World of Coins

Other tokens and medals => Advertising, propaganda and numismatic artefacts => Private countermarks => Topic started by: Figleaf on March 25, 2008, 11:33:55 PM

Title: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 25, 2008, 11:33:55 PM
In the late sixties started a period in Irish history known as the "troubles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Troubles)". It was a period of vicious murders, hunger strikes, provocations, betrayal and crimes in the name of unattainable and even repulsive political ideas. It wasn't until three decades and thousands of murders later that a peace process started that seems to have taken hold over the years, though there are still preachers of hatred.

The very worst period of the troubles was 1971-1976. My coins were counterstamped towards the end of this period. Their dates range from 1954 to 1975. At the time, coins of the Republic of Ireland circulated side by side with British coins in Northern Ireland, as the punt was linked to the pound at a rate of 1:1. Defacing the coins had a double purpose: propaganda and economic warfare. Defaced coins would be withdrawn, adding to the cost of issuing coins.

The first coin has two counterstamps, both made with individual punches. The date 1690 refers to the Battle of the Boyne, a rallying point for protestants, who conveniently forgot that the large majority of the combatants were English and French, not Irish and that the battle wasn't even about Ireland, but about the British throne. UVF stands for Ulster Volunteer Force (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulster_Volunteer_Force).

This coin has a third countermark on the obverse that I will show and discuss separately.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 25, 2008, 11:50:13 PM
Here's the reverse, with a reference to the Ulster Defence Association (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulster_Defence_Association), also made with three punches. UVF was intertwined with more organisations, as I will show with the following coin.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 26, 2008, 12:21:06 AM
William III was neither a fanatical protestant, nor a hater of Irish or even Irish catholics. He famously forbade his army to rape and plunder before the battle of the Boyne and when he came upon a British soldier who'd killed an Irish civilian and was robbing him, he had the soldier hanged on the spot for insubordination. William was indeed a smart man, but he could be very cold and calculating. There is every reason to assume he knew that the De Wit brothers would be met by a wild mob on their release from prison, yet he did nothing to prevent their subsequent lynching. In contrast, he seems to have had a passionate affair with his first counselor, Lord Bentinck, while at the same time having a reasonably good relationship with his wife. He is a fascinating and complicated character and he does not deserve to be reduced to a cartoon character by Irish protestant lore and legend.

As for the introduction of protestantism in England, I would argue that it is due to Henry VIII and political convenience, not William III and conviction. William fought for himself, his glory and a throne. He was a relaxed moderate when it came to religion, often to the frustration of the Whigs. As for the grating, self-centered and disloyal behaviour of James II, he acted in a long family tradition.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 26, 2008, 12:26:22 AM
On this coin, UVF shares a place with PDV, probably Protestant Defense Volunteers, more widely known as the Protestant Defense Force. The punches are not only of the same type, there are remnants of red paint in the letters, showing that the counterstamper made a very close connection between the two organisations.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 26, 2008, 12:35:58 AM
LAW stands for the Loyalist Association of Workers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loyalist_Association_of_Workers), a shadowy organization that lost out to the Ulster Workers Council in 1975, which helps dating the counterstamps to around 1975.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 26, 2008, 12:45:48 AM
And here's one for the Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vanguard_Unionist_Progressive_Party). The pattern is familiar: separate punches on the body of the salmon. Therefore, the next coin may surprise...

Peter


Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 26, 2008, 12:54:34 AM
The same organisation, but this time the hatred is unorganized, individual. Everything is composed of angry slashes. A spike would have done the trick. The coin came with the others and straight from Belfast, so I have to trust it as contemporary with the others.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 26, 2008, 01:03:16 AM
KAI is half a mystery. It appeared frequently in Belfast graffiti but isn't known for murder and mayhem. It was a Belfast protestant youth gang. The name seems to mean nothing in particular. There are few words in English that start with K. Kai is a German first name, but that's a pretty unlikely explanation. They seem to have had pretty nice punches to work on coins...

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 26, 2008, 01:11:35 AM
And on this coin, the mystery is whole. No one knows what G.F stands for. A latter day love token? The counterstamp was done with a single punch, but the die cutter forgot the second dot. It's the oldest coin in the series, but it is more worn than the others. I'll probably never know.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 26, 2008, 01:22:21 AM
The last and a letter combination you've already seen, but this coin shows how difficult it really is to countermark with a punch. If you don't hit hard enough, the punch won't show clearly and if you strike too hard, the punch will "jump", giving a second imprint. Whoever countermarked this coin was apparently new at the job and strong, but wait for the obverse!

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 26, 2008, 01:38:24 AM
Our horse-smith hammerer from the reverse (if the same person modified the obverse) learned the trade quickly. With the I punch he struck through EIRE, following up with an obliterating X punch. But what are those three V's. Vanguard again? Maybe, but they also make the harp of Brian Boru beleaguered, attacked from three sides. If that's not a threat, what is?

Just for amusement, the punches XIV also form the reign number of Leroy, the French king Louis XIV who supported the Stuart cause with troops for the Boyne.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: translateltd on March 27, 2008, 05:41:33 AM
KAI is half a mystery. It appeared frequently in Belfast graffiti but isn't known for murder and mayhem. It was a Belfast protestant youth gang. The name seems to mean nothing in particular. There are few words in English that start with K. Kai is a German first name, but that's a pretty unlikely explanation. They seem to have had pretty nice punches to work on coins...

Peter

My first guess was "Kill All Irish", and a quick search on Google suggests I'm not the only one to have assumed this:

>And what about the marching bands with Martin McGuinness' face on the bass drum, or those drums with 'KAI' printed on them. (Though, according to the Orange Order, KAI does not mean Kill All Irish, but instead is a tribute to a 60s Glasgow Rangers player. Naturally.)
>http://www.indymedia.ie/article/77263

My friend Paul Withers tells me there are also coins stamped "FTP", which has nothing to do with Internet connections and everything to do with an expression we shouldn't be using on a family forum :-)  I will leave it to our readers' vivid imaginations, though please don't post any guesses here.

(Disclaimer: I have no religious or political affiliations, and am reporting this as a neutral bystander.)

Martin
NZ







Title: Troubled coins.
Post by: BC Numismatics on March 27, 2008, 08:00:56 AM
Peter,
  There were also Irish coins that were stamped 'K.A.T.',which stands for 'Kill All Taigs'.

The term 'Taig' is very commonly used in Scotland as well as Ulster.

Here's a link containing the definition of what a Taig is; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taig .

I even use the term myself,as I am a very fierce Protestant,albeit,one who belongs to the Anglican Church.

Aidan.
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: tonyclayton on March 27, 2008, 06:58:27 PM
What worries me with collecting defaced coins of this type is that anyone with a punch can go into production at any time.  Zippo lighters said to be engraved during the Vietnam War come under the same type of problem.
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 27, 2008, 08:43:54 PM
Good thinking, Martin and Aidan. K for Kill and Kill All makes sense (as an explanation, of course). As you can see on the coin, there's a clear I, not a T. As for Irish(men), that sounds like a death wish for the engraver, as I do believe Ulstermen consider themselves Irish as well. Insurgents? Maybe too modern and American.

Tony, you have a good point. I got these coins plus a few others in the early eighties from a Belfast collector who wrote: "... I cannot even show an interest in these coins. If people would notice they'd be made for me". I consider these genuine, but exactly for the reason that anyone with a rusty nail or a set of letter punches can make them, I wouldn't trust many others.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on January 21, 2019, 03:33:14 PM
And on this coin, the mystery is whole. No one knows what G.F stands for. A latter day love token? The counterstamp was done with a single punch, but the die cutter forgot the second dot. It's the oldest coin in the series, but it is more worn than the others. I'll probably never know.

