First post of 2011! Just when it seemed the Police had the pound coin forgers licked (or at least nicked) a possible new fake pound coin type has emerged, if not a new type it is certainly a new one to this area at least, far brighter and shinier than the previous ones:
Though the numbers of fake pound coins in circulation seems to have decreased over the last few months, I still wonder what impact they are having on the economy. Time to go back to the good ole £1 note!
The easiest way to spot them is still the poorly executed edge inscriptions:
Wikipedia says: “A Royal Mint survey in January 2009 estimated that 2.58% of all £1 coins in circulation are counterfeit. This represented a considerable increase, up from 2.06% a year earlier, with the highest level of counterfeits being in Northern Ireland (3.6%) and London and the South East (2.97%) and lowest in Northwest England. Some estimates place the figure closer to 5%. An earlier survey in 2006 gave an estimate of 1.7%, which itself was nearly twice earlier estimates.
In July 2010, it was reported there were so many counterfeit pound coins in circulation (about 2.81% or about 1 in 36) that the Royal Mint were considering removing the current £1 coin from circulation and replacing it with a new design. Bookmakers Paddy Power offered odds of 6/4 (bet £4 to make £6 profit) that the £1 coin would be removed from circulation.
One common method of detecting counterfeits (if the sound of the coin on a table or the colour of the metal does not indicate something suspicious) is to check whether the reverse matches the edge inscription for the alleged year – it is extremely common for counterfeiters to get this wrong. Also, the writing on the edge may be in the wrong font and look very poor (see image), and the coins often generally look much less sharp and defined, lacking intricate details. Most counterfeit £1 coins in circulation are made of brass, and most lead copies are easy to spot and are quickly removed from circulation.”
Can’t believe it took me this long to notice! The writing isn’t ‘eye visible’ on the coin itself, but the camera certainly seems to have picked it up. Time to break out the flatbed scanner and photoshop, wonder if I can enhance it enough to make it readable?
There was a near perfect example of this coin found amongst the 52,503 coins of the Frome Hoard, found by Dave Crisp. See The Frome Hoard Book, by Sam Moorhead, Anna Booth and Roger Bland, page 28 for more information about this very unusual coin and an interesting theory about the meaning of the letters ‘RSR’ beneath the clasped hands from Guy de la Bedoyere. Although, John Y. Akerman writing in Coins of the Romans Relating to Britain, 1836, says “It is difficult to assign an exact meaning to the letters RSR; but if conjecture be allowed, it seems highly probable that this coin was struck at Rutupia (Richborough in Kent).”
The new London Coins Auction catalogue is out. The catalogue for the auction is up to London Coins Auction usual high standard (with loads of colour photographs), as are the the offerings within. The sale catalogue contains more than 2300 individual lots. Fewer ancients in this one than usual, but as always, there is something in this sale for everybody.
The auction takes place on the Sunday 5th and Monday 6th of December at the Grange Hotel, Charles Square, Bracknell, Berks, RG12 1ED.
Bids by e-mail : email@example.com, or snail mail to 4-6 Upper Street South, New Ash Green, Kent DA3 8JJ, phone 01474 871464 or fax 01474 872173. See www.londoncoins.co.uk for more info.
An ancient Greek metal detecting find – coin from Thurium or Thurii
This one is still my favourite, and oldest, metal detecting find of all time. A coin minted in Thurium, a Greek city in modern day Italy, in the 4th century BC. The bull charging right is a recurring motif on coins minted in Thurium. How it ended up next to a canal in Hertfordshire, I guess we’ll never know…
When I found it, I was absolutely convinced I’d found a Celt, but the British Museum later identified it as being an ancient Greek.
This very interesting document describes not only the Coenwulf Mancus and the various processes the British Museum used to examine and authenticate it, but also shows the other six ‘later’ Anglo-Saxon gold coins in the British Museum’s collection. There are only eight known ‘later’ Anglo-Saxon gold coins in existence, seven held at the BM and number eight is in a museum in France, or Belgium or somewhere, can’t remember.
Also, there was a great photo of a Coenwulf silver penny on page 37 of the November issue of The Searcher.
“Never before have so many ancient British coins been so easy to identify, so easy to study, so easy to enjoy. ABC catalogues 999 iron age coins, including 418 new types not shown by Van Arsdell in 1989. ABC describes and dates them, gives up to six references for each, estimates their rarity and shows every coin twice actual size, so that its distinctive differences can be seen at a glance. ABC took ten years to produce, has 256 fact-packed pages and contains 4000 superb coin photos, plus 500 other illustrations, diagrams, tables and maps.
ABC is a picture book, not a lecture book. “ABC is a remarkable achievement” says Prof. Miranda Aldhouse-Green. “It manages to combine scholarship and accessible information in a volume whose every page is interesting and whose writing style makes it fun to use.” ABC is a large hardback book (30 x 20 cm), light in style, heavy in weight (1.5 kgs) – “an indispensable aid to anyone wanting to identify British iron age coins” says Prof. Colin Haselgrove – worth every penny of its £75 plus postage. Buy ABC direct from Chris Rudd.”
At £75 plus £10 postage and packing, it isn’t the cheapest book in the world, but when you consider that the next best guide is R. D. Van Arsdell’s book, which is out of print, (and will cost you at least £150 if you are lucky enough to find someone foolish enough to sell their copy) this book is going to be a fantastic investment for metal detectorists, coin collectors and archaeologists a like! And with Chris Rudd at the helm, you know the production values of this book will be fantastic! I haven’t been this excited about a book release in years!
A couple more shots with the cheap, perhaps too cheap, digital microscope. Roman coin of Gallienus:Roman coins picturing mythical creatures are among my favourite finds, so I’m glad this one came out pretty well!Not bad!
Now for a hammered silver:
Not bad going! I was searching around on the web last night and found that Lindner (the coin and stamp storage box people) make a digital microscope that is similar in design to the one I am using but looks a lot better made, not to mention being a lot more expensive. Might be worth trying out some time!
Update: I’ve just heard from The Searcher Magazine that they reviewed the Lindner digital microscope in the August 2008 issue, on page 20.
I recently picked up a copy of Early Anglo-Saxon Coins by Gareth Williams, published by Shire Archaeology. This is one of the ‘new and improved’ Shire Archaeology series, sporting not only the modernized cover design, but a great many photographs accompany the text and the great thing about those photographs is that they are all in colour!
The book will be of limited value for identifying Anglo-Saxon coins (although there are many colour images of Anglo-Saxon coins and you may get lucky) – a guide to identifying Anglo-Saxon coins was not the authors intent, rather, this book is the story behind those coins and how they came to be here in the United Kingdom.
I hope all of the new look Shire Archaeology publications are produced to this standard, the production values and all the colour photographs are wonderful! When I get time I will write a full review of this book for the main website, in the mean time, I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the Anglo-Saxons or Anglo-Saxon coinage, a must read for metal detectorists and coin collectors everywhere.
The cover image is a hoard of Anglo-Saxon silver pennies, buried around 730AD, found at Woodham Walter in Essex.