I dug some old coins and need some help with identifying them
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Thread: I dug some old coins and need some help with identifying them

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  1. #1
    us
    Dec 2011
    Western Pennsylvania
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    I dug some old coins and need some help with identifying them

    I recently found a very old pocket spill. I had unearthed an 1796 LC, an 1833 LC, 1795 LC, and 3 coins that I am not sure of. These coins appear to have spent quite some time in the ground and the Pennsylvania climate has taken it's toll on them. I will provide as much info as I can.

    These coins appear to be copper.

    Coin #1 is 27.51mm in diameter, and weighs 6.59g.

    Coin #2 is 27.46mm in diameter, and weighs 6.42g.

    Coin #1 has what looks like a crack in the picture. However, it is not a crack. It is like a ledge that looks like it was there from when the coin was struck.

    I found another one that is 27.91mm in diameter, and weighs 7.58g, but it is severely corroded so I did not include pictures of it.


    Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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    ctitech0019 likes this.

  2. #2
    Charter Member
    us
    Nov 2012
    Maryland
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    Both are English George III halfpennies or pennies. He was king of England during the time of the American Revolution and into the early 19th Century. Nice finds.

  3. #3
    us
    Dec 2011
    Western Pennsylvania
    Minelab CTX 3030 Minelab Etrac, Sunray X-1, 10x12SEF, Sunray x-5 Garrett AT-Pro & Propointer Teknetiks Delta 4000
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    Wow. Thanks for replying so quickly. I appreciate the help.

  4. #4
    Charter Member
    us
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    the inscription on the front "Georgivs III Rex" and the reverse is "Brittania".

  5. #5
    us
    Jul 2010
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    They're half pennies, George III pennies are much larger (and the 1797 ones have an ounce of copper in them!)
    Speeding up Gresham's law one roll at a time

  6. #6
    us
    Dec 2011
    Western Pennsylvania
    Minelab CTX 3030 Minelab Etrac, Sunray X-1, 10x12SEF, Sunray x-5 Garrett AT-Pro & Propointer Teknetiks Delta 4000
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    So why does the first coin appear to have been struck with a broken die? Was that common?

  7. #7
    us
    Jan 2012
    Maryland
    White's Coinmaster
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    Quote Originally Posted by checkman View Post
    So why does the first coin appear to have been struck with a broken die? Was that common?
    99.9% of the time when they come out of the ground, they are counterfeits. These are counterfeits made during the period that they circulated. In the real dies, there could be die cracks, since there was not as good standards.

  8. #8
    us
    Jul 2010
    Garrett Ace 250, Bounty Hunter Quick Draw
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    Quote Originally Posted by checkman View Post
    So why does the first coin appear to have been struck with a broken die? Was that common?

    Like Sag said, they are most likely counterfeits (or evasion) halfpennies.

    You have to remember that Mercantilism was the dominant economic policy and mercantilism's basic viewpoint was that trade was a zero sum game, those who imported lost because their gold/silver/copper left their country and went to another country and those who exported gained because they got gold/silver/copper. Because of this, Europe and Britain in particular did not want to ship their gold/silver/copper over to the colonies where it might not be counted as "their" money.

    Because of this, the colonists were perpetually left with a shortage of good British coinage. Most of the silver coins would come from the Spanish colonies which had discovered vast silver deposits in Mexico and South America, most of the coinage that Britain did send over was of inferior quality, while a British half-penny was struck with 46 to the pound, the coinage sent to America was struck at a standard of 120 halfpence to the pound. And a lot of it was coinage that was rejected by other parts of the empire (mainly Ireland, which is why you see so many Irish half-pennies being dug up in the US).

    It didn't help that official British coins were few in number, even in Britain, the government was often unwilling to issue copper coins, so counterfeiting became an epidemic with more coins being fake than genuine! Although the penalty for forgery was severe, the law was widely ignored because an underweight halfpenny or farthing that circulated was more useful to make change than no copper coins at all. In the colonies, things were even more desperate with the majority of people simply ignoring the fact they had even a blatant counterfeit simply because there was no other option.

    During this time period "evasion" halfpennies also began to be issued. While it was illegal to issue counterfeit coinage that had the same legend as official coinage, it was perfectly legal to issue "tokens" that just happened to look nearly identical to the official issues that were just slightly underweight (the forger had to make a profit!) that had slightly modified legends. These evasion halfpennies were often poorly struck and many times the dies were deliberately altered to give the coin an appearance of circulation. In an era where many were often illiterate, these coins could circulate widely.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Above is an evasion Irish halfpenny. Notice that at first glance it looks to be a normal Irish halfpenny until you read the legend.

    In addition to evasion halfpennies, penny, halfpenny and farthing tokens (called Conder Tokens) were also produced. These commonly featured a town or business on them and served both as a way to make small change and as advertising. These generally did not circulate in the colonies but circulated widely in Britain.

    The counterfeiting craze ended in 1797 when Matthew Boulton gained a license to produce official copper coinage. Rather than creating fiat money where a halfpence contained less than a halfpence worth of copper, Boulton produced copper coins of full value where a copper penny would contain a penny's worth of copper (minus the cost of minting) these coins were huge with a copper penny weighing an ounce and a copper twopence weighing double that! Because of the much heavier size of these coins, they could no longer be counterfeited economically and Boulton's efficient steam-powered minting machines churned out 400 pennies a minute! Very impressive in the late 18th century.
    sagittarius98 likes this.
    Speeding up Gresham's law one roll at a time

  9. #9
    us
    Dec 2011
    Western Pennsylvania
    Minelab CTX 3030 Minelab Etrac, Sunray X-1, 10x12SEF, Sunray x-5 Garrett AT-Pro & Propointer Teknetiks Delta 4000
    39
    9 times
    Metal Detecting
    WOW. It is very interesting to think of who may have made these and exactly when. They must have circulated for a whie because I found them with a 1795, 1796, and a 1833 large cent (the 1833 has amazing rich detail.) I also found an 1818 large cent and a 1775 1 real at the same site last year. as well as many coins that have no discernable features left. I really do appreciate the expert knowledge on this forum. Thank you very much for this info.

 

 

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