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Troubled coins

Started by Figleaf, March 25, 2008, 11:33:55 PM

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Figleaf

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

brandm24

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
Always Faithful

brandm24

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
Always Faithful

brandm24

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
Always Faithful

Figleaf

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

brandm24

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
Always Faithful

brandm24

This is a typical RIRA stamp, though more lightly struck than most. I've only seen a couple struck on Irish coins.

Bruce
Always Faithful

brandm24

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
Always Faithful

Figleaf

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

brandm24

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
Always Faithful

Figleaf

#55
Conder is superseded by Atkins (available from the WoC bookshelf), 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

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

brandm24

Always Faithful

brandm24

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

Always Faithful

Figleaf

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

brandm24

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
Always Faithful