Author Topic: Troubled coins  (Read 17985 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline brandm24

  • BR & M
  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 082
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #120 on: February 22, 2020, 12:49:36 PM »
Unfortunately, I don't have either one of these coins in my collection because they're very rare examples of non Irish / English coins with Troubles counterstamps. Other than these two, I can only recall seeing an 1879 US Morgan Silver Dollar beautifully engraved with Loyalist slogans and vignettes, and the Australian Florin I posted earlier.

The 1958 Canadian Silver Dollar was offered in a Geoferey Bell auction in Toronto. (May, 2014 / Lot 1211). It sold for 115 CAD, a high price for a Troubles stamp. This is the only time I've ever seen an IRA stamp with the name spelled out.

The 1971 US Half Dollar appeared in a London Coins, Ltd. auction in December, 2019 (#167 / Lot 2341) It received no bids. The estimated value was 50 / 70 Pounds. Since the coin didn't sell, I've contacted the auction house and inquired if there was a possibility of me offering on it. We'll see how that works out.

These are good examples of foreign support for the Nationalist cause. Both Canada and the United States, as well as other countries, donated financially and materially to the effort. Large US cities with substantial Irish / Catholic populations (Boston and New York in particular) donated generously. This despite the U.S. government listing the IRA as a terrorist organization.

Bruce
Always Faithful

Offline brandm24

  • BR & M
  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 082
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #121 on: April 03, 2020, 01:50:45 PM »
This is one of the most unusual pieces of political expression I've seen to date. It was offered at auction by a Belfast coin dealer several months ago. It's now in my collection.

 Strangely, someone used a British 3d coin as a die and struck an image of the obverse on the back of a James Mackie & Sons tool / pay token. Normally, that wouldn't be particularly significant. However, in this case, the history of this Belfast company makes it so.

James Mackie & Sons was a large textile machinery manufacturer in Belfast, Northern Ireland for many years before and throughout the Troubles. Mackie, along with several other large concerns...Harlan & Wolff and Shorts Aircraft...employed heavily Protestant work forces and are known to have strongly supported the Loyalist agenda. All three, especially Mackie, struck thousand of circulating Irish coins with Loyalist slogans and defaced many others by cutting or drilling them. I was told that this laborious task was assigned to apprentices and done on their tea breaks. All this defacement was a form of economic warfare that would force the Irish government to melt the damaged coins and issue new ones. More of a nuisance than actually having a significant impact. The propaganda value would have been more important.

Mackie's closed in 1999 and the Albert Foundry site was eventually demolished. In 2001 the Industrial Development Board bought the property and built the Springvale Business Park. It's still there today.

Back to the token itself. The obverse is standard except for the unique serial number and the four dots struck above it. I've seen many examples of Mackie tokens but none with the dots. They must have had a purpose but I don't know what it would be.

 The image of the British coin is more interesting. Since the company was pro-Loyalist the image would likely be a show of support for the Crown, in effect, "marking" it as Crown property.  In the process of striking the image of course the coin would have been destroyed, but that clearly wasn't intended as a defacement. In the remote possibility that a Catholic worker did this, I seriously doubt that he would draw attention to himself in this manner.

In addition to pictures of the token I've included images of the Albert Foundry and James Mackie.

Bruce
Always Faithful

Online Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31 172
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #122 on: April 03, 2020, 02:35:05 PM »
Fascinating stuff.

I think the number was punched in together with the four dots - similar depth, both separate punches, both respecting each others placement. It would have made a handy tool check of the token. Pure speculation, but maybe the four dots were an indication that the tool check was used at a particular tool shed that may or may not have been at the Albert Foundry.

I'd think the threepence (1953?) would have suffered equally. In fact, a halfpenny would have had a better fit with the size of the token, so maybe the intent was not so much to make a political statement but to change the token's purpose. Speculation again, but how about a card game token, good for three pence, used during lunch break games?

As for the photo, how about this caption: "I say, I didn't think you'd survive the trenches. Yes, you can have your old job back. Same pay, of course. We're not making machines for uniforms any more." >:D

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

Offline brandm24

  • BR & M
  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 082
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #123 on: April 03, 2020, 05:42:38 PM »
Well, that's the fun part of deciphering these things. Quite often there's no clear cut answer so speculation is all we have. I'm speculating here too. If Mackies weren't one of the most politically active companies during the Troubles, I probably wouldn't give it a second thought. I know that modern era Irish counterstamps, with the exception of political issues, are quite unusual. Even though this isn't a coin it can still be considered a counterstamped "artifact".

