Featured Déjà vu – A recent purchase brings back fond memories

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by Coinsandmedals, Aug 27, 2021.

  1. Coinsandmedals

    Coinsandmedals Well-Known Member

    I think I have officially hit the point where I can no longer justify the expense of new additions. There have been some stellar coins offered for sale already this year, but more often than not, these pieces realize prices that are just a bit out of my comfort zone. Consequently, I have only added four new noteworthy pieces to my collection, which pales compared to last year. On any note, I am delighted with my latest purchase which brings back memories of a much simpler time. A time before COVID, before insane auctions prices, and before I was thoroughly infected with the bug of collecting Soho pieces.


    We can probably all think back to the first piece that eventually became the foundation of a new collecting pursuit. For me, this took the form of a 1788 Great Britain pattern Halfpenny (P-945) struck at the Soho Mint (pictured above). I remember being sucked into the history and immense conflict between Jean Pierre Droz (the engraver of this coin) and the founder of the Soho Mint, Matthew Boulton. Fast forward several years and that research has dramatically expanded and now represents almost all of my numismatic pursuits. There is just so much fascinating history left to be discovered! The original piece holds a special place in my collection, and I am ecstatic to add a second similar example alongside it.

    My newest purchase is the “1788” Great Britain pattern Halfpenny (P-1003) pictured below. Although this piece is dated 1788, it was likely struck nearly a century later. Peck classifies this variety as a restrike, meaning that it was struck using Soho dies sometime after the demise of the Soho Mint. I provide more detail about restrikes in the introduction of my registry set, so if you are looking for more information about restrikes, it can be found there. On any note, this piece was likely struck in the 1880s by Taylor after he acquired the dies from Matthew Pier Watt Boulton, the grandson of Matthew Boulton. Often dubbed “Taylor restrikes”, these pieces make the proper attribution of English coinage struck at the Soho Mint far more complicated, as he often intentionally created new varieties to sell to unsuspecting collectors. When considering the sheer number of restrike varieties paired with the frequency with which some of these come up for sale, it appears that this was a relatively successful operation. For instance, we know that 10 of these pieces, along with 794 other restrikes of different varieties and types, were part of a consignment from W. J. Taylor’s workshop on June 29th, 1880 (Peck, 1964). This was a single consignment, and it stands to reason that multiple of this caliber were likely placed over the careers of Taylor and his two sons. As such, it would be nearly impossible to ascertain how many of each variety were produced. Peck (1964) specifically notes that this variety (i.e., P-1003) was created with the sole intent of creating something new to trick unsuspecting collectors.

    1788 Pattern HalfPence P-1003 Double Struck With Rotation.jpg

    Although Peck (1964) notes this coin as rare, it appears to be much more common than other similarly rated varieties, with nearly 60 examples coming up for sale over the last five decades. This estimate only includes the examples attributed by TPGs and numerous auction houses. It makes no effort to include those not directly attributed, so the actual number of market appearances is likely higher. However, this example is somewhat more unique because both the obverse and reverse are double struck, the reverse being far more dramatic than the obverse. From my estimates, it appears the obverse is double struck with about a 3-degree rotation between strikes. The reverse, however, is double struck with about 21 degrees of rotation between strikes. The result is a coin that looks as though it has been circulated, but the flat areas are where the strikes overlapped. This is abundantly apparent when examining the bust of King George III and the outer portion of Britannia’s shield. In contrast, examining the inner portion of the shield demonstrates the conflicting design details. It will be interesting to see how NGC grades this piece, given its odd nature.

    So what got you started in your current collecting pursuits? Has it come full circle as it has for me?
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  3. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    I love the reverse of this one. Almost has the appearance of a brockage, but looks like it was struck with the master die/ reverse impression.
    Coinsandmedals likes this.
  4. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    Lovely. I have a soft spot for Soho proofs, particularly the gilt ones.

    Unfortunately I no longer presently own any, but I'll probably get another one day.

    (... IF I can afford one, which is a matter of some doubt!)

    This one below (ex- @yarm) was the last one I owned. Alas, it went away in my 2019 "pay the bills" purge.