Peter
I know this is a really old thread, but I actually came across it several years ago while researching Irish Troubles coins. They are my main collecting interest these days, though I have other interests as well.

In any case, I recently bought a "G.F" counterstamped coin from a man in England that matches yours exactly, Peter. When I saw the coin offered on an auction site, I immediately remembered you posting this one. Mine is on a 1940 Irish Shilling, and was curious to know the date of your coin if you recall, or even still have it. I haven't been able to identify it as a political issue, but I believe it is. Interestingly, so did the seller. If yours is a WWll era issue that might provide a clue as to its meaning. I'm unable to attach a picture. Apparently my file is too large...3.2 MB Your comments would be most appreciated.

Cheers,
Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: EWC on January 22, 2019, 08:30:25 AM
Interesting thread.  I recall my wife once answered the phone to that well known numismatist O D Cresswell, and happened to call him an Irishman.  Her ears are still ringing.  He is, (if he lives still), an Ulsterman.

A pity he is not here to comment on this thread as he told me many very interesting and very relevant stories.   He modestly told me "I have only been shot at twice, and one of those was by accident.”

Regarding tour guides:  One time I went on a tour of the ancient Irish monastery at Clonmacnoise.  The tour guide laid stress on the fact that Cromwell sacked the place.  Afterwards I chatted to an Irish archaeology PhD - manning the pay desk as a summer job.  In an admirable display of objectivity – I recall he added - “Yeah, but we Irish sacked it 15 times ourselves”.  (Maybe he was wrong – wiki says 27 times).

Regarding 1690.  Yep, the continental French tried to use Ireland as a staging post to conquer England.  Interesting to mull that concerning 1916………...and indeed 2019……………

Rob T

(personally I wonder if this entire thread ought to go in controversial subjects, given Peter’s earlier comments.  BTW - my wife visited The Tavern in the Town just the night before. Maybe I am biased?)


Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on January 22, 2019, 06:39:19 PM
Welcome to WoC, Bruce. Glad you joined.

The coins in that thread all disappeared in 2013, so I can give no further information on them. The G.F counterstamp may be older, but they all came in one lot at the same time and of course from the same source, an advanced Belfast collector.

As for posting pictures, the quicky answer to your problem is here (http://www.resizr.com). A more sedate and wider approach is here (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,6846.0.html).

@EWC: I think you will find that the French participation was aimed more at promoting the counter-reformation than any hope that France would be able to do a hostile takeover of England. The war of the Spanish succession clearly shows that the Habsburgs were not about to let the Bourbons have a dominating position in Europe. It would have been simple for them to invade France in order to catch Louis flat-footed if he'd exposed himself too much in Ireland.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: FosseWay on January 22, 2019, 08:19:49 PM
On the other hand the French did try to support the 1798 rising in the way EWC suggests. The Germans certainly supported the Easter Rising in 1916 but I'm not sure whether they had any realistic or advanced plans to invade Ireland. More likely, they just wanted to create mayhem that would draw British troops away from the Western front.
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on January 24, 2019, 11:05:34 AM
Thank you, Peter

The "G.F" counterstamp would certainly be hard to attribute, but a probable time frame...in this case WW 2...would be helpful. I thought if you could recall the date of your example it would help me a bit. I've been researching these things for a long time and don't give up easily, so I'll keep at it.

Thank you for the ideas on resizing my images. I'll see how it works out and come back with smaller images and comments on some of the Troubles coins I have.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on February 09, 2019, 10:56:28 PM
I've got the picture resizing "thingy" good to go now...hopefully. I wanted to post pictures of my "G.F" counterstamp, and a UVF / PDV piece similar to Peter's example. These two are the only examples I've ever seen  on a coin. UVF is very common, of course, but PDV is not. I also assumed it stood for Protestant Defence Volunteers, but I've never come across a group using that name. In any case, it's quite apparent that there was a connection between the two.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on February 10, 2019, 05:31:57 PM
Another thing that may mean something, nothing or be untrue is that on coins with a fish, the letters seem to be punched approximately following the body of the fish, an indication that the puncher "saw" the fish. On the others, the placement of the punches seems random, the puncher "saw" only the outline of the coin.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on February 10, 2019, 06:43:05 PM
Yes, the most common application of acronyms follows the curve of the salmon on the reverse. Perhaps an attempt at artistic expression. I know when I look at one I see the coin's devices and not necessarily the coin as a whole.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on February 16, 2019, 05:56:19 PM
The meaning of "KAI" was discussed earlier and I have a comment to add.

 Early on I was also under that the impression that the acronym stood for "Kill All Irish". I thought that was odd, as the meaning wouldn't favor either side. You would be in effect for the destruction of all Irish peoples.

I was told several years ago by a former KAI ...and UVF volunteer... that it did stand for "Kill All Irishmen" He as a strong Unionist, considered himself an Ulsterman as did O.D. Cresswell. The term Irishman was foreign to him.

I have an Irish Shilling stamped "Sons of KAI / Wog" The Sons of KAI was a modern Irish flute band, who vehemently denied what KAI stood for. It's interesting to note that some members of the band had close ties to the former youth gang in Rathcoole. That makes the meaning clear.

I'll have to find my picture of the coin and post it.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on February 16, 2019, 09:15:29 PM
My comments are upthread, Bruce. Just to ad that KAI was produced with three separate, but well executed punches. If you plan to decorate many coins like that, you'd go for a single punch with all three letters - unless you don't know how to get them.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on February 16, 2019, 09:58:14 PM
It's extremely rare to see these coins stamped with anything other than individual punches, Peter The only two I recall ever seeing stamped with a prepared punch are some VANGUARD and IRA pieces. Even more involved slogans such as WE WILL MAINTAIN and IRISH REPUBLICAN ARMY are applied one punch at a time, sometimes quite neatly.

Here's the picture of my KAI coin mentioned upthread. I got this from a man in Telford several years ago.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on February 16, 2019, 10:15:21 PM
The G.F counterstamp is also one punch, but I take your point. Mine was: not a professional or well organised group, like Vanguard and IRA. You will have noticed that your KAI punches and mine are in a different font. It looks like yours were all done at the same time by the same person.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on February 26, 2019, 10:52:05 PM
Here are a couple of coins that reference the Nationalist Easter Rising of 1916.

The "GPO" issues, of which I've only seen three, are interesting pieces. The beginning of the Rising commenced at the General Post Office in Dublin when Patrick Pearse, the "face" of the revolt read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic on the steps of the building. The armed part of the action was brief but bloody. Pearse and a dozen or so other leaders were executed shortly after.

The 1916 stamped coins commemorate the uprising just as coins stamped 1690 recall the Battle of the Boyne for Unionists. The Loyalist victory there cemented Protestant rule in England. Surprisingly, I haven't seen a lot of 1916 examples, though 1690 stamps are very common.

One oddity about the GPO coin is that it's stamped on the reverse of the coin. A large majority of Nationalist slogans / initials are struck across the King or Queen's portrait as a deliberate act of defacement.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on February 26, 2019, 10:54:36 PM
Sorry, the first coin pic didn't post. Here it is.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on February 27, 2019, 07:16:21 AM
The consideration the first. I was in that GPO this autumn with SpaBreda. There was an extensive special exhibition on that event. We got a fairly good idea of the circumstances. It is extremely unlikely that the occupiers had either the time or the equipment to do this, let alone both.

