Category Archives: Coin Collecting

New fake pound coin type? Coin forgery for fun and profit…

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:

fake pound coin photo
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!
fake pound coin photo

The easiest way to spot them is still the poorly executed edge inscriptions:

fake pound coin photo

fake pound coin photo

fake pound coin photo

fake pound coin photo

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.”

Rare Carausius ‘Clasped Hands’ Denarius being offered by Dix, Noonan and Webb

Rare Carausius ‘Clasped Hands’ Denarius being offered by Dix, Noonan and Webb

Dix, Noonan and Webb are offering a very rare Carausius ‘Clasped Hands’ Denarius in their December 9th coin auction:

Carausius, Argenteus, London, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right, rev. clasped hands, 4.19g/6h (cf. RIC 549; cf. Shiel 14-20). Very fine and very rare £600-800

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).”

Wish I had the money for this one!

Metal Detecting UK

New London Coins Auction catalogue, auction 131 on 5th and 6th of December

New London Coins Auction catalogue

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 : bids@londoncoins.co.uk,  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.

Metal Detecting UK

An ancient Greek metal detecting find – coin from Thurium or Thurii

An ancient Greek metal detecting find – coin from Thurium or Thurii

Thurium bull ancient greek coin metal detecting find
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…
Thurium bull ancient greek coin metal detecting find

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.

Metal Detecting UK

Queen Victoria ‘To Hanover’ gaming tokens or jettons, 1837 to 1867

Queen Victoria ‘To Hanover’ gaming tokens or jettons, 1837 to 1867

Queen Victoria 'To Hanover' gaming tokens or jettons, 1837 or 1867
Queen Victoria ‘To Hanover’ gaming tokens or jettons, 1837 or 1867

A Queen Victoria ‘To Hanover’ gaming token or jetton, dated 1867. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of these were minted between 1837 and 1867 (at least the most recent date I have seen on one of these tokens or jettons is 1867, there may be later dated examples around, some are dated as early as 1830). The man on the horse is not St. George slaying the dragon, but the Duke of Cumberland on route to claim the crown of Hanover.

Queen Victoria 'To Hanover' gaming tokens or jettons, 1837 or 1867
Queen Victoria ‘To Hanover’ gaming tokens or jettons, 1837 or 1867

These photographs are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Which means you can take them for use on your own web site etc. as long as they are properly attributed.

Cartwheel Twopence Coins, Cartwheel Penny Craziness

Cartwheel two penny coins

Cartwheel two penny coins produced by the Soho Mint, Cartwheel pennyCartwheel two penny coins produced by the Soho Mint, Cartwheel pennyProbably my favourite Georgian coins, the Cartwheel pennies are a currency experiment that didn’t quite go as planned. They were created by Matthew Boulton at the Soho Mint in Handsworth, Birmingham in 1797. Eight of these cartwheel twopence coins, laid side by side, measure exactly one foot, an unusual sort of anti-counterfeiting measure. They weighed exactly 2oz a piece, the one penny weighing  exactly 1oz. At the time they were produced it is believed that as much as two thirds of the copper coinage in circulation in the UK was fake. They were also the first official British coins struck using steam power.
Cartwheel two penny coins produced by the Soho MintA quick and easy way of telling a cartwheel twopence from the one pence, without a side by side comparison, is to measure the thickness of the coin. A cartwheel twopence is 5mm or 1 fifth of an inch thick and the cartwheel one pence is 3mm thick.

Cartwheel two penny coins produced by the Soho Mint

Soho mint mark beneath Britannia's shield
Soho mint mark beneath Britannia’s shield

Matthew Boulton and his Soho Mint also produced tokens for the East India Company. The millions of copper tokens salvaged from the wreck of the Admiral Gardner, wrecked on the Goodwin Sands on January 24/25, 1809, were produced at the Soho Mint on Matthew Boulton’s steam powered coin presses. Admiral Gardner was carrying 54 tons of the copper coins, which had been destined for use by the company in India.

These photographs are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Which means you can take them for use on your own web site etc. as long as they are properly attributed. I’ve already added a couple of them to Wikimedia Commons.

Metal Detecting UK

John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, Halfpenny token, 1792

Iohn of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, Halfpenny token, 1792

Not a metal detecting find, but still an unusual token that I thought would be worth posting. These tokens were minted to make up for shortfalls in production of low value copper coins. This one commemorates John of Gaunt. I would imagine that they are pretty common metal detecting finds in and around Lancashire, but I’ve certainly not seen many of them down here in the southern UK. The most commonly seen tokens down here are the Georgian spade guineas that aren’t spade guineas and Victorian ‘To Hanover’ gaming pieces that look a lot like gold sovereigns when you first see them in the clod.

