Author Topic: Lundy coins or tokens?  (Read 7406 times)

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Offline bart

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Lundy coins or tokens?
« on: March 31, 2007, 11:11:12 PM »
You found a follower of Martin Coles Harman, owner of the island of Lundy. At least, Dave Hill didn't put his own effigy on the coin, as Harman did.

bart

« Last Edit: June 23, 2007, 05:16:28 PM by Figleaf »

Offline Figleaf

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Tokens of Lundy
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2007, 11:44:55 PM »
Wonderful picture, Bart. They were issued by Martin Coles Harman, a wealthy London businessman, who bought Lundy island in 1925 for about 16,000 pounds. Since the name of the island means Monday in old French I think Mr. Harman got fair warning that he was buying a lemon.  :) Mr. Harman designed dies that were cut by John Pinches and used to strike 1/2 puffin and puffin tokens at the Birmingham Mint. They circulated in 1929 and 1930 among the 12 inhabitants, far outnumbered by the puffins (a sea bird). In 1930, a court ruled them illegal and in contravention of the coinage act of 1870, in spite of the fact that Lundy is more than 3 miles away from the British coast.

The following article on Mr. Harman's trials appeared in the Token Corresponding Society Bulletin vol.2 nos. 10&11 pp.184-187 (September, 1976). 

TWENTIETH CENTURY TOKEN 'COINAGE' OF LUNDY ISLAND

by STAN BEWLEY

The Island of LUNDY is situated in the Bristol Channel some 24 miles from both Ilfracombe and Bideford.  It is about 3 miles long and half a mile wide and its name is of Norse derivation, (LUND - a Puffin; and Y - an island).

The Island was bought by a man named Heaven in 1834, and later inherited by his son, the Rev. Hudson Heaven, who greatly valued the sovereign rights and privileges of ownership that arose from Charters and Grants of feudal times.  During his ownership the Island became
known as 'The Kingdom of Heaven'.  He sold it in 1917 to a Mr.Christie, from whom it was bought in 1925 by Martin Coles Harman, a gentleman no less imbued with the sense of ownership and its derivation than the Rev. Hudson Heaven.

The Island has an inn and one shop, and in June 1929, to facilitate purchases at these establishments by the relatively small island community, Mr. Harman placed an order with the Birmingham Mint for 50,000 bronze tokens of the size of a penny and 50,000 of the size of a halfpenny. The head of Mr. Harman facing left is on the obverse and on the reverse, a puffin on the larger and the head of a puffin on the smaller, together with the value:- One puffin, and Halfpuffin. Mr. Harman sent specimens of each coin to the Royal Mint, and in sending his thanks, the Deputy Master drew attention to Section 5 of the Coinage Act 1870, and asked to what use the Tokens were put on Lundy.  In his reply, Mr. Harman described Lundy  as a 'Little Kingdom of the British Empire, but out of England', and pointed out that no taxes or rates were paid to the mainland, which was known as the adjacent island.

In March 1930, police officers visited Lundy and found Puffins and Half Puffins in the till of the Tavern  (Lundy's Inn) together with current U.K. coins, and subsequently a charge was brought against Mr. Harman, for issuing coins of value contrary to Section 5 of the
Coinage Act 1870.

The main interest of the Court proceedings centred round the plea by Mr. Harman's solicitor, before the hearing of evidence, that the Justices (of N. Devon) had no jurisdiction, on the grounds that Lundy was not within the County of Devon.  He said that the basis of
his plea was not that the island was known as the Kingdom of Heaven, but went on to put forward many other reasons, that a Home Office letter under Mr. Gladstone's Administration expressed doubt that the Magistrates of that time had any jurisdiction over Lundy because Lundy made no contribution to the County Rate, and it was doubtful whether the island formed part of the County of Devon.

That no rates or taxes were payable on Lundy, no dog or Excise licences, no Customs or game licences except those levied by the Owner, the money going into his own pocket.

That it had been held that a Tort committed by the collision between two ships in the Bristol Channel was not committed within the jurisdiction of the King's Court, and Lundy is 20 miles west of the point of collision.