The consideration the second. The Easter rising did not have popular support. There are stories of people living around the GPO bringing tea to the British soldiers. It was in fact the stupid and ham-handed execution of the occupiers that made them into heroes and started an independence movement. Therefore, this was done (well) after the Easter rising. Take into account that 1916 coins circulated in the UK until 1969 and that plenty of Irishmen found a job in Britain.

The consideration the third. That said, this is the work of an amateur (the O is punched in sideways) who took the time to do a good job (the letters are well aligned). It is likely to be an attempt to create some kind of commemorative out of a 1916 coin. That would explain why the punches are on the side of the date. I find it a highly interesting piece. TFP.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on February 27, 2019, 11:13:09 AM
Yes, the GPO coin was without doubt struck many years later as a commemorative. The differences in wear patterns on both coin and counterstamp show that clearly. It's really no different than the 1916 stamp on the 10p...late 60s / early 70s for this one.

 I've found many commemoratives over the years, legitimate protest coins, but not  always from the era represented. I have two old coppers one stamped 1848 and the other 1898, apparent references to earlier Nationalist uprisings in those years. I'll dig those up and post some pictures.

I've never been to Ireland, Peter, but hope to do so in the future. There's many locations I'd like to visit, and the GPO would be one of them. No worries though, I won't dress like a tourist and I'll keep my mouth shut so my "Joisey" accent doesn't give me away. My wife can do all the talking (she usually does anyway). She's Irish so she can pull it off.   ;D

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on February 27, 2019, 12:09:54 PM
More about our Dublin visit here (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,43031.msg274427.html#msg274427). Don't worry, the Irish are quite relaxed about accents, checkered shorts and butterfly sunglasses :) Knowing a good whiskey from a bad one is an advantage, though. Hint: a good whiskey is distilled thrice; it does not have a sharp, angular taste and does not leave a sugary or caramel aftertaste. ;)

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on February 27, 2019, 06:11:03 PM
Alright then, Peter, I'll mumble a few words here and there and hope I'm not  speaking to the one Irishman who does have a problem with accents. As to checkered shorts and butterfly sunglasses...never going to happen. You can get beat up for wearing either one in most neighborhoods that I frequent. Besides I don't ever wear shorts. I have gorgeous legs and it drives women crazy when I show them. It really irritates my wife for some reason. "But they're only looking, honey" That's usually when I get slapped. WOMEN!

I'm not sure I'd recognize a sharp angular taste if it slapped my taste buds silly, but I'll keep that in mind, Peter. Thanks

Cheers,
Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on March 16, 2019, 10:54:29 AM
Trying to make any sense of the political organizations of the Troubles era, their structure, objectives, and even their loyalties can be a nightmare. This holds true of the labor unions and paramilitaries of the time as well. Infighting, mistrust and even open hostility were common among these various groups. This among organizations that supposedly had the same goals...makes one wonder.

The Vanguard political umbrella is a case in point. The Vanguard organization, or the Vanguard Movement, was formed in 1972 from disaffected members of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP). It's founder, William Craig, was a hard-line Loyalist who vehemently opposed any cooperation with Nationalists, at least initially. Interestingly, it was his undoing when three years later he made overtures to the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP), a Nationalist group. This action split the party with many members rejoining the UUP. After a series of poor showings in elections, Vanguard dissolved in 1978.

There's so much contradictory information out there that it's very difficult to get a clear picture of the dynamics of the varying political factions. Even names used to describe them vary widely. Any group with the word Vanguard attached to it is apparently a description of the same entity...the "Vanguard Movement" if you will. That at least is the conclusion that I've come to...be it right or wrong. Please feel free to correct any mistakes or assumptions I've made.

In any case, I've come across many variations in the stamping of coins in regard to promoting Vanguard. In addition to "VANGUARD", I've seen "V" / "VANG" / "VG" / and "VAN" as abbreviations. I've attached a few pictures of examples in my collection.

Bruce

 
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on March 16, 2019, 11:01:08 AM
Here are a few more connected to Vanguard.

"UV" -- Ulster Vanguard
"VUP"-- Vanguard Ulster Party
"Craig"--William Craig-founder

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 16, 2019, 11:18:23 AM
You are quite right that there was no unified national organisation. Loyalties were shifting quickly, as organisations were running behind the volatile demands and tastes of their followers. I have tried to fit them onto a scale running from hard British-minded (protestant, bent on maintaining Northern Ireland's status, approving violence, discriminatory, unwilling to co-operate or even make concessions) to hard Irish-minded (catholic, bent on changing Northern Ireland's status, approving violence, disdainful of democracy and their opponents and unwilling to co-operate or even make concessions). Of course, the coin defacers are bunched on the protestant end of the scale. The organisations change position over time, though. Most start out on the extreme end of the scale, moving slowly towards its centre over time, some moving slowly the other way.

Next, there are some semi-organised individuals, like Paisley & son and assorted clubs of bank robbing gangsters that may assume names, but in reality are acting strictly for these individuals. I assume (but don't know) that KAI was one of those.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on March 16, 2019, 12:56:53 PM
You're right, Peter, there's a hefty disparity in the number and variety of Loyalist stamps as opposed to Nationalist issues. I've been keeping a census of these coins for about 15 years now, and have found that Loyalist examples make up about 2/3 of all I've recorded. This is due partly to the large industrial concerns in Northern Ireland who routinely stamped coins in their shops...Mackies, Harland & Wolff, and Short's Aircraft to name the largest ones. The Nationalist defacers seemed to be confined in large measure to "mom and pop" operations.

"UVF" stamps are by far the most common, and account for 1/3 of ALL issues from both sides. Interestingly, though not surprising, is the fact that the most commonly stamped coin (14% of all) is the 1969 Irish 10p...start of the troubles.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 16, 2019, 01:07:55 PM
Keep in mind that the 1969 coins, especially the 10p played an important role in the decimalisation process. They were circulated before decimalisation as shilling (5p) and florin (10p), functioning as a bridge between the old and new systems. The mintage of the 1969 10p was high by Irish standards and remained something of a record until 1978. They must have been over-represented in circulation in their first decade.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on March 16, 2019, 04:24:40 PM
I hadn't thought of that. I always assumed that the denomination circulated freely, much as US quarters do, so was an ideal substrate for their message. The size was perfect, so easy availability would be a plus too.

As for the KAI stamps. It seems they were loosely organized, and were basically an umbrella group for several of the smaller  tartan gangs. I don't know that they had a real connection to any paramilitary, but do know that the UVF and UDA both recruited volunteers from their ranks. Since KAI stamps are rare, they were probably made randomly in very small numbers. I've only seen 4 examples, the one I posted up-thread(from a source in Shropshire in 2016), another "busy" coin marked Rathcoole / KAI  / WOG / UFF, and 2 straight KAI-only stamps. Maybe they did have a connection to the UFF come to think of it.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on March 27, 2019, 05:30:32 PM
I wanted to continue exploring the many political parties operating during the Troubles.

The IRSP (Irish Republican Socialist Party) is a far-left group founded in 1974 in Dublin by Seamus Costello and others. Costello was earlier expelled from the  OIRA (Official Irish Republican Army) and it's political wing Sinn Fein. Many members of the party and their paramilitary wing, INLA (Irish National Liberation Army) were also disgruntled former members of OIRA and Sinn Fein. The feud would simmer for many years, with deadly consequences at times.