Iohn of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, Halfpenny token, 1792

Some information about John of Gaunt from wikipedia:

“John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, KG (6 March 1340 – 3 February 1399) was a member of the House of Plantagenet, the third surviving son of King Edward III of England and Philippa of Hainault. He was called “John of Gaunt” because he was born in Ghent (in modern Belgium), Gaunt in English.

John exercised great influence over the English throne during the minority of his nephew, Richard II, and during the ensuing periods of political strife, but was not thought to have been among the opponents of the King.

John of Gaunt’s legitimate male heirs, the Lancasters (the other party in the Wars of the Roses, the Yorks, being the male descendants of his older brother, Lionel of Antwerp, 1st Duke of Clarence, and younger brother, Edmund), included Kings Henry IV, Henry V, and Henry VI. His other legitimate descendants included his daughters Queen Philippa of Portugal, wife of John I of Portugal and mother of King Edward of Portugal, and Elizabeth, Duchess of Exeter, mother of John Holland, 2nd Duke of Exeter, through his first wife, Blanche; and by his second wife, Constance, John was father of Queen Catherine of Castile, wife of Henry III of Castile and mother of John II of Castile. John fathered five children outside marriage, one early in life by a lady-in-waiting to his mother, and four surnamed “Beaufort” by Katherine Swynford (after a former French possession of the Duke), Gaunt’s long-term mistress and third wife. The Beaufort children, three sons and a daughter, were legitimized by royal and papal decrees after John and Katherine married in 1396, with the proviso that they were specifically barred from inheriting the throne (‘excepta regali dignitate’). Descendants of this marriage included Henry Beaufort, Bishop of Winchester and eventually Cardinal; Joan Beaufort, Countess of Westmorland, grandmother of Kings Edward IV and Richard III; John Beaufort, 1st Earl of Somerset, the great-grandfather of King Henry VII; and Joan Beaufort, Queen of Scots, from whom are descended from 1437 all subsequent Sovereigns of Scotland, and successively from 1603 Sovereigns England, of Great Britain and Ireland, and of the United Kingdom to the present day. The three preceding houses of English sovereigns from 1399 – the Houses of Lancaster, York and Tudor – were descended from John through, respectively, Henry Bolingbroke, Joan Beaufort and John Beaufort.”

Metal Detecting UK

Chris Rudd releases Celtic coin book (at long last!)

Chris Rudd releases Celtic coin book

At long last – Chris Rudd, one of the worlds foremost experts on British Celtic coins, has released a book, Ancient British Coins, here’s the blurb:

“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!

Order Ancient British Coins by Chris Rudd on Amazon.co.uk

Metal Detecting UK

Earliest Known Sighting of Halley’s Comet – Comets and Meteors on Ancient Greek and Roman Coins

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11255168

It seems the ancient greeks spotted Halley’s comet in 466BC.

This got me thinking about ancient greek and roman coins that depict comets or meteorites (or at least appear to depict a comet or meteorite). There are more than a few of them, but wasn’t there a very rare ancient greek silver coin minted sometime in the fifth century BC that depicted a “meteorite”? I wonder if the coin was really commemorating the appearance of the Halley’s comet?

I have been searching around the web trying to find pictures of it and some more details, but so far it has eluded me. Trying to remember the details of this is doubly frustating because I am pretty sure I recently saw one of these coins for sale on ebay.com.

I guess I might be thinking of the Armenian king Tigranes the Great, who produced a coin depicting what is believed to be Halley’s Comet in 87BC.

Did anybody out there see a greek coin depicting a comet or meteorite on ebay in the last few weeks?

See this link for more ancient coins that depict comets and meteorites.

The ancient greeks are believed to have worshipped meteorites and kept them in their temples. Until recently The Black Stone of Paphos, a large dark coloured stone found at The Temple of Aphrodite in Paphos, Cyprus, was believed to be a meteorite.

London Coins Auction – Saturday 4th – Sunday 5th September 2010

London Coins Auction – Saturday 4th – Sunday 5th September 2010

The latest London Coins Auction‘s sale is happening this coming weekend (Saturday 4th – Sunday 5th September 2010).

The catalogue for the auction is up to London Coins Auction usual high standard, as are the the offerings within. The sale catalogue contains more than 2400 individual lots.

Some highlights from the sale catalogue (Auction 130):

Phillip and Mary Ireland shilling dated 1555. VF. Catalogue number 522. Estimate £750-£1500.

A stunning Solidi of Constantine the Great, Nicomedia mint. Good VF. Catalogue number 918). Estimate £3000-£5000). This coin is a new one on me, very unusual.

The most stunning Commonwealth Crown I have ever seen. Dated 1656. Graded choice EF.  Catalogue number 957. Estimate £2500-£5000.

And too many other fantastic items to list.

Bids by e-mail : bids@londoncoins.co.uk, or snail mail to 4-6 Upper Street South, New Ash Green, Kent DA3 8JJ, phone 01474 871464 or fax 01474 872173.

Now if only I could win a few million on the lottery…