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rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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.

Cheers.

1901 half sovereign, reverse.jpg

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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

rmw

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