Initially the organization had about 80 members, but in time would grew to over 1,000. The number of members at it's peak is unknown to me, but the party never had a significant impact on the political process, so probably didn't attract many more. The only success they had that I'm aware of was to capture two seats on the Belfast City Council in 1981 (?).

INLA was formed on the same day as the IRSP. It's area of operation was mostly in Northern Ireland, but they carried out a few attacks in Ireland and England. As with the IRSP, they were never a significant factor in the military side of the conflict. Part of that was due to small size of their organization, but mostly because of their ongoing feud with OIRA, and internal tensions in their own group. Finally, in August, 1998 they declared a ceasefire and began to decommission their weapons in October, 2009.

As for the principal leader of both INLA and IRSP Seamus Costell?. In 1977 he was shot dead in his home on the North Strand in Dublin, ironically by OIRA gunmen.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on March 27, 2019, 11:11:40 PM
INLA was formed on the same day as the IRSP.

Maybe Costello was behind both of them an he was thinking in terms of the IRA's political and military branch?

You are doing a great job, Bruce. The madness of the "troubles" should not be forgotten.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on March 28, 2019, 04:21:42 PM
He was behind both, Peter. He was chairman of the IRSP and  chief-of-staff of INLA. Though he wasn't the only founder, he was the driving force behind both organizations.

In 1969 the IRA split over differences in their political and military philosophies. The two groups became known as the Official IRA (OIRA) and the Provisional IRA (PIRA). In effect PIRA was the traditional IRA and OIRA the renegades. Both contested neighborhoods in Belfast fiercely, even individual streets. It wasn't unusual in the day to see P / IRA or O / IRA slogans painted on houses or walls staking out territories.

 The OIRA was far to the left politically, and more eager to carry on the armed conflict with the UK. Costello was a member of that branch. He would later be court-marshaled and expelled, which lead to his founding of IRSP and INLA. He was highly influential in paramilitary circles, or perhaps just feared. He made countless enemies even within his own organization. In fact when he was killed there was speculation that INLA gunmen had actually executed him. It turned out to not be the case, but it goes to show how unpopular he had become.

Bruce

Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on April 13, 2019, 01:03:24 PM
The political wing of the IRA is Sinn Fein, the oldest and most influential of the Nationalist political parties. In time they would compete fiercely with the powerful Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) for political influence in not only the Northern Ireland Assembly, but in the Irish Parliament and the UK House of Commons.

Sinn Fein ("We Ourselves") was founded in 1905 in Dublin, and is still headquartered there today. The party came to prominence during the Easter Rising of 1916 when many members joined the revolt. Due to internal differences the party split in 1926, many members following former president Eamon de Valera to form a competing political party called Fianna Fail ("Soldiers of Destiny"). The split weakened Sinn Fein considerably, but they persevered and gradually grew in strength and influence.

The "modern era" so to speak can be traced to the emergence of Gerry Adams as Sinn Fein's president in 1983. Although he always denied being a member of the IRA (it was illegal to be in a paramilitary) he clearly was. He joined at a very young age, but as would be expected, his activities don't seem to be well documented. After all, most former paramilitary volunteers don't write autobiographies.

Gradually, most political parties and paramilitaries moved toward involvement in the peace process, culminating in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Although it has improved the the climate in Northern Ireland, long-time feuds still simmer. A good friend and invaluable source who grew up in Belfast during the Troubles told me several years ago how he was no longer wary of going to a pub or restaurant for a nice evening out, but added "things are better here, but there's still a lot of people who want to kill each other." How sad is that.

Although any form of Sinn Fein counterstamp isn't common, "SF" is the most often used. I've seen several examples stamped "Sinn Fein" and a single "RSF" (Republican Sinn Fein) piece.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on April 13, 2019, 07:36:44 PM
A good many years ago, I was in Dublin. I was applying for a politically sensitive job. It was important to be seen as politically strictly neutral. I was thinking away, not paying much attention to where I was going, when a man stopped me on a corner of St. Stephens Green. I was shocked to find myself being accosted by a campaigning politician - I forgot whether he was Fine Gael or Fianna Fail. Murphy's law could start operating any moment, because that's what Murphy's law does. The best I could come up with was to put up a strong Dutch accent and ask for directions to my favourite restaurant, Shanahan's on the Green. It worked. He starting pointing in a direction and lost interest in me.

I didn't get the job anyway, but learned how hard it is to be politically strictly neutral in Dublin. :)

BTW, that superb 10p counterstamped SF IRA would benefit from a double soda solution treatment (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,36005.msg231267.html#msg231267). ;)

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on April 14, 2019, 11:18:26 AM
The coin could us a good cleaning as you say, but I very rarely clean counterstamped coins...particularly these modern ones. The grit, grime, stains, and toning found on many of the Troubles pieces help me authenticate them. Though it would seem nearly impossible to determine a fake from a legitimate example. it really isn't. There are many, many red flags to look for, most all of them subtle but still there to tell a tale. The surface  condition is a very important one.

I'm attaching a picture of a dug coin I bought several years ago that could use a good bath. Of course it wouldn't be effective on such a corroded piece, but even if it were I would leave it as is. I got this from a serious metal detectorist in the UK who I've known for some time. This particular example was found on a beach near Holyhead, Wales.

The coin is a 1940s Irish Penny, probably 1942 but not sure. The captions read "1690 / 8 / Orange". I think it may be a reference to the Orange Institution yearly march celebrating the Protestant victory at the Boyne in 1690. I have no idea what the number 8 refers to. This is an interesting coin, even more so to me because of it's obvious authenticity.

BTW, I'm sorry you didn't get that job. Hopefully it was for the best.  :)

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: EWC on April 14, 2019, 11:30:36 AM
The coin could us a good cleaning as you say, but I very rarely clean counterstamped coins...particularly these modern ones. The grit, grime, stains, and toning found on many of the Troubles pieces help me authenticate them. Though it would seem nearly impossible to determine a fake from a legitimate example. it really isn't. There are many, many red flags to look for, most all of them subtle but still there to tell a tale. The surface  condition is a very important one.

Yes - completely agree - (I thought that myself - but kept quiet).

The green staining on the salmon piece is the sort of thing you might get on a piece specifically put aside in an old leather purse or some such - and that itself is an integral part of it's history

Rob T
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on April 14, 2019, 11:33:39 AM
I see your point. I wonder if there are many imitations, though. The silence of the members here says something. Not getting any comments from others is a further indication. Sure, these pieces are rare, not even scarce. However, demand approaches zero. It's that way with tokens also.

Furthermore, there are ways to produce any kind and colour of patina. The mere fact that there's green stuff on top of a coin means nothing by itself. However, the wrong green stuff on a bronze or copper piece may destroy the coin - and it's contagious.

Nevertheless, you are the final arbiter of what you do with your coins. You should just take your decisions with all the relevant facts in mind.

As for the 8, if memory serves (pfft!), the Orange marches were organised in sections, e.g. section 8, the dark looking radicals, would get ready to start marching right after section 7, the hoompah band with the stout fellow carrying the giant drum, but before section 9, the battle re-enacters. ;)

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on April 14, 2019, 03:36:06 PM
As you say, Rob, the method of storage is critical in how any coin will survive. I've always associated "green slime" with long exposure to plasticized coin flips or other less obvious environmental contaminants. Non-archival paper envelopes seem to leave dull gray unattractive coloring on silver and copper-nickel coins. As real estate agents say the most important three factors in selecting a home are location...location...location. Not strictly true of course, but in coin storage it is.