The Prosecution Counsel put forward counter-argument, such as the fact that the official list of the Courts of Summary Jurisdiction of 1913 included the Bideford Petty Sessional Division, and Lundy Island as extra parochial, and that an Assize Court of Itinerant Justices of Devon shire in 1321, granted the repossessio of Lundy to the then owner, which shows the island was subject to the King's writ.  Also, in 1587. records in Barnstaple Museum record the payment of money to send men to Lundy to apprehend 'rovers and Pirates', on instructions of My Lord of Bath, who was at that time, Lord of the Manor of Barnstaple.

After these and many other submissions for both sides, the Magistrates retired, and returned to announce that they considered they had jurisdiction, and the case would proceed.

The defendant and his solicitor then left the Court, and though they were persuaded to return, they refused to plead.  The Clerk of the Court entered a plea of 'not Guilty' and the Prosecution presented its case, supported by evidence from the Royal Mint.  The Birmingham Mint, the owner of the boat which delivered some of the coins to the island, and from the police who found some in use in the till of the inn. The defence solicitor did not cross-examine any of the witnesses and the magistrates found the defendant, Mr. Harman, guilty, and he was fined ?5, with ?15/15/- costs.

Subsequently, Mr. Harman discharged his solicitor, being dissatisfied with his performance, and appealed, conducting his own case, before the Lord Chief Justice, and two other Appeal Judges.  Mr. Harman again pleaded that the English Courts had no jurisdiction on Lundy, where any crimes were dealt with locally. When asked by the Lord Chief Justice who administered the punishment, Mr. Harman caused some amusement in stating that it was done by his bailiff, who was 6'4" tall and weighed 18 stones.  After a short hearing, the appeal was dismissed.
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

BC Numismatics

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Tokens of Lundy
« Reply #2 on: June 23, 2007, 03:37:14 AM »
Bart & Peter,here's an article that will interest you; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coins_of_Lundy .

Aidan.

Offline Figleaf

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Tokens of Lundy
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2007, 09:33:16 AM »
Thanks, BCN. By far the most important point for me in all the stories is that superintendant Bot reported seeing the coins being used as such in the Marisco tavern. That makes them money. Not being a loyal subject of HMTQ, I may argue whether they are British tokens or Commonwealth coins, but, being money, they belong in my collecion, unlike the 1965 restrikes and the Scaravay sixpence.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

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Tokens of Lundy
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2007, 01:33:38 PM »
Peter,the 1965 medal-coin issue is a legitimate issue,as they were struck to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Lundy being sold to Martin Coles Harman.They're not restrikes at all.In fact,they are listed in Krause's 'Unusual World Coins' along with the 1929 issue.

They can be regarded as being both British & British Commonwealth coins.Yes,I have got a pair of the 1929 coins.

Aidan.

Offline Figleaf

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Tokens of Lundy
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2007, 03:14:40 PM »
I beg to differ. :) This is a particularly clear case because a competent judge has decided the 1929 issue was illegal. However, according to Bolt's report the pieces circulated. Therefore they are tokens, not coins.

The 1965 issue is in no way official. It is not mentioned in the coinage law and it is not legal tender. In addition, it was issued above nominal value, so they are medals. However, they closely resemble the 1929 issue, soI called them restrikes. I now realize that restrike was probably the wrong term, since a restrike is made with original dies but that makes them neither coins nor tokens. Here's how I see the distinction:

characteristics|money|not money
official|Coin|Pseudo-coin
not official|Token|Medal

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

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Coins of Lundy.
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2007, 04:12:40 PM »
Peter,
   They are given full listings as coins in Coincraft's Standard Catalogue of the coins of Scotland,Ireland,Channel Islands,& Isle of Man (the Pink Coincraft catalogue).

You can buy the book (sadly out of print since 2000) from here; http://www.coincraft.com .

The 1929 issue are definitely coins,but the 1965 issue are medal-coins,considering the fact that they were struck in Proof only in bronze,nickel-brass,& in gold.There were only 50 of each denomination that were struck in gold.