I like your captions for Mackie's picture. Interestingly, the company did contribute substantially to the war effort. They manufactured shells for Bofors guns and Stirling bomber fuselages. I suppose that would have made them an essential industry and as a result didn't lose too many workers to the military ranks.

Bruce
Always Faithful

Offline brandm24

  • BR & M
  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 082
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #124 on: April 03, 2020, 07:29:46 PM »
Here's a 1942 Irish penny stamped "Guinness" that I've had for sometime. I was never sure about the purpose of the stamp but after researching the company extensively came to a tentative conclusion.

Guinness was another company that had a long history of supporting Unionist causes. The founder, Arthur Guinness, was an unyielding proponent of an English / Irish union long before the company's founding in 1758. In many ways Guinness' length and intensity of support probably exceeds that of other Irish companies such as that of Mackies and others.

I suppose this could be an advertisement for the company but in my estimation is more likely to be political in nature. The jury's still out on this one but it's an interesting piece just the same.

Bruce
Always Faithful

Online Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31 172
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #125 on: April 04, 2020, 03:25:05 PM »
Separate punches again, so likely homework. Note that the Guiness logo is Brian Boru's harp. You can contact the company and send them a picture here:

https://www.guinness.com/en-ie/contact-us/

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

Online malj1

  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7 372
  • "illegitimi non carborundum"
    • Mals Machine Tokens
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #126 on: April 05, 2020, 01:10:34 AM »
The punches appear to have been used in a holder with two punches inverted; the I and one of the N
Malcolm
Have a look at  my tokens and my banknotes.

Offline brandm24

  • BR & M
  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 082
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #127 on: April 05, 2020, 12:03:47 PM »
Separate punches again, so likely homework. Note that the Guiness logo is Brian Boru's harp. You can contact the company and send them a picture here:

https://www.guinness.com/en-ie/contact-us/

Peter
Thanks, Peter. I'll do that even though I've rarely gotten a response when I've contacted companies or organizations for information. This could be my lucky day. :)
The punches appear to have been used in a holder with two punches inverted; the I and one of the N

The "NESS" does look remarkably well aligned for handheld punches, so you could be right. Something about the "I" looks odd to me too.

Bruce
Always Faithful

Offline brandm24

  • BR & M
  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 082
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #128 on: May 24, 2020, 11:28:49 AM »
I acquired a group of 30 counterstamped, engraved , and graffiti coins from a man in Belfast nearly ten years ago. Because of the sellers reluctance to part with his deceased father's collections of Irish tokens and coins it took a year or so to do so. These 30 are a small part of the overall collection that his father called "special coins." The details of when, where, and how he got each piece was documented in handwritten notes he left. Provenance on what I call a "blue-collar" collection is very rare and interests me greatly.

We became good friends and he has been an immense help to me in trying to understand the Troubles period. He grew up during those times and has a unique insight into daily life then. We still correspond on a regular basis.

This first coin is what's known as a "friends token." It offered protection from IRA patrols (ASU) who regularly patrolled Catholic neighborhoods in Belfast. Their purpose was to protect residents from Loyalist groups, and police and army patrols. These neighborhoods were so dangerous that the police (RUC) or military rarely entered them, and when they did, only in force.

In the early years of the Troubles paramilitary groups were infiltrated by British intelligence fairly easily because of their loose organizational structure. As a result the IRA tightened the ranks by designating small groups of men (5-8) as Active Service Units (ASU). They were tight-knit and reliable and thus were very difficult to infiltrate. The units were primarily responsible for the terrorist activities of the individual brigades. Other volunteers were tasked to be lookouts, weapons transporters, etc.

This is the entry from his father's notes word for word.


     "ASH" / 11pm  10/03/71  Linden St. P.McG house. Sitting having a yarn with P then he suddenly became all serious and told me that things were going to get much worse before they got better and that we all had to be careful. He then took this coin out of his pocket and gave it to me calling it a "friends token." I asked him what the letters meant and what he was on about. He explained to me that the letters on the coin was a shortened version of "Out of the Ashes Arose the Provisionals" and if I was ever stopped by one of our own patrols and then this would show them that I was not only a Republican but also that I had friends within the movement. In short, it would give me safe passage through Republican areas.
     I was in two minds as to keep it or not as while it may guarantee me safety in our areas, what if I was caught with it in a Loyalist area? Bloody death sentence. I decided to keep it anyway because, being a Catholic,if I was caught in a Loyalist area...I'm dead anyway, no matter what I do or don't have on me.
     Had to walk home, as there were no black taxies and the buses had been called off the roads. Showed the coin to Margaret and she advised to get rid of the bloody thing and remember I was a father with a family to raise. I put the coin in my case and told her I'd throw it away.