Thanks for your comments.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on April 14, 2019, 04:14:53 PM
You're right of course, Peter, in saying that toning and surface characteristics can be replicated. However, by carefully examining a coin and knowing what to look for (depth of color, patterns of toning, and of course the overall "look") a lot of AT can be detected. The SF and 1690 examples don't fall into the AT category though as they're more damaged than toned.

In collecting these Troubles counterstamps I have some distinct advantages. Until a few years ago I saw few if any fake pieces. The market was...and still is... very thin for them, and it wasn't unusual for me to pick up an example for a dollar or two. As a matter of fact, the postage fee more often than not exceeded the cost of the coin.

That's changed in the past few years, unfortunately.The hoax was perpetuated by just a few dishonest sellers, who now seem to have shifted their attention to pushing fake "Votes For Women" counterstamps...and asking strong money for them. At any given moment there's at least 12 or 15 coins appearing in eBay auctions. IMO, they're all fakes. I wouldn't mind adding a legitimate example to my own collection, but don't even trust myself to select an authentic one. I just stay away from them.

Thanks for weighing in on the possible reason for the "8" stamped on the Penny. Your guess is as good as mine...actually better than mine as I don't have one. Cheers!

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on May 06, 2019, 04:27:38 PM
Eirigi means "rise" or "arise" and is the name of a small far-left political party (Nationalist) headquartered in Dublin. They were organized in 2006 by former Sinn Fein members dissatisfied with the party's move towards accommodation with Unionists.

They were a grassroots organization interested only in local elections with no aspirations for higher office.

I believe they first stood for elections in 2010 or 2011, but had no electoral success. They contested for seats in the Lower Falls and Upper Falls of Belfast, and in Dublin, Weyford, and Wicklow.

The number of members is unknown, but likely very small.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on May 06, 2019, 08:19:16 PM
So this one is post-troubles. A fun piece of history nevertheless. Glad you have identified the inscription. Someone has spent a lot of time to make this little monument for this lost cause.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on May 07, 2019, 11:03:02 AM
The only fairly prolific issuer of counterstamped coins post-troubles is the Real IRA (RIRA). Formed in 1997, they stamped many British Pound and 2-Pound coins most dated in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They have a distinctive look...heavy strike over the Queen's portrait. The group is usually referred to as the New IRA in news accounts and elsewhere.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on May 07, 2019, 06:19:54 PM
This is a typical RIRA stamp, though more lightly struck than most. I've only seen a couple struck on Irish coins.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on June 07, 2019, 04:39:19 PM
Though not often seen, I've occasionally come across coins with scratched or engraved slogans, initials or images. These three, actually five, were part of a larger lot of political issues I bought from a man in Telford in 2014. Though very similar in style, the toning on some is significantly different which suggests they may have come from different sources. One example not pictured has vertical bands of medium gray toning on the reverse. The seller came across them in a huge 600 kilo job lot of mostly foreign coins.

The engraved crown over the harp is an obvious Unionist reference and is reminiscent of the old Hibernia coppers with the crown topping the Irish harp. I've also included an 1816 Edward Stephens token with a Union Jack counterstamped over the harp. Basically the same meaning, but expressed differently. This one was acquired from a dealer in Bingham in 2012. All are an interesting way to express a political view.

By the way, does anyone know if the Stephens piece is considered a Conder Token? If it is, would you also know the reference number?  Many thanks.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on June 07, 2019, 10:21:46 PM
I don't have Conder's book. The token is listed in Davis: Dublin 26-33. It is a bit too far gone or buried under the counterstamp for a more precise id.

Ironically, the token sports a crowned harp. The royalist counterstamper may not have seen that reference to the UK, as the crown is largely worn off. That may mean that the token was counterstamped when it was already quite worn, therefore later than its date suggests.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on June 08, 2019, 11:41:06 AM
A bit of overkill on that one for sure. No question that the Union Jack was struck on the token later, but not a whole lot I think.

The Conder reference is another book I'd like to get. I've always had an interest in American Hard Times tokens, so it was a natural for me to also have an interest in these. Thanks for the Davis number.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on June 08, 2019, 12:09:05 PM
Conder is superseded by Atkins (available from the WoC bookshelf (http://www.worldofcoins.eu/forum/index.php/topic,28876.msg184838.html#msg184838)), which is superseded by Davis in 1904. There are later books (notably Seaby, a precis of Dalton & Hamer as well as Davis), but they are just rewrites of Davis, except for British Copper Tokens 1811-1820 by Paul and Bente Withers ISBN 0951667157. This book, not Conder, is the one to go for. It is still available at the Galata web site (http://www.galata.co.uk/store.asp?stockMasterCategoriesID=259&storeAction=showProds)

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on June 08, 2019, 03:53:53 PM
Thanks, Peter.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on July 07, 2019, 02:40:24 PM
Starting on March 1, 1981 a hunger strike by Nationalist prisoners began at HMP Maze. The prison was located at the old Royal Air Force Station at Long Kesh near Lisburn, Northern ireland. It was opened in 1971 specifically to house paramilitary prisoners. The housing units were known as the H-Blocks because of their H-shaped layout. In time 16 prisoners would join the strike, most IRA members but with a few INLA men involved too.

The strike was mostly over the loss five years earlier of their political prisoner status, as well as the harsh prison conditions. Special status gave the inmates more personal freedom, including no assignments to hard labor details, no wearing of prison uniforms, and freer access to other prisoners and recreational activities. It was also symbolic, as they actually considered themselves political prisoners and not simply "criminals.".

When the strike was finally called off shortly after the death of INLA prisoner Michael Devine on August 20, 1981, ten men had died. The six remaining hunger strikers were persuaded to yield when their families vowed to save their lives once they lapsed into unconsciousness.

The first man to go on hunger strike was IRA prison commander Bobby Sands. Sands became the "face" of the strike because of his charisma and prison writings. Due to his popularity in the Nationalist neighborhoods of Belfast and elsewhere, a political movement was formed called "Anti H-Block" (AHB). It had a few local successes, and became the catalyst for Sinn Fein to move strongly into the political process. The "AHB / BS" slogan on the coins shown here stands for "Anti H-Block / Bobby Sands"

The slogan "IRA / 81" is an obvious reference to the 1981 strike. According to the seller, a man from Tralee, Co. Kerry, the inverted "1" isn't an accident. He told me that it was some sort of protest of the Thatcher government. Whether that's accurate or not I can't say.

HMP Maze was closed and partially bulldozed in 2002. There was a lot of controversy as to what to do with the site, and I don't know if it's been resolved fully yet.

Bruce

Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on July 07, 2019, 04:22:43 PM
Just guessing, but if you look at 81 upside down, it becomes 18 and may refer to 1918. In the 1918 elections, Sinn Féin defeated the Irish Parliamentary Party, winning 73 out of 105 seats. This was the consequence of a British attempt to introduce conscription (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscription_Crisis_of_1918) in Ireland, a development that would have undermined Home Rule, all the more because plenty of Irishmen were already fighting as volunteers.

While the Irish Parliamentary Party worked for Home Rule through parliamentary means, Sinn Féin advocated militant republicanism. Supporters of Bobby Sands would have seen this as a welcome development. They may have seen the events of 1918 as a warning to the British that harsh measures against the Irish are counterproductive. In that sense, the upside down 1 may indeed have been aimed at the Thatcher government.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on July 07, 2019, 09:56:44 PM
That's an interesting theory, Peter. one maybe not far from the truth. The 81 / 18 double meaning would fit both the date of the hunger strike and the results of the 1918 elections. While the man didn't elaborate on the anti-Thatcher reference, he seemed quite certain that that was the case.

