Great Britain: silver "South Sea Company" shilling of George I, 1723

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by lordmarcovan, Nov 20, 2016.

  1. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Great Britain: silver "South Sea Company" shilling of George I, 1723
    Obverse: First bust of George I right.
    Reverse: British arms in four crowned shields, SS / C in angles.

    KM 539.3, .925 silver/.1790 oz. 6.02 g. PCGS MS63+, cert #29851549. (Previously in an NGC MS64 holder, #2783369-010.) Ex-Mobile Bay Coins, LLC (via eBay "wildwoodcollectibles" account), 8/3/2013.

    The German-born King George the First of Great Britain supposedly didn't speak a word of English when he founded the Hanoverian Dynasty and became the first of a long line of British King Georges. I find this interestingly ironic, considering the later Germanophobia which caused George V of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to change that dynasty's name to the present "House of Windsor" during World War One.

    The "SS" and "C" notations in the angles between the arms on the reverse of this coin indicate it was struck in silver from the South Sea Company, a British joint-stock trading concern established in 1711. This company peaked in 1720, then crashed shortly thereafter in the “South Sea Bubble”, bringing disgrace and financial ruin to many investors, as a result of insider trading. (Sound familiar? History does indeed repeat itself. The centuries march on, but people remain all too human.) After subsequent parliamentary inquiry and legislation, the company continued to do business for more than a century after the Bubble burst.

    I've always liked this issue, because it comes from such an interesting period. Just north of where I live in Georgia, the British established Fort King George in 1721, near Darien. The city of Savannah and the colony of Georgia hadn’t even been founded yet. And this coin was struck only a few years after Blackbeard the pirate met his end. About twenty years ago, I had an opportunity to buy one of these. It was an EF with some luster, and a very nice piece. The price seemed very reasonable, too, but it was 80 bucks, and that was a lot of money for me in those very lean times. I later wished I'd scratched up the money somehow. But I never imagined that when I finally did acquire a coin of this type, it would be an even nicer Mint State example.

    Miscellaneous links:
    PCGS cert verification page (w/TrueView image link)
    NGC/Krause priceguide trends
    Older image of this coin (when it was in the NGC MS64 holder)
    Previous NGC cert verification page

    Wikipedia links:
    George I of Great Britain
    House of Hanover
    South Sea Company
    Shilling (British coin) (history from 1706-1816)

    1723SSC-shilling-frame.png 1723SSC-shilling-shadowbox.png 1723SSC-shilling-TrueView.jpg 1723SSC-shilling-slab.jpg

    Last edited: Feb 28, 2021
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  3. spirityoda

    spirityoda Coin Junky Supporter

    nice coin and great write up.
  4. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    Interesting historical coin.

    Apparently these were made after the South Sea Company discovered some silver.

  5. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Nice coin, always a sucker for British coinage.
  6. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    When I visited @Aethelred in North Carolina recently, he took a loupe to this and spotted some die clashing on the reverse I'd never noticed before.
  7. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Pics don't show any clashing, maybe minor?
  8. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Maybe, but I dunno. I forgot to put the coin under a loupe myself after Michael looked at it, and it's in the safe deposit box right now, so I can't look. If you look at the "SS" in the northeast quadrant (around 2:00), there does seem to be something going on, with a line running between the two S'es.
  9. coin_nut

    coin_nut Supporter! Supporter

    That is a beauty! I have one also, though mine is in much poorer condition...I recall some of the story about this S.S.C coin being that the company acquired a large amount of silver somewhere around the area of present day Indonesia. Wonder if they got it through legitimate trade or piracy? I bet some Spanish ships sailed those waters in those days, traveling between the Philippines and Spain.
  10. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Maybe there was a fine line between "legitimate trade" and "piracy" in those days.
  11. Dr Heather Clarke

    Dr Heather Clarke New Member

    Do you mind if I use your photograph of the South Sea shilling on my website? It follows the story of James Cook being inspired to travel the seas when he saw a S.S.C. shilling. I'll credit you and add a link.
  12. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Go right ahead. It's fine by me. Interesting anecdote about Captain Cook. I hadn't heard that one before.

    I presume you've read Blue Latitudes by the late Tony Horwitz? He was one of my favorite authors.
  13. coin_nut

    coin_nut Supporter! Supporter

    I recently gave away one of those 1723 SSC shillings, not nearly as nice as your slabbed one.
  14. Mark Metzger

    Mark Metzger Well-Known Member

    I see clashing between the SS at 2:00 as well as north of the C at 11:00. These lines correspond with the base of the bust on the obverse. The clashing between the SS even goes beyond the drapery of the bust to include George’s neck. Marvelous coin! I love British pieces too and think this is a great addition to the eclectic box.
    Heavymetal likes this.
  15. Dillan

    Dillan The sky is the limit !

    Fantastic coin, very nice , I think the coin is under graded, and excellent story !!
  16. messydesk

    messydesk Well-Known Member

    Nice coin (3 years late)! Here's mine

  17. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Nice toning on that one. What's the grade? NGC, obviously.

    (Darn prongs... grumble mumble)

    While the shilling in the original post is gone from my collection now, I do have this double-struck error SSC sixpence now.


  18. messydesk

    messydesk Well-Known Member

    Formerly NGC, now PCGS 58. Here's the fangless picture after I cracked it out. 1723sh-5821.jpg
    lordmarcovan, Seattlite86 and TheRed like this.
  19. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Lovely, especially sans prongs. Has all the eye appeal of my ex-NGC 64 above. Maybe even more, though my coin had some more luster than the pix above.
  20. coin_nut

    coin_nut Supporter! Supporter

    I'd say that coin has had an easy life for the past 296 years...
  21. Dr Heather Clarke

    Dr Heather Clarke New Member

    Thanks, I'll post you the link next week. And I'll be sure to find a copy of Blue Latitudes.
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