Aidan.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Tokens of Lundy
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2007, 05:12:21 PM »
Sadly, there are many examples of pieces in catalogues that I wouldn't think of as coins because they were either unofficial issues or not used as money. Some of the non-coins are quite interesting. Others are excruciatingly uninteresting to me (in other words, they bore me to death :'().

Consider also that catalogue makers always fear that their books will be called incomplete if they don't list all the rubbish ("collectibles" marketeers abuse this fear heavily), so that collectors will choose a competing catalogue. This also explains coins and tokens listed in the catalogs of more than one country. Catalogues are useful tools, but not monuments of unshakeable truth, especially where commercial concerns come in.

Meanwhile, everyone collects what they want to collect. It's just important that people collect in the full knowledge of the exact status of the piece they are buying.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 23, 2007, 05:18:56 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

BC Numismatics

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Tokens of Lundy.
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2008, 11:30:08 AM »
Thanks, BCN. By far the most important point for me in all the stories is that superintendant Bot reported seeing the coins being used as such in the Marisco tavern. That makes them money. Not being a loyal subject of HMTQ, I may argue whether they are British tokens or Commonwealth coins, but, being money, they belong in my collecion, unlike the 1965 restrikes and the Scaravay sixpence.

Peter

Peter,
  I've never heard of the Scaravay Sixpence.Can you please tell us more about it?

Aidan.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Lundy coins or tokens?
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2008, 11:20:45 PM »
See this thread for links and info.

Peter
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline bruce61813

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Re: Lundy coins or tokens?
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2009, 05:32:04 AM »
I would like to add my 2 cents to this, but all I have is 1 Puffin... ;D. They did circulate, on the island, and were redeemable at one of the mainland banks 1 Puffin = 1 Penny, and it was the co-mingled use on the island that caused all the uproar. the basic argument was that Lundy was an independent island, but recognized the sovereignty of George V of the UK. The edges of the coins are lettered with the inscription 'LUNDY LIGHTS AND LEADS', referring to the two lighthouses on the islands.

Bruce
« Last Edit: April 23, 2009, 05:34:04 AM by bruce61813 »

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Lundy coins or tokens?
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2009, 06:02:02 AM »
Bruce,
  That is a very nice 1 Puffin coin that you've got there.I've yet to get a medal-coin from the other British so-called 'micronation',the Principality of Sealand represented in my collection.

Lundy under Martin Coles Harman was more like today's Principality of Hutt River (which seceded from both Australia & Western Australia in 1970,& still accepts the suzerainty of Queen Elizabeth II.

Aidan.

Offline bruce61813

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Re: Lundy coins or tokens?
« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2009, 12:14:59 AM »
thanks Aidan. the coin is really in super shape, except for the spot you see at about the 3 o'clock position. I am waiting for a 1/2 Puffin to arrive, to finish the collection of the 1929 coins. It is a neat bit of history.

Bruce

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Lundy coins or tokens?
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2009, 12:42:26 AM »
Bruce,
  It will be very great to see your 1/2 Puffin coin once it arrives.

I haven't come across any of the 1965 medal-coins yet.

Aidan.

Offline bruce61813

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Re: Tokens of Lundy
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2009, 12:13:36 AM »
I find your analysis above very helpful, Peter. However, the Royal Mint here in the UK produces what are known as art medals - they ARE official but are NOT money. Could we therefore expand your definition by saying that your table above refers only to items that do not carry a denomination and as such are not intended to be regarded as money?

Because of the law change in the UK in the 1700, only the Royal mint could produce legal tender coins and tokens with a value on them [see all the 'Condor tokens'] were outlawed. The only exception were the various Workhouse tokens and they were allowed until 1811/12. This is what was used against the Lundy Puffins, even though they were only used on a privately own island.

I will post my 1/2 Puffin when I get it. I have not seen any of the medallion types, but they were not original. someone has sets of all 4 coins, but i think they are all modern re-strikes.

Bruce