Author Topic: Troubled coins  (Read 14751 times)

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Offline Figleaf

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Troubled coins
« on: March 25, 2008, 11:33:55 PM »
In the late sixties started a period in Irish history known as 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 Defaced coins would be withdrawn, adding to the cost of issuing coins.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.

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

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

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2008, 11:50:13 PM »
Here's the reverse, with a reference to the Ulster Defence Association, also made with three punches. UVF was intertwined with more organisations, as I will show with the following coin.

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

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #2 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
« Last Edit: December 17, 2015, 10:07:33 AM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #3 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
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2008, 12:35:58 AM »
LAW stands for the 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
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2008, 12:45:48 AM »
And here's one for the Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party. The pattern is familiar: separate punches on the body of the salmon. Therefore, the next coin may surprise...

Peter


« Last Edit: March 26, 2008, 01:43:26 AM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #6 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
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #7 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
« Last Edit: March 26, 2008, 01:04:47 AM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #8 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
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #9 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
« Last Edit: March 26, 2008, 01:45:17 AM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #10 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
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

translateltd

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #11 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








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Troubled coins.
« Reply #12 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.

Offline tonyclayton

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #13 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.

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #14 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
« Last Edit: March 27, 2008, 10:11:01 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.