I've made it a habit of contacting every seller I acquire coins from to ask if they have any background information about that particular coin. Even if it's as simple as telling me when and under what circumstances they came into possession of it, I've learned something above and beyond date, denomination, and slogan. These small bits of information tell their own story. This is a good example of that strategy...and yes, I always ask after the sale is complete. Less reason for them to make up a false narrative to impress me.

Your mention of the 1918 elections jogged my memory. I have a heavily worn Victoria Half Penny...don't recall the date...stamped "Ireland / 1918." I list it under "uncertain meaning" in my collection as I don't know what it refers to. I do feel it has a political meaning of some sort, but that's as far as I ever got in my research. Thanks to you, I can revisit it and perhaps link it somehow to that pivotal election.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on July 08, 2019, 07:04:38 PM
Here's a picture of the Half Penny (1900) with the "Ireland / 1918" slogan. The coin is so worn and damaged that it's hard to tell if its counterstamped or crudely engraved...engraved I think.

In any case, the area of interest to me is the markings in the field of the coin in front of the portrait's face. I can't tell if they're damage or an attempt at further engraving of the piece. By reexamining the coin, I still have no explanation as to what it means. I can't decipher the marks in the field, so I'm at a standstill. Any ideas?

Sorry for the bad picture. It's the best I could do for this very dark coin.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: eurocoin on July 08, 2019, 10:57:17 PM
EA? Initials of the person who engraved it? Just a guess.
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on July 08, 2019, 11:44:42 PM
I thought that might be an "E" too, eurocoin. You may be right about the second being "A" and the two together being the initials of the maker. I can't think of any appropriate phrase with this acronym, at least in a political context.

I would love to be able to clean this coin a bit to remove some of the dirt and grime so as to reveal the devices in a better light. I rarely clean counterstamped / engraved coins, but some are so hard to decipher it's necessary. I used to have a neutral solvent that I used. It would remove grime and contaminants, but not change the color or surfaces. I don't have any presently, mainly because it's very expensive.

Thanks for your comment.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: malj1 on July 09, 2019, 12:14:19 AM
I have lightened the image and enhanced a little but can't make out what is there, If rotated left a W can be seen at right of mark.

I see 03 at left ???  inverted.
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on July 09, 2019, 10:39:32 AM
I'm going to have to dig out the coin and put it under my scope again. I think this one is undecipherable, but I'll go another round with it. It drives me crazy when I can't figure out these things.

 Thanks , Mal and eurocoin for your observations.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Stef on July 13, 2019, 06:37:07 PM
Thanks for the interesting thread. I just found in a junk box an "UV" stamped irish florin from 1961. Without this thread I woldn't even notice it.
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on July 13, 2019, 08:53:37 PM
Good for you, Stef. Is your coin anything like the one in reply 34 of this thread?

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on July 13, 2019, 11:03:46 PM
Glad you found the thread, Stef.

Most of the Vanguard stamps are fairly rare including yours. The most common is probably the "V" stamp.

Well, you're one up on me. I've never found a single example of any political counterstamp in a junk box or anywhere at a coin show here in the U.S. If you could take a picture and post it, I'd like to see it. Thanks much.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Stef on July 14, 2019, 09:59:29 AM
I didn't post the image as it is like the coin in reply 34. Here is my coin:
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on July 14, 2019, 12:20:42 PM
Thanks for the picture, Stef.

Yours is a nice original piece, probably stamped in the 1970s. There are a fair number of modern fakes...many different slogans / acronyms...that have shown up in the past several years. Most of them seem to have gone away recently, but not all.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on July 22, 2019, 10:22:46 AM
I acquired this interesting stamped coin about 2 years ago from a man in Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland.

This is a 1937 / 1946 style Half Crown made into a key ring by a Loyalist prisoner in Maze Prison likely in the mid 1970s to the 1980s. The ring was included with it, though I haven't pictured it. The coin and the hole both show heavy wear, so it was used for some time. The UDA (Ulster Defence Association) badge is colored in with paint or ink. The motto "Quis Separabit" translates to "Who shall separate us".

Many items were made by prisoners, including leather goods, jewelry boxes, prison art, etc. and sold on the outside to raise money for prisoner's families. I also have two small leather key rings and a wallet, the wallet being marked and dated by the maker. These were acquired more recently from a different source.

I'd be interested in any information anyone has about this prison art. Also, I'm guessing about the date range of the host coin, as it's so heavily worn. Any help on that would be appreciated too.

Bruce

Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: FosseWay on July 23, 2019, 08:14:06 AM
Re the date range of the host coin - I think you're right on 1937-46 and won't be able to get it more precise than that unless you can see more detail in hand than we can on the picture. The colour is very typical of worn 50% silver, so I think we can rule out 1947-48 (same design but cupro-nickel).
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on July 23, 2019, 08:52:54 AM
I think you are quite right that the coin was counterstamped, not engraved. I see four counterstamps, shield plus motto, crown and the decorations on the sides of the shield. As far as I can see, the stamps are of equal depth, both compared to each other and within designs, i.e. the counterpunches and host were placed perfectly horizontally at the time of stamping. The grooves were filled with black ink and the black ink in the hand design was covered by red ink. It looks like the ink was perfectly well distributed and did not flow over the lines (perhaps with the exception of the center lower part of the band of the crown, though that may have been a technical necessity.) Looking at the straight lines, it seems obvious that the stamps were professionally made. The only sign of amateurism I could discover is the abandoned attempt to make a hole at the wrong place. This may have been done at another place by a different person, who turned a propaganda medal into a key hanger.

It is not credible that a prisoner, working clandestinely, would have all the skills and access to the machines required to produce this effect. I could well imagine that the skills and machines were available in e.g. Belfast, but not inside a prison.

As for dating, there are some clues here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulster_Defence_Association). My best guess would be 1975-1985, making the host someone's "lucky coin".

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on July 23, 2019, 09:44:31 AM
Re the date range of the host coin - I think you're right on 1937-46 and won't be able to get it more precise than that unless you can see more detail in hand than we can on the picture. The colour is very typical of worn 50% silver, so I think we can rule out 1947-48 (same design but cupro-nickel).
I ruled out the cupro-nickel too because of color. I examined the coin very closely, and I think the 1937-1946 range is correct.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on July 23, 2019, 10:00:58 AM
I think you are quite right that the coin was counterstamped, not engraved. I see four counterstamps, shield plus motto, crown and the decorations on the sides of the shield. As far as I can see, the stamps are of equal depth, both compared to each other and within designs, i.e. the counterpunches and host were placed perfectly horizontally at the time of stamping. The grooves were filled with black ink and the black ink in the hand design was covered by red ink. It looks like the ink was perfectly well distributed and did not flow over the lines (perhaps with the exception of the center lower part of the band of the crown, though that may have been a technical necessity.) Looking at the straight lines, it seems obvious that the stamps were professionally made. The only sign of amateurism I could discover is the abandoned attempt to make a hole at the wrong place. This may have been done at another place by a different person, who turned a propaganda medal into a key hanger.

It is not credible that a prisoner, working clandestinely, would have all the skills and access to the machines required to produce this effect. I could well imagine that the skills and machines were available in e.g. Belfast, but not inside a prison.

