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

Silver cup with Athena seated from the Hildesheim Treasure

Probably the finest known example of the Roman silversmith’s art:

Silver cup with Athena seated from the Hildesheim Treasure. Photograph by Andreas Praefcke from Wikipedia
Silver cup with Athena seated from the Hildesheim Treasure. Photograph by Andreas Praefcke from Wikipedia

Silver cup with Athena seated from the Hildesheim treasure, discovered on October 17, 1868 on Galgenberg Hill in Hildesheim, Germany. Dating from the first century AD, this cup may have been owned and used by the commander of the lost Varus legions.

Cartwheel penny found with a metal detector for comparison

Cartwheel penny found with a metal detector for comparison

Cartwheel penny found with a metal detector
Thought this coin would make for an interesting comparison with the Cartwheel two pence coins I posted a few days ago. Above and below: A cartwheel one penny coin found with a metal detector. The pitting and corrosion on this coin is a testament to the hostile soil conditions found in many places in the UK, and the high quality copper used by the Soho Mint in its manufacture. On a long enough time line, copper coins and artefacts exposed to hostile soils conditions, not to mention the chemicals used in modern intensive farming, dissolve away to nothing.
Cartwheel penny found with a metal detector

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.

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

Interesting British Museum document on the analysis of the Coenwulf Mancus

The analysis of the Coenwulf Mancus

Analysis of a gold mancus of Coenwulf of Mercia and other comparable coins by Gareth Williams and Michael Cowell [PDF]

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.

Metal Detecting UK

Early 17th century book fittings as the book binder intended

Metal fittings from old books are relatively common metal detecting finds!

Early 17th century book fittingsSome early 17th century book fittings as the book binder intended! This book was bound, probably in Oxford, in around 1618-1620. The book has undoubtedly seen better days and the repair to the spine is really quite unfortunate.
Early 17th century book fittings

Early 17th century book fittings

Early 17th century book fittingsOne of the most touching things about books like this are the personal notes about births, deaths and notable incidents made by the owners. This one also contains the recipes for folk remedies to various ailments.

Early 17th century book fittings

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.”

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