Later in his father's notes dated 04/04/72 he told of how P had been shot dead in a gun battle with the police.

Provisionals is a reference to the Provisional IRA and the phrase "Out of the Ashes Arose the Provisionals" is an old Republican saying pertaining to the resurrection of the Nationalist cause. The badly jumbled letters stamped on he coin are meant to make the meaning less obvious during an unfriendly inspection.

Bruce
Always Faithful

Online Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31 172
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #129 on: May 24, 2020, 12:23:29 PM »
     I was in two minds as to keep it or not as while it may guarantee me safety in our areas, what if I was caught with it in a Loyalist area? Bloody death sentence. I decided to keep it anyway because, being a Catholic,if I was caught in a Loyalist area...I'm dead anyway, no matter what I do or don't have on me.

A great big thank you for posting the story, Bruce. It is so sickening that it is moving. It shows that when things are seriously getting out of hand, both parties become intolerant of neutrals. An attitude of "if you are not with me, you are against me". It makes people like Mairead Maguire even more heroic/desparate.

I am working on a short piece of social segmentation on coins and tokens. In Switzerland, it was based on language and below the surface. In the Netherlands, it was based on politics and non-violent. In Belgium, it was based on language (on the surface) and a cause of profound injustice. In Ireland, it was based on religion and violent. This sort of classification obscures that it is really easy to slide from competition to injustice to violence. Perhaps a weak central government is a major facilitator. There is a very important lesson here for US Republicans and Democrats.

I am sure you will keep this coin and its story together. Sometimes, a story that makes you sick has a positive function.

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

Offline brandm24

  • BR & M
  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 082
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #130 on: May 24, 2020, 08:00:15 PM »
All of what you say is true, Peter. It was so bad in some areas of Northern Ireland, that it actually mattered what side of the street you walked on in the highly segregated neighborhoods. It was dangerous not to know the difference. Mundane things such as what whiskey you drank or brand of cigarette you smoked mattered too. Shockingly, parents even had to be careful what they named their children to be sure they weren't giving their Protestant child a "Catholic name." Your name often branded you as one or the other. What a seriously flawed way to live!

My intention is to keep my entire collection intact, including these 30 coins that I call the Belfast Collection. I think my friend finally decided to sell the set to me because I assured him that I would never break it up. I haven't and never will. Looking down the road, the collections and sub-collections will be donated to a library or museum in Northern Ireland or somewhere else in the UK in order to preserve it for others to see, and hopefully, to learn from. Unfortunately, historical lessons taught are rarely remembered.

Bruce
Always Faithful

Offline brandm24

  • BR & M
  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 082
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #131 on: July 02, 2020, 10:39:25 AM »
This is the second example from the group of 30 coins noted upthread that I posted in May.

 This is the longest acronym / abbreviation I've ever seen on a coin and reads "TGBNFWGE & M // IRA" and appears on a 1978 2 p coin. The translation is "Thirteen gone but not forgotten, we got eighteen & Mountbatten." It's a reference to three separate terrorist attacks, one that occurred in 1972 and the other two in 1978.

The first, known as Bloody Sunday, occurred on January 30, 1972 in the Bogside, Derry during a civil rights march sponsored by the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association. Members of the British 1st Paratroop Regiment, apparently without provocation, opened fire on the crowd and killed thirteen marchers. A clear explanation for the attack has never been determined.

The second two occurred on the same day, August 27, 1979. Early in the day the South Armagh Brigade of the IRA carried out a vicious bomb attack on a British patrol near Narrow Water Castle in Warrenpoint, Co. Down. It was a retaliatory strike against the 1st Paratroop Regiment which had been involved in the Bloody Sunday attack seven years previous. Eighteen men died.