As for dating, there are some clues here (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulster_Defence_Association). My best guess would be 1975-1985, making the host someone's "lucky coin".

Peter
There was nothing clandestine about these "manufacturing" programs in the prisons...they were encouraged to keep the inmates occupied.

The skill level I've seen ranges from amateurish to highly skilled, particularly in leather goods and wood working. One man who I've became acquainted with was a former UVF prisoner in both the Maze and Crumlin Road jails who learned leather working while incarcerated. He later started a business with his sons in Spain making hand-tooled leather products.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on July 23, 2019, 10:34:50 AM
Well, UDA was officially considered a terrorist organisation. Would they have allowed the prisoners to make propaganda items for UDA? Would the machinery for making good punches, stamping coins and inking (none of it was done by hand) have been available in prison? I have seen leather workers at work. The do a great job, but they use and need light tools only and use machinery (mostly for sewing, sometimes for rough cutting) sparingly. They would have made the design with collections of dots with some lines. I don't doubt that the design was made privately, but I think it must have been made where serious machinery was available for other purposes. As an example, think of the Harland and Wolff yard, where they would have made small metal signs (from "ON", "OFF" to the name of a warship with a coloured emblem or coat of arms) routinely, so the skills would have been available.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: FosseWay on July 23, 2019, 11:04:21 AM
It wouldn't surprise me if the equipment was available in prison for precisely the reason that Bruce gave - to give the prisoners something to do and a trade for when they got out.

It would, however, be surprising for the prison authorities to allow prisoners to make items that explicitly refer to banned organisations. But no doubt blind eyes were turned here and there, and probably not symmetrically: clandestine production of items referring to the UDA or UVF was probably easier than for those mentioning the IRA or INLA.
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on July 23, 2019, 07:08:52 PM
It wouldn't surprise me if the equipment was available in prison for precisely the reason that Bruce gave - to give the prisoners something to do and a trade for when they got out.

It would, however, be surprising for the prison authorities to allow prisoners to make items that explicitly refer to banned organisations. But no doubt blind eyes were turned here and there, and probably not symmetrically: clandestine production of items referring to the UDA or UVF was probably easier than for those mentioning the IRA or INLA.
I've seen items from both sides, but don't recall seeing any explicitly promoting the IRA or other republican groups. However, the meaning of the symbols and slogans would be readily recognized as doing so. It seems that there was a lot of "looking the other way" in the prisons, especially the ones housing the most dangerous inmates. Keeping the peace was of the utmost importance.

The two sides were strictly segregated, so the standards for what was allowed may have been different.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on August 24, 2019, 12:52:26 PM
This is the Crown I've ever run across stamped with a political message.

The slogan "You Are Now Entering Free Derry" was first seen painted on a house at the corner of Fahan St. and Lecky Rd. in the Bogside neighborhood of Derry, Northern Ireland in January, 1969. It was in response to what Nationalists saw as injustices inflicted on them by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), Northern Ireland's national police force. As time passed, it became known as the "Free Derry Corner."

The rhetoric was soon followed by the direct action of citizen militias and paramilitaries to secure their neighborhoods. The Bogside and Creggan areas, both strongly Nationalist, were barricaded and declared off limits to RUC patrols. Although this first action was short lived, subsequent events led to the return of the citizen control from August to October, 1969, and again in August, 1971 after the shooting death of two men by the British Army. Many atrocities were carried out by both sides during these periods of conflict.

After failed negotiations, It finally ended on July 31, 1972 when army troops and police entered the neighborhoods in force.

I acquired this coin from a man in Belfast 7 or 8 years ago who had bought it at the Dublin coin fair in 1989. A sad reminder of an awful chapter in Irish history.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on August 24, 2019, 01:57:38 PM
The Churchill crown is easily the most common British commemorative. It is easy to see an Irishman taking it along as a souvenir of his employment in or visit of Britain, then souring on the British after his return. It may well have been a one-time counterstamp (the letters are punched in individually on this coin also), so that would be a unique piece you have there.

If so, this counterstamp is a witness to what may have been one of the most important drivers of the violence: tit-for-tat actions that become a vicious circle of hatred and intolerance where extremists flourish. Once that circle was broken (IIRC, mothers of victims played an important role), a solution could be found. I remember a comment from those days that even the Irish could find peace, but the Israelis and Palestinians could not. Decades later, that's still the case.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on August 25, 2019, 12:54:16 PM
Yes, I would think this example is unique, Peter.

The Churchill Crowns are readily available in this country too, though usually a bit pricey. It's a big impressive coin and draws attention to itself for that reason. I have an unstamped example in my regular collection.

Agreed, the revenge factor involved here was the driving force that kept the violence alive. I was told of many incidents by my friends over there of the tit-for-tat nature of the atrocities. One in particular struck home with me. Perhaps my best friend in Belfast told me of an incident years ago where his uncle was shot to death in his own home by the IRA. He was suspected of being a UVF man, though the family denied it. The next day two Catholic men were  killed in retaliation in the driveway of their home after returning from a party. Madness!

Bruce

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on October 02, 2019, 04:16:27 PM
I've always resisted listing this counterstamped coin in the body of my Troubles collection, as I was never certain if it's meaning. That and the fact that its a 1921 Australian Florin made it more problematic. Were they simply someones initials (I.R.A.) or was it a show of support for the Irish Republican Army?

As time went by, I gradually moved closer to the latter. After doing a lot of research on a possible connection I'm now comfortable with moving it into my collection of Troubles coins.

There were many periods in Australian history where Irish people immigrated or were transported...willingly or unwillingly...to the continent. Some as prisoners from the Nationalist uprisings of 1798, 1803, and 1848, Irish convicts estimated to number about 40,000, victims of the Irish potato famine and its aftermath, etc. The majority as far as I could tell were Catholics, so many would sympathize with the goals of the Nationalist movement in the UK.

For some odd reason I never considered the date of the coin (1921) as of any importance. It was only recently that I made the connection. The Irish War of Independence between 1919 / 1921 and the Irish Civil War of 1922 / 1923 which led to the implementation of Home Rule for most of Ireland. The participation of the IRA was significant in the conflict, so a show of support for them from their Australian brethren wouldn't be unusual. I also place some importance on the placement of the stamps. A typical Irish Nationalist slogan is placed to deface the reigning monarch as a show of disrespect, as this one is.

I noticed some curious markings on the coin's reverse which may be meaningless. A row of what appears to be chisel strikes run from just above the date thru the emu nearly to the rim. I'm not sure if there's any particular reason for this, or it's just meaningless random damage.

Any comments or observations are much appreciated.

Bruce

Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on October 02, 2019, 09:55:53 PM
There is a T above I.R.A. What do think of it?

The marks are actually a direct consequence of the counterpunches. They were struck with such force that they affected the other side. This is less common on bronze because the coins tend to be thicker and because bronze is harder than good silver.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: malj1 on October 02, 2019, 11:40:43 PM
This is also compounded by what is used as an anvil, be it a wooden bench then little damage to the reverse but if a steel block is used then the marks transfer to to the reverse more easily.
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on October 03, 2019, 11:10:44 AM
The T above I.R.A. is actually another I. It's the first letter of a crossing counterstamp using the single R as the center of the horizontal and vertical acronyms. You'll see the second A just below the R. These X-shaped stamps aren't uncommon as it's employed as a second means of defacement.