    I've also had an Irish gilt halfpenny (raw PR61-ish), and a stunning 1805 Irish gilt penny (NGC PF64 UCAM). That last is probably my #1 "seller's remorse" coin.




    fretboard, buckeye73, tibor and 6 others like this.
  5. kaosleeroy108

    kaosleeroy108 The Mahayana Tea Shop & hobby center

    I'm sorry you had to dip into your collection to pay the bills
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  6. kaosleeroy108

    kaosleeroy108 The Mahayana Tea Shop & hobby center

    I promised myself if I ever got to that point where I had a dip in my collection to pay the bills I would sell the coins that I have the most of which is just scrap silver
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  7. Coinsandmedals

    Coinsandmedals Well-Known Member

    I need to take new images of this coin as the current ones are too dark. On any note, here is another example of a double-struck halfpenny, this time with a less severe rotation (obverse).
    1806 Restrike Halfpenny DS With Obv. Rotation .jpg
  8. Coinsandmedals

    Coinsandmedals Well-Known Member

    @lordmarcovan that looks like one heck of a lovely piece! I have been toying with the idea of adding a nice gilt example to my collection, but it seems as though I get distracted by something else every time. I currently only have two gilt examples, both of which are circulated proofs. They are not the prettiest to look at, but I find it intriguing that they ever circulated - especially the tuppence as they were never popular in contemporary commerce.
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  9. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    @Coinsandmedals - I have coveted your avatar coin ever since you arrived here.
  10. fiddlehead

    fiddlehead Well-Known Member

    1840 Mint Set full.jpg I wanted a coin from the Charlotte NC mint because family members had recently moved there and I was looking around in coin shops and getting interested in the history of Charlotte, the mint and gold mining. An 1840C half eagle came up at a reputable dealer's site - someone I'd bought double eagle's from before - at a good price, a very love XF45. So I bought it, wound up learning more about the Charlotte Mint and realized that 1840 being a year with many first issues and with only one Eagle - minted in Philly, that it might be good year to try and complete a gold mint set. Now I've completed the gold and most of the rest of an 1840 mint set with nice collector grade pieces - average grade probably AU50. There are many interesting issues from that year including the 1840(O) half dollar (no mint mark, reverse of 39) definitely minted in New Orleans. Has no mint mark because the shifted the mint mark to the reverse that year but the New Orleans mint didn't have a new reverse die to use until later in the year. I love stories like that. Now if only I didn't have to think about the slaves that no doubt built those Southern mints and/or were exploited and brutalized by the people who used those coins. Terrible, sad, no words can express the scope of that tragedy and the fallout we have yet today.
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2021
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  11. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & Eccentric Moderator

    I’m philosophical about it. My collection has waxed and waned over the years; been burnt to the ground and risen anew from the ashes at least three times in four decades. A couple of the purges were voluntary.

    It’s actually been a great learning experience I wouldn’t have had if I had followed the traditional “hold onto everything for life” model.

    Tear it all down, build it back better, with slight changes of strategy each time. It’s been a valuable evolution.

    Most importantly, it’s taught me a healthy bit of material detachment. “It’s all just stuff”, in the grand scheme of things. The coins I sold were great while they were here, and taught me a lot. The money I made or lost in the process is a secondary consideration entirely.
    The Eidolon and Seascape like this.
  12. mrbadexample

    mrbadexample Well-Known Member

    The portrait reminds me of the 1786 Isle of Man coinage:

    Isle of Man 1d 1786 (3).jpg

    Was this engraved by Droz too?
  13. Coinsandmedals

    Coinsandmedals Well-Known Member

    Nice example! The 1786 coinage for the Isle of Man was struck at the Royal Mint. If I remember correctly, the dies were engraved by Lewis Pingo. The Soho Mint would not strike coinage for the Isle of Man until 1798, the dies for which were engraved by Küchler and later touched up by Phillps for the 1813 issues.
    mrbadexample likes this.
  14. mrbadexample

    mrbadexample Well-Known Member

    Nice one, thank you. I didn't know it was by Pingo. It's one of my favourite George III portraits. :)
  15. JPD3

    JPD3 Well-Known Member

    What he said. Ditto for me. I remember my stellar collection of Morgans and Peace dollars lining the pockets of two divorce lawyers (Sigh). I miss them sometimes (the coins, not the lawyers :playful:).
    lordmarcovan likes this.
  16. Mammothtooth

    Mammothtooth Stand up Philosopher, Vodka Taster

    In my case age is dictating a potential sale of my Pickelhauben. No family interest and too valuable to let sit and go to the good will, not that anyone is sporting Spiked Helmets these days….

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 31, 2021
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