Tag Archives: Admiral Gardener

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