthing reverse.jpg