World of Coins

Events => Forum quizzes and games => Topic started by: Figleaf on December 17, 2015, 04:07:47 PM

Title: UK coins quiz
Post by: Figleaf on December 17, 2015, 04:07:47 PM
Working with a nice collection of UK coins, I was inspired to put together this quiz. All questions except numbers 4 and 8 refer to pre-decimal coins and tokens made after 1815. As my granddaughter has claimed all common UK penny and halfpenny duplicats, there is no prize for the winner, unless I can think of something. You have until the end of the year to send answers BY PM ONLY.

1. Who was the first non-royal to appear on a UK coin?
2. Some pre-decimal UK copper and silver coins have almost the same diameter. Fine if you can see the colour of the metal, but how did the blind distinguish them?
3. Which UK municipal transportation token does not have the name of the municipality or municipal corporation?
4. What was the first UK coin with a security edge (an intaglio groove running parallel with the two faces, like the 2 eurocent coins).
5. Which type of bicycle referred to UK coins?
6. What is the difference between milled and reeded in UK parlance?
7. What is the highest value on an English copper/bronze token?
8. Napoleon famously called the British a "nation of shopkeepers". He may have thought of a British coin that shopkeepers used as a weight. Which one and which weight?
9. You have heard of a bull's eye, but what's a bull's head in British numismatics?
10. Is a British piece denominated in drachmes automatically a fantasy? If not, what is it?

Title: Re: UK coins quiz
Post by: Figleaf on December 18, 2015, 09:23:54 AM
The first set of answers has come in. As is usually the case, it brought out unclear areas in the questions. Therefore, here's a clarification: British coins tend to come in series. Some questions concern such series, rather than single coins. In your answer, you can mention the series or any single coin from the series.

Title: Re: UK coins quiz
Post by: Figleaf on January 02, 2016, 12:16:25 AM
Two answers, from andyg and FosseWay, both heroes. I'll think of something for them in the course of the year. Here are the answers:

1. Winston Churchill was the first on a UK coin, the crown 1965. English coins had a few non-royals on them (e.g. Oliver Cromwell), but in their time, the UK hadn't been invented yet.
2. Coppers had a smooth edge, silver coins a reeded edge.
3. Wigan ( and Blackburn (
4. The 1799 farthing (since the 1802 series is close enough, I counted them as correct also). These coins were struck in Birmingham. Making these edges was a trade secret, so the Tower Mint couldn't make them. They became quite popular in British colonies.
5. The penny farthing, a bicycle with a lage front wheel and a small back wheel (see picture.)
6. Here is a quote that andyg used as answer:
Process denoting the mechanical production of coins as opposed to the handmade technique implied in hammering.  It alludes to the use of watermills to drive the machinery of the screw presses and blank rollers developed in the 16th century.  As the even thickness and diameter of milled coins permitted a security edge, the term milling is popularly though erroneously used as a synonym for graining or reeding.
Security edging on coins, consisting of close vertical ridges.  As a rule, this appears all round the edge but some coins eg New Zealand 50c (1967) and the Isle of Man's £1 (1978) have segments of reeding alternating with a plain edge, to help build and partially sighted persons to identify these coins.
from Coin yearbook 2015, Token Publishing, Honiton, Devon.
The trap was that both terms are used for the same thing (a ribbed edge) while they are really different things.
8. The 1797 penny, which was used as an ounce weight. This was profitable, as most coins were underweight, due to wear. Typical of an 18th century shopkeepers mentality.
9. George III later portrait by Pistrucci, which may be the most unflattering portrait since the Irish coins of prince John, whose head was shown as a triangle.
10 An apothecaries weight (,28394.0.html). I used the latinised modern Greek spelling drachmes, while the weights use the English variant drachms, but it didn't fool anyone.