Author Topic: Troubled coins  (Read 14154 times)

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Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #30 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
Bruce

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #31 on: February 27, 2019, 12:09:54 PM »
More about our Dublin visit here. 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
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #32 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
Bruce

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #33 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

 
Bruce

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #34 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
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #35 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
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #36 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
Bruce

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #37 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
« Last Edit: March 16, 2019, 07:12:57 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #38 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
Bruce

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #39 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
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #40 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
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #41 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

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Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #42 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
Bruce

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #43 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. ;)

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

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #44 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
Bruce