Very Cool!!! Congrats!!!!! That’s one thick Penny😳
Awesome finds. Congrats! I have one of those cartwheels (not dug) and it's crazy how thick they are! You could probably make 20 wheaties out of that thing.
I agree, it was interesting enough for me to pick it for my A-Level History write up. Many, many years ago...I think it’s one of our most interesting coins. As I said, the penny weighed an ounce and the twopence weighed two ounces (it’s not confirmed which this one is, since they have similar diameters, identical designs and dates but no indication of denomination)… so the equivalent of 9 or 18 wheat cents.
These were Matthew Boulton’s brainchild (one of the unsung heroes of the Industrial Revolution), produced on a contract from the Royal Mint which Boulton had wanted for years. Boulton’s logic was that steam-powered presses would enable low cost production of high-definition strikes that would be difficult to counterfeit. In addition, the coins were produced with an amount of copper equal in intrinsic value to their face value, so counterfeiters would have to use other, cheaper, metals to achieve a profit.
Brilliant though he was as an engineer and entrepreneur, he was wrong on both counts. The price of copper fell as Britain entered a period of relative peacefulness and demand for copper to produce bronze cannon barrels dropped. Counterfeits in copper (and alloys) then appeared soon after.
Boulton was also a victim of his own success. In partnership with James Watt, he commercialised the steam engine, but initially it was a commercial failure. Existing manufacturers had to write off their old equipment and pay a high capital price to take advantage of the technology. Boulton solved the problem by persuading Watt to give the machinery to industrialists on a kind of lease-hire, but with the addition of a locked metering box. The box recorded how much coal was used and enabled calculation of how much money had been saved versus the old equipment. A proportion of the savings went towards paying for the machinery and a proportion went to the manufacturer as extra profit. When the machinery had been paid for in full (with interest), it became the property of the user and all of the savings were then his as extra profit. The downside for Boulton was that it also made the equipment affordable for the counterfeiters he was trying to keep in check.
As you can imagine, these coins were also deeply unpopular with the general public because of their size and weight. It was a one-year failed experiment, but the coins were used for years afterwards as weights by shopkeepers and market traders because of the high precision with which Boulton’s factory made them.