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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain

Yesterday, I had the phone call/meeting with doctors which made me realize that my remaining time is short. I have a second form of cancer now. Truth be told, I have been quickly accumulating thinking in the back of my mind that this could happen. It has, just more quickly than I expected. So, rather than continuing to accumulate, I will have to sell the collection I love to the next set of renters of these pieces. I dont know how it will be done yet as there are various avenues, thru auction houses and retail dealers on a conseignment basis, to do so. Readers of these pages can scan thru them to see the highlights. There are some more. I must have well over a hundred top graded pieces for their type, probably a lot more. I do have a catalogue of my British collection which is available if requested. There are some pieces from other countries as well. I am sorry to have to post this. Mike Watt

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain

Here are examples of Edward VII and George V Type Pennies. S 3990 1903, 66Red S 3990A, 1902 Low Tide, 65 Red S 4051, 1915, 65 Red S 4052 1912 H, 64 RB S 4053, 1918 KN, 65 RB S 4054, 1926 Modified Effigy, 64 RB S 4055, 1928, 66 Red S 4054 A, a gem 1927, no picture yet Many of these came from the Baldwin Vault, where they were stored since issue.

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain-Victoria Penny Types

Here is a selection of Victorian Penny types from my collection. First up is an 1844 Head Copper Penny S 3948,, Ms 65 Red, reputed to be the last red gem penny in the former Baldwins vault. Next is an 1863 Bronze Head Proof Penny. S 3954, PR 65 RB Then an 1876 H Heaton Mint Penny, S 3955, MS 65 Red An 1899 Veiled Head Penny, S 3961, MS 65 Red, Comes next S 3961A is an 1895 Low Tide Penny High Tide Penny, Ms 65 RB Lastly, S 3961B is an 1897 High Tide Penny, ungraded as yet but is most likely either a 63 or 64 RB.  

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain

Here is the first of a few installments on the various types of the British copper and bronze penny, a mainstay of everyday British commerce for generations. Its story started with the copper pieces issued under license by the Soho Mint in the 1790s, as the Royal Mint did not have the technology required to produce this kind of quality at the time, and also had other priorities during the Napoleonic Wars. The 1797 piece shown here weighed one full ounce, and was roughly equal to the value of the metal itself at the time. The other issue of George III, also shown here, was also produced by the Soho Mint in the first decade of the 19th century. Officially produced pennies were not produced after 1807 until well into the reign of George IV, close to 20 years later. An 1826 proof example is shown here. Pennies in mint state of the succeeding king, William IV, are difficult to come by in Mint State. Here is a proof example, from 1831. All of these types have been graded as 65 or better. Next installment will begin to show the various types of Queen Victoria.

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain

Just got this back from NGC. An extremely lustrous silver medal, 303 years old, graded as a 64 plus. Purchased at auction in England. Certainly is a different allegory on the reverse than the James II medal. Whereas with James the crown is conferred by heaven (signifying the divine right of kings) , here it is given by Britannia, representing the people/nation.

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RMW Collection

Here is an example of the very rare 1897 High Tide Penny variety, which I picked up last week. I bought it slabbed in England as roughly the equivalent of an Ms 63. It might make 64 , especially given the obverse. This is the first piece of this variety I have seen in good condition. So , only one piece to go to finish off a complete type set of Victoria copper and bronze. Only the Heaton Mint halfpenny to go. I saw one in basic Unc today. Looking for a gem. I will see if my bud Welsh Dragon would agree on my grading assessment, since he won my contest a while back.

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RMW Collection

I just picked up a nice 1932 British halfpenny in 65 RB today. I'm now about 2/3 of the way towards finishing a nice date set for Grorge V halfpennies.Compared to US pieces, British pieces in nice red from the same period are quite scarce. Many of my pieces came from the Baldwin Vault in London, where they were kept in pristine condition since their issue, in some cases well over a hundred years ago. Baldwins has been in business as a coin dealer since 1872, but it's only in the last year or so that the contents of the Vault are being sold off.

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RMW Collection

OK, fans of coins from across the pond. Or not. Its time to GRADE THAT COIN! 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.

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain- 1908 to 1910 Pennies

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. 

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain- More Edward VII Pennies

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.

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain- Edward VII Pennies

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!

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain

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!

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain

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.

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain

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.

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain-Proof and Pattern Farthings

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).

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain-Pattern and Proof Farthings

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.

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain

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.

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain- 20th Century Coronation Medals

I have shown some Victoria 60th anniversary Jubilee medals previously and so will stick to Coronation Medals here, in probably the last installment of this series. I will include the official medals of Edward VII, George V and George VI here. To my knowledge, Elizabeth II did not issue official Coronation Medals, although many unofficial ones were done.

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RMW Collection of England and Great Britain- Victoria Coronation Medal

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.  

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