July 30th. 2020.
Upcoming club meetings:
Monday 3rd August 8pm.
· Subject - This will be another Zoom meeting, open to all members. We hope to include at least one short talk courtesy of Peter in the 40 minutes available as well as bringing members up to date with any developments.
Messages from the Internet
I am increasingly getting requests from people who have been clearing out their house in the lockdown and finding boxes of coins and desperate to know if they have anything rare in them.
The electronic Zoom meeting was attended by thirteen members. It began by wishing Happy Birthday to one of our members, Graham. John then canvassed opinion on how soon the club should consider reopening, with ten of the members happy for it to open as soon as possible. This is actually not possible at the moment but the Abbey Baptist Church is gradually coming back to life and it might be possible to meet in October. I would once again ask the rest of the membership to let me know when they would feel safe coming back to the club as I had a very disappointing response to my previous e-mail on the subject.
A second possibility is to have a strictly socially distanced Summer Social, meeting in a public place where we could all bring our own picnics or go for a walk. It remains debatable at the moment as to whether this is actually legal but again Id like to canvas opinion on the matter, please let me know what you think.
The November meeting will take place on the 9th November if we are back in Reading, since the Church will be in use for a wedding on the 2nd. If the meeting is electronic it will probably stay on the 2nd.
Having brought everyone up to date, we were then treated to a short talk by Michael.
Following a recent discovery by Michael he now believes that the Royal Mint was considering changing the punctuation on coins in 1816. Evidence for this came from two 1816 sixpences, one which had a mixture of diamond and square shaped stops and another which was vice-versa instead of the usual circular stops on the obverse.
Michael wondered if these two dies were possibly Trial dies, other sorts of stops having been used in the past (cf. during the reign of Henry VI). In the event the traditional circular stops were obviously considered superior.
Michael then followed on to an 1820 sixpence with an inverted 1 in the date
He has been sorting out his groats and came across an 1840 groat which had repairs to three of the letters in Pence but not to the first E which was missing its middle bar completely an 1841 groat with a 1 at the start of the date and a Roman I at the end of the date an 1842groat where the 2 has been struck over a 1 and an 1848 groat with G over sideways G.
He finished by detailing some of the new penny varieties he has found. Firstly an 1860 where the I in Britt appears to have been overstruck with a T to give BRTTT. Next there was an 1861 with the N of ONE overstruck on an inverted N, then a VIGTORIA error. Michael thought that this latter error may have been made by the repairer, working in reverse, since the G of REG is where the C of Victoria would have been on the die itself, the image being reversed.
After that we had a spectacularly misaligned repair to an 1880 penny, almost making it an 18880 penny.
Many thanks to Michael for a well prepared and interesting talk.
Georgian Bank of England Tokens
Part 2 1804 - 1816
With the withdrawal of the 1797 issue of bank tokens once again people were calling for small denomination regal silver coins. But then things began to improve. Nelsons 1798 victory at the Nile and the prospect of Peace produced a calming effect on the markets. With Government war spending reduced and the price of silver falling several London Bankers sent silver to the Mint for coining. For some inexplicable reason the Privy Council banned their issue, although they had no legal right to do so unless mandated by Parliament. The very rare Dorrien & Magens is the only survivor from this time.
By 1803 the Peace was over and prices of all commodities were rising rapidly and once again there was now much concern at the lack of silver coin. The Government bereft of ideas & leadership passed the buck to others to decide. They did however hint at another issue of countermarked 8 Reales, this time using a more prominent mark. Thus in January 1804 the Treasury warranted the Mint to over strike 8 Reales with a stamp of the portrait of George 3rd as per the silver penny. But as 8 Reales were in short supply only 266,000 countermarked pieces were issued , this time at a value of 5/- and known as dollars. Easy comparison with the penny was seen as giving greater protection against forgery.
Almost immediately Mr Forger got to work. The Banks problem was with the stamp. The portrait of the silver penny is so shallow that most marks are indistinct and lack fine detail. The examples of silver pennies below illustrate the point, (note the difference in quality of these higher grade specimens).
This played into the hands of the forgers as the difference between genuine and fake marks is often minimal. Even today expert opinions often differ as to what is genuine and what is not.
The marks on the first 2 coins are clearly fake as the head shape is wrong, although the first is on a good 8 Reales. The 3rd coin dated 1806 is a later concoction as genuine pieces were withdrawn in 1804. The 4th specimen illustrates the dilemma. Purchased as a forgery it could be a genuine but poorly applied mark.
Because of what happened next these Octagonal dollars had a very short life, as explained in part 3. The Bank gave notice that redemption would officially closed in September 1804, a little over 6 months since first issued. That the bank was not seen to be profiteering the genuine dollars with false marks were, by arrangement, purchased for 4/8d by another bank, namely Binns & Wood. What the public did not know was the Bank of England then purchased them for 4/8½d.
Part 3 will tell the tale of what happened next
And Now the Answers to Michaels Quiz
1 4 S = 1 D ..4 Sestertius = 1 Denarius (After 211 BC)
2 2 R = 1 S 2 Ryals (10s.) = 1 Sovereign (1485-1554)
3 96 HF = 1S ..96 Half Farthings(2x4x12) = 1 Shilling
4 1 G = 21 S 1 Guinea = 21 Shillings (After 1717 George 1)
5 40 S = 1 P 40 Sixpences = 1 Pound
6 240 HP = 10 S .240 Half pennies = 10 Shillings
7 120 G = 2 P .120 groats (120x4) = 2 Pounds (480 p)
8 3 A = 1 S 3 Angels (6s. 8d) = 1 Sovereign (20s) (1485-1554)
9 25 D = 1 A 25 Denarius = 1 Aureus (After 27 Bc)
10 16 QF = 1 P 16 Quarter Farthings = 1 Penny
11 Grand ...£1000
12 Monkey .£500
13 Pony ..£25
14 Score £20
15 Ton £100
16 Half a bar .10 Shilling or 50 pence
17 Lady Godiva ..£5 (Fiver)
18 Mother Hen £10 (ten)
19 Squid £1 (quid)
20 Niffty £50 (fifty)
21 Bag of sand £1000 (grand)
22 Dirty .£30 (thirty)
23 Bobby Moore .£20 (score)
24 Elsie ..6 pence (Tanner Coronation Street)
25 Bullseye .£50 (Centre of the dart board)
· 20 years ago "Soho's Anti-forgery Experiments" by Mick Martin
· 40 years ago - "A Roman Hoard" by Barry Greenaway