Later in the day, a second IRA bomb attack killed Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Queen's cousin, while on his yacht moored in Mullaghmore Harbor, Co. Sligo. A number of civilians also died in the attack, including two women and a young Catholic boy. The IRA "regretted " his death but not the others. A case of "selective regret" I suppose. The same holds true for the British government's "reegrets" over the 1972 Derry massacre.

The note left by the collector for this piece is uncharacteristically brief.

             " 30/09/79  Found in change in Newry. MaGuires Garage. The initials, I believe, echo the graffiti found on the walls that have appeared since the attack on the army. Thirteen Gone But Not Forgotten, We Got Eighteen & Mountbatten"

The attached photo is of the slogan painted on the wall of the Falls Rd.Library on Sevastopol St. in Derry shortly after the attack.

Bruce
Always Faithful

Online Figleaf

  • Administrator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31 172
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #132 on: July 02, 2020, 11:13:52 AM »
What a spectacular piece of history! This is a museum piece. Thank you for preserving the acronym by posting it here. Not only the selective regrets (an apt description), but also the selective religious thinking (an eye for an eye, rather than thou shalt not kill), the disgusting partisanship (sorry for the catholics only) and keeping a death score (13-18, we won!) are as many life-size warnings against escalating hate with direct application today. My deep admiration for the brave people who put an end to this, in particular the Irish mothers, has grown again. May this thread be a monument to them.

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

Offline brandm24

  • BR & M
  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 082
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #133 on: July 03, 2020, 12:28:51 PM »
Yes, I agree, women in general have had a calming effect during the awful years of the Troubles. During the 1981 Nationalist hunger strike at Long Kesh the intervention of prisoner's families, mothers and fathers, and religious leaders, helped end it before others died. They vowed to save their sons by having them force fed after they became incapacitated. The three then on strike were saved and countless others who would have joined the protest. The strike was called off immediately.

Some of the major Northern Ireland peace initiatives were run by women as well, including "Women For Peace", but female participation had its dark side too. The women's wing of the IRA...Cumann Na mBan...was often involved in the physical violence as well as acting in a support role. The attached image is that of an IRA training camp for CmB units in Co. Carlow c1921.

 On the Loyalist side, women's groups of the UDA , especially the Sandy Row group , were prone to violence. This came to a head in their 1974 "romper room" torture and murder of a neighborhood single mother. Though not a political killing but a personal one (she was Protestant and apparently keeping company with a member's husband), and unsanctioned by the UDA, it was a disgusting display of violence that repulsed even hardened members.

The importance of these peace keepers, female and male both, can't be overstated. Many put their lives at risk for a common purpose...peace. They have my admiration as well.

Bruce
Always Faithful

Offline brandm24

  • BR & M
  • Moderator
  • Honorary Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1 082
Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #134 on: August 08, 2020, 02:17:15 PM »
This coin was from a group of three acquired from a man who had a coin and collectibles business on Fosse Rd. in Coleford. He found them in a mixed lot of mostly Irish coins.

The slogan UP / DEV is struck on a holed 1928 Eireann Penny. The Eireann coins are the first official issues of the Irish Free State (Saorscat Eireann) before the country became the Republic of Ireland. DEV refers to Eamon de Valera, the dominant Irish political figure of 20th century.

De Valera was born in 1882 in the United States to a Spanish-born father and an Irish immigrant mother. On his father's death in 1885 he returned to Ireland with his mother and settled in Limerick. He was educated in Dublin and later studied mathematics at the Royal University. His interest in politics was fueled by his membership in the Gaelic League in 1908. He developed into a staunch Nationalist because of the League's influence.

He joined the Irish Volunteers in 1913 and would later participate in the 1916 Easter Rising. Though convicted and sentenced to death in the failed uprising, he was spared execution because of his American ties. He instead served a jail sentence in Dartmoor and was released in June, 1917.

At that point he began what would become a decades long political career when he was elected to stand for East Clare in Parliament. He was then affiliated with Sinn Fein, the predominant Nationalist political party of the era. The Presidency of the party soon followed.

In 1927 he formed his own political party, Fianna Fail (Soldiers of Destiny) He became Prime Minister in 1932 and continued in power until 1948 when Fianna Fail lost its majority. In 1958 he returned as Prime Minister when his party regained power but resigned a year later. Shortly after, he was elected President of ireland. He finally retired from politics in 1973 at the age of 91.

De Valera was often referred to as Dev or in lighter moments, "the long fella" because of his height and slender build.

Bruce

 
Always Faithful