One Coin Twice Hammered

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by TheRed, Apr 1, 2020.

  1. TheRed

    TheRed Supporter! Supporter

    It's not too often that a coin on eBay leaves me stunned and giddy to acquire it. One night when I was up late I decided to search eBay for fountain pens. After not seeing anything that caught my eye, I decided to search for English groats. During my search I came across such a coin which I am sharing in this thread.
    Edward III AR GRoat D-E Mule fill v2.png
    Edward III AR Groat 4th Coinage pre-Treaty Series D/E mule circa 1353 AD, London mint, mm Cross 1/2.
    Obv: EDWARD DG REX ANGL Z FRANC D HYB; crowned bust of king facing, annulet stops, mm cross 1.
    Rev: POSVI/DEVM·A/DIVTOR/EM·MEV; LON/DON/CIVI/TAS. Long cross pattee with pellets in quarters, annulet stops, mm cross 2.
    SCBC.1566/7 N.1152/3


    At first glance this coin may look like an ugly mess, but there are several features that caught my eye. One of them is more obvious and a couple others aren't. Maybe the least obvious is that the groat is a mule between dies of class D and class E. The obverse is from class D, as indicated by the mint mark of cross 1 and the letter R with the curled tail. The reverse is from class E, with cross 2 as a mint mark. Even more fun is that despite being from different classes, both obverse and reverse have the letter N unbarred. While a standard feature in class E, many of the class D dies had barred Ns.

    Those features are a bit of fly specking, as some on this forum would say. The really cool feature is that this groat was struck twice. Not double struck, as is so common on hammered coins, but flipped over and struck a second time in order to make the obverse into the reverse and the reverse into the obverse. I little amateur photo editing will help make it evident. First the untouched image then the one I edited.
    Edward III AR GRoat D-E Mule fill v2.png
    Edward III AR Groat Double Strike.png
    The double striking is most evident on the obverse of the groat. Starting at 7 o'clock on the rim of the, there are four partial letters still readable from the reverse die. They are TOR/E from the reverse legend DIVTOR/EM·MEV. Moving towards the center, a complete letter I and partial V from CIVI are also visible.

    The bust of Edward is obscured by a good portion of the reverse long cross pattee and a number of the pellets. Seven of them are visible, though I didn't highlight them all. The small pellets that comprise the rings on the reverse are also clear on the obverse. Lastly, the letters D and O from DON are visible to the right of the bust of Edward.

    Much less detail from the obverse die is visible on the reverse of the coin. Part of the king's shoulder, a bit of the tressure, and a few trefoils can be seen. The smallest parts of the letters A and N, from ANGL in the obverse legend, can be seem at the edge of the reverse at 11 o'clock. This leads me to believe that the reverse absorbed much more force from the second strike as compared to the obverse.

    The real interesting question is why would the moneyer take a groat that had already been struck, flip it over, an restrike it? My theory is that the coin was badly off center when initially minted. That there are several letters on both the obverse and reverse that are largely off the flan would attest to that theory. In a poorly carried out attempt at quality control the moneyer flipped the coin, lined it up with the dies, and restruck the groat. Thankfully he wasnt completely successful in his effort, and instead created a very interesting coin that thankfully survived for over 600 years.

    Please feel free to post mint errors, brockages, double strikes, or any medieval or ancient coins that you feel are relevant. Most importantly, thanks for reading!
     
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  3. Ryro

    Ryro You'll never be lovelier than you are now... Supporter

    First: Wonderful coin and write up.
    B: I love “fly specking”. The devil is in the details.
    Third: I really like your assessment of the situation. And think you’re spot on. Quality control with a capital Kevin!
    I’ve no Eddie the third. So I’ll post the first:
    BF496404-717E-4911-9C2A-9A16383A7218.png King Edward I
    1280 CE
    Longshanks medieval
    Period Silver Penny
    Coin.London
     
  4. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    That's cool, @TheRed ! I love fly-specking. Very informative write-up, too. I wouldn't have been able to make heads or tails out of that!
     
    TheRed likes this.
  5. TheRed

    TheRed Supporter! Supporter

    Thanks @Ryro I appreciate the praise. I can only imagine how monotonous it got spending the day striking coins. Maybe the Medieval moneyer Kevin just decided no one would ever notice the one bad groat in a sack or keg of thousands. You have got a great long cross penny of Edward I. In my humble opinion the long cross penny might be the most iconic English coin ever made. It was so extensively minted that in just a 5 month period in 1280 the London mint pumped out over 7 million pennies. It circulated all over Europe, was renowned for its fineness, and extensively copied by foreign mints.

    Thanks @Roman Collector. It took me a while to figure it out as well. At first I thought it was a really bad case of ghosting, which is very common on English hammered coins. Having the coin in hand really helped. The seller was willing to take a real low offer for the coin, $55, which made it even better.
     
    FitzNigel, galba68 and Ryro like this.
  6. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting this interesting coin an the informative write-up! Your theory of an intended second strike in order to "correct" a first off-center strike makes a lot of sense to me.

    Here is my Edward III groat. You'll know this coin very well – it once was part of your collection:

    MA – England, Edward III, AR Groat, London.jpg
    Edward III, England, AR groat, 1361–1369 AD (“treaty period”), London Tower mint. Obv: +EDWARD: DEI: G: REX: ANGL: DNS: hYB: Z: AQT, crowned bust facing within a tressure of arches, fleurs on cusps. Rev: +POSVI x DEVM x ADIVTOREM x MEVM; long cross, three pellets in each angle; CIVITAS LONDON around inner circle. 26mm, 4.30g. Ref: Spink 1616. Ex @TheRed collection; ex AMCC 2, lot 308.
     
  7. TheRed

    TheRed Supporter! Supporter

    You're welcome @Orielensis I'm always happy to share medieval coins. While there aren't many medieval collectors on here, maybe someone will be inspired to start.

    Ah yes, I have fond memories of that groat. It was my first from the treaty period and I always loved the way it looked in hand. After upgrading with a couple more examples I was happy to release it back into the wild.
     
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  8. thejewk

    thejewk Well-Known Member

    That's a great bit of detective work. It took me some time to be able to see what you were talking about, but then my eyes adjusted and it all became clear. Nice pickup.
     
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