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rmw's Journal

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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


British 1723 SSC shilling

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


Here is a pattern British farthing, from the Boulton Family Holdings. Matthew Boulton was a partner with James Watt at the Soho Mint, which produced the first steam powered coin strikings in the world. The Soho Factory, also the first of its kind in the world, was able to use steam power for all kinds of industrial applications. The descendants of Boulton kept many patterns and trial pieces for over a century and a half until a relatively recent sale. This is one of the pieces kept by the family but is a restrike of the original pattern produced at Soho.

1797 farthing Peck 1201 Obverse.jpg

1797 farthing Peck 1201 Reverse.jpg


This is one of about 100 pieces made of the proof halfcrown of 1746. It was originally one of a 4 piece set, sixpence to crown. Of the 100 pieces, many have been impaired over the last 271 years. This one has not.

I have a matching shilling as well but not the sixpence. the crown in this condition Im afraid is too expensive for me so I would be content to get an original unimpaired sixpence. Although special proof strikes were made earlier, this 4 piece set is reputed to be the earliest proof set for collectors produced anywhere in the world.

1746 Proof Halfcrown, obverse.jpeg

1746 Proof Halfcrown, reverse.jpeg


1773 farthing

A century after the production of the coin I posted last, the method of production for the 1773 farthing here was little changed. That was to come in the next generation with the innovations of Boulton and Watt with their Soho Mint operation and the first application of steam power. this piece was produced the old way.

1773 farthing, obverse.JPG

1773 farthing, reverse.JPG


1672 farthing

Here is an example of the first farthing in the milled series, from 1672. 

These were often not produced with quality control in mind but this one came out very well for the type.

It is made from copper and after 345 years i still has some original mint red on it!

1672 farthing obverse.jpg

1672 farthing reverse.jpg


In 1812, Great Britain was still at war with Napoleon and also was involved in a skirmish with the US called the War of 1812. Neither side particularly wanted to fight it, but it still had significant consequences for the future of North America.

Emergency conditions still applied with respect to Britain's coinage and so , in addition to the 1804 dollar shown last time, here is a 3 shilling Bank Token piece.

1812 three shillings, obverse.jpg

1812 three shillings, reverse.jpg


Here is an example of a memorial medal issued in commemoration of the death (he was beheaded) of King Charles I of England, issued around 1670, I think, about two decades after his death. You can note the symbolism of the design on the reverse with  the arm (of God) coming out of the clouds with a crown, meaning that the King was given sovereignty by God alone, and that therefore he was not answerable to any other individual or group in his kingdom.

So he was able to tax his subjects but not be answerable to them. His opponents said no taxation without representation. I think we heard that in America over a century later. Hence the American Revolution.

So it is ironic that the British government of 1776 did not learn the lessons of their own history. We know what happened after that.

This example still has red after several centuries which is nearly a miracle.

Charles I death medal obverse compressed.jpg

Charles I death medal reverse compressed.jpg


Here is another piece previously posted on the old journals but I am reposting it because of its design. Someone said that the design of the older pieces put the more recent ones to shame. I agree.

1820 halfcrown obverse.jpg

1820 halfcrown reverse.jpg


During the long reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901) there were four major designs issued for florins, the two Gothic Types, A and B, then the Jubilee and Veiled Head types towards the end of the reign.

With the 50th anniversary of her reign in 1887, a new type came out, replacing the Gothic type, namely the Jubilee type. A small number of proof sets were issued in 1887 in honor of her 50 years on the throne., somewhere around 1000 sets if I am not mistaken. Most of the sets now seem to have been broken up and individual pieces appear on the market.

Here is an example of a proof Jubilee type Victoria Florin, taken from one of those sets. Here the words Dei Gratia are written out in full on the obverse, unlike the earlier type.

1887 proof florin.jpg


Here is one of the better examples of a William and Mary halfpenny from England, dated 1694.

A combination of things makes this piece highly unusual.

Copper pieces were not considered even as real money by the upper classes which ran things in England at the time. That, and the primitive machinery used at the time, made the strikes for this issue incomplete in most cases.

This piece has a much better than average strike for the type.

Also, many pieces from this period appeared to be from cast blanks as opposed to rolled and milled, as stipulated in the terms of the agreement with the outside contractors who made them. My 1694 farthing is an example of a cast piece and has a pitted appearance, not from wear but from the appearance of the blanks used for production.

According to Peck, many pieces from this period are dark due to the presence of sulphur and other impurities in the copper used in production. This piece is not darkly toned.

Lastly the coin has no wear and has nearly pristine surfaces. The auctioneers who sold this piece said it was the best of its type they had ever seen. However there are proof pieces in existence which may have a better appearance than this one. NGC has graded it as an MS 65.

So overall, this is an excellent type piece for the issue.

1694 halfpenny Baldwin.jpg


Here is an example of a pattern farthing issued in the mid 17th century, dated 1665, which was bought late last year and will go to NGC for grading soon. This is catalogued as Peck 423, an extremely rare long hair variety , the dies for which were apparently made by John Roettier, who apparently helped to introduce machine made coins to England. There are a lot of varieties of 1665 farthings, made over a number of years. This piece, virtually as struck, is one of the better ones I have seen.

1665 farthing obverse.jpg

1665 farthing reverse.jpg