I still think the roughly vertical line has some other meaning. The flat shiny spots are the consequence of the heavy strikes on the obverse, not the line. I also don't think it's the result of striking the piece on a particular type of hard or soft surface. The resulting damage, if any, will normally show as surface scratches or abrasions.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: malj1 on October 03, 2019, 11:59:55 AM
Now that I can see what you are referring to, I can see it is indeed the result of striking the piece on a particular type of surface that has some sort of dotted line - - - - on its surface and also an 'L' shape to the right which has transferred to the coin when it was struck with the IRA punches. this may have moved a little before the secondary punches were used. i.e. the top and bottom I and A.

I have enhanced the image a little and also inverted a copy of the image to show these markings more clearly.
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on October 04, 2019, 10:55:56 AM
Thanks for the enhanced images. It could be that the coin was struck while sitting on something with these raised marks on it as you say. In any case, I don't think there's any particular meaning to them. I was just curious.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on November 03, 2019, 11:20:00 AM
In reply #58 I posted information and pictures in regards to the 1981 Nationalist hunger strike at Long Kesh prison. I just acquired this penny stamped "81" from a man in Lancashire last week. The reference is to the date of the strike, 1981, and struck across the Queen's portrait as a defacement. Nearly all Nationalist stamps are struck across the portrait for this reason. Very few appear on the reverse unless it's a companion to the obverse stamp.

The other two counterstamps were acquired from a man in Belfast about ten years ago. They were part of a collection put together by his late father in the 1970's and 80's who kept meticulous records about the coins. He noted the date and location of each find and circumstances surrounding each.

 Patsy O'Hara was the commander on the INLA prisoners in the blocks and is so noted by the reverse stamp. This coin was found in late May, 1981 on Iris St. near the Army Barracks shortly after a riot protesting O'Hara's death.

Bobby Sands was the commander of the IRA prisoners. This coin was found outside the Kilwee Bar in Belfast on May 11, 1981, according to his father's notes.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on November 03, 2019, 02:25:40 PM
I remember Bobby Sands. Not so Patsy O'Hara (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patsy_O'Hara). What a tragic waste of life. He should have been enjoying life, finding his booze limit, dancing with his first girl friend. He's a lesson in how a backstop isn't worth a single life. His story turns me against extremists of all stripes everywhere. That coin is testimony of how youngsters can be led to self-destruction by irresponsible politicians, abounding still today. It is a lesson that is still valid and an explanation of my admiration for Gandhi.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on November 03, 2019, 03:02:25 PM
I've became acquainted with a man named David who knew Bobby Sands, both while growing up and while imprisoned together in Long Kesh in the late 70's and early 80's. Both lived for a time in Rathcoole and were radicalized by the experience.

As a Catholic, Sands had to survive daily in a predominantly Protestant neighborhood. Both he and David were at polar ends of the political spectrum. David was Protestant and from a staunchly Loyalist family. While in Rathcoole David joined the violent youth gang KAI and was later recruited into the UVF.  Somehow, they maintained at least a bit of a friendship despite their vast differences.

Sands of course died on hunger strike, but David was released in 1983 and by all accounts reformed his life dramatically. Not to excuse his past sins (which he doesn't) but at least he became a positive force in many people's lives in later years.

I suppose what I'm saying is that if he and Sands could coexist at least in some small way, why can't others. At least we know it's possible. The violence is insane with no apparent end in sight, even today. It's frightening to hear what's still going on. Granted, not so much overtly,, but not far below the surface either. It's a continuing tragedy, despite 20 years of "peace."

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on November 04, 2019, 02:45:57 PM
This no doubt alludes to the end of WW l, but seems appropriate for this thread.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: Figleaf on November 04, 2019, 04:58:05 PM
And for the board. It is easy for me to agree with the sentiment. As an economist, I see (civil) war like a doctor sees a serious disease.

Peter
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: bagerap on November 05, 2019, 08:04:24 PM
A sad counterpoint
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on November 05, 2019, 09:26:46 PM
Yes, it is. I like the "Peace" coin better.

Thanks for posting the picture, bagerap.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on November 06, 2019, 11:31:20 AM
As an addition to bagerap's "sad counterpoint," I've always wondered about the stamping of these two coins and their purpose. I bought the two some years apart thinking perhaps that they were a comment with a political meaning rather than just a random set of initials. If so, were they making an anti-war or pro-war statement and what war or conflict did they refer to?

The 1797 Penny would have been in circulation at the time of the United Irishmen revolt in 1798. Although the conflict lasted only through the summer, many people died during this horrific event. It's interesting that the counterstamp is struck over the reverse of the coin and not defacing the portrait. This is nearly always the case with Nationalist protest issues. Still not sure what to think about this one.

The 1929 Penny is more likely to be a "declaration of war' on Britain. Perhaps a comment on the Irish Civil War of 1922 / 1923 that led to the implementation of Home Rule in Ireland. It's struck over the portrait as normally seen.

 And then we have bagerap's coin and another puzzle. Not only "WAR", but what do the initials mean?

In addition to these three, I've seen an 1863 Penny stamped "WAR." The coin isn't in my collection so I don't have a picture to show. The counterstamp is defacing Victoria's portrait however. If it were referring to domestic warfare, perhaps the 1848 Young Irelander uprising. A big stretch here, I think.

I'm probably overthinking all this and there's some mundane explanation for each. Compounding the problem, of course, is that  if we're trying to reference an actual conflict to each coin, there are so many to consider. War is the ugliest three-letter word I know in the English language.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: bagerap on November 06, 2019, 12:37:14 PM
Bruce, if you'd like my penny just PM me your address, it's yours.
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: FosseWay on November 06, 2019, 03:19:44 PM
Just to be pedantic  ;D, the upper of the two in Bruce's last post is a 1799 halfpenny, not a 1797 penny. It therefore wouldn't have been in circulation during the '98 but that doesn't stop it being related to ongoing unrest in Ireland. Given how worn the piece is, though, I suspect the counterstamp is considerably later and may refer to the Napoleonic wars, the Crimean War or some colonial conflict.
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on November 06, 2019, 04:21:55 PM
Bruce, if you'd like my penny just PM me your address, it's yours.
Your offer is much appreciated. I'll PM you my address.

Thanks so much

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on November 06, 2019, 04:31:04 PM
Just to be pedantic  ;D, the upper of the two in Bruce's last post is a 1799 halfpenny, not a 1797 penny. It therefore wouldn't have been in circulation during the '98 but that doesn't stop it being related to ongoing unrest in Ireland. Given how worn the piece is, though, I suspect the counterstamp is considerably later and may refer to the Napoleonic wars, the Crimean War or some colonial conflict.
Pedantic is good for me, FosseWay. :)

Although not in circulation in 1798, slogans are sometimes stamped on coins later. That's what makes something like this not only hard to decipher, but also to assign a time period to. The stamp, while heavily worn, does appear to be a bit later so you may be right that it refers to a different conflict. Sadly, there are too many to choose from.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: brandm24 on November 06, 2019, 04:43:10 PM
There's no mistaking the meaning of these counterstamps. It calls for the reunification of the 32 Irish counties to form an independent Ireland. A stark declaration of war by the IRA.

It's interesting that the two 32s are struck retrograde. Letters or numbers applied this way are seen on occasion. Mistakes are sometimes made when punching coins, but these were done for a reason. That reason is unknown to me.

Bruce
Title: Re: Troubled coins
Post by: malj1 on November 06, 2019, 09:39:36 PM
The retrograde 32 is not a mistake as being able to access a retrograde number stamp would be very difficult and unusual. I can't begin to imagine how this could have occurred. ???