Author Topic: Troubled coins  (Read 15638 times)

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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #105 on: January 02, 2020, 10:02:03 AM »
Surely, the four leafed clover is regarded as a Good Luck symbol and is not specifically Irish.

The shamrock need not have 4 leaves; indeed it generally has three, as shown on the two lower images in Bruce's post before yours. The first, with four leaves, looks "odd" in my eyes.

Offline malj1

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #106 on: January 02, 2020, 10:52:51 AM »
Here is a four leaf clover. I see them from time to time in my garden. this was taken years ago with a Nokia phone I had at the time.
Malcolm
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #107 on: January 02, 2020, 02:21:35 PM »
For some time I was uncertain if there was a political meaning to clover leaf images on coins. I'd earlier seen others that I didn't get for my collection because of this uncertainty, but after hearing from several sources that this was the case I came around to believe it. The Irish coin with both the image and IRA were the final confirmation for me.

I also have an example stamped 1916 with a clover leaf underneath it. More proof in my mind that it was used as a Nationalist symbol.

Bruce
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #108 on: January 02, 2020, 03:02:28 PM »
The first series of UK £1 coins portrayed the national heraldic plants of the constituent countries - thistle, leek, oak tree and... flax. The shamrock is the most obvious floral emblem of Ireland, but yet it wasn't chosen. I imagine this was because the shamrock was seen as being too associated with Irish nationalism, whereas the flax plant connotes one of the principal historic industries of the part of Ireland that is now part of the UK, and as such has less sectarian baggage.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #109 on: January 02, 2020, 07:38:17 PM »
The first series of UK £1 coins portrayed the national heraldic plants of the constituent countries - thistle, leek, oak tree and... flax. The shamrock is the most obvious floral emblem of Ireland, but yet it wasn't chosen. I imagine this was because the shamrock was seen as being too associated with Irish nationalism, whereas the flax plant connotes one of the principal historic industries of the part of Ireland that is now part of the UK, and as such has less sectarian baggage.
Your assumption seems logical concerning the non use of the shamrock. One thing that threw me off for a long time was the same non use by the IRA or other Nationalist entities on their banners, flags, posters or other "advertising,"  except for the coins. The examples on various forms of currency aren't common, so perhaps they were squeamish about its use for whatever reason. I should investigate this further and see if I can determine the reason or reasons why.

Bruce
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Offline <k>

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #110 on: January 02, 2020, 07:55:28 PM »
Shamrocks, like leprechauns, are associated with "Oirishry" - embarrassing clichéd stuff. For the Netherlands, clogs would be a similar cliché.

See: Ireland: decimal variations - the shamrock designs were rejected.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #111 on: February 07, 2020, 10:29:19 AM »
I just recently won this coin from an auction by a shop in Worthing, W. Sussex. Its importance was underscored to me by the fact that 8 bidders were involved, a very large number for an Irish conflict counterstamp. Not only is it a very early example of a coin stamped with a political message, but the subject itself is very interesting.

That subject is Daniel O'Connell, an important early 19th century Irish Nationalist leader. He worked tirelessly for the rights of the minority Catholic population in Ireland. He served in Parliament for many years representing County Clare (1828-1830), Dublin City (1832-1836), and County Cork (1841-1847). O'Connell also served as Lord Mayor of Dublin (1841-1842). He was so influential and effective in his drive for Catholic emancipation that he was known as The Liberator or The Emancipator. More about this extraordinary man here.       Daniel O'Connell - Biography of Irish Statesman

The coin itself, a 1797 Cartwheel Penny, is heavily worn but the stamps are mostly readable. The slogans are "DanL OConnell / Turncoat / (Crown) / Traiter To / Ireland." Note the misspelling of the word traitor.

The Fitzwilliam Museum at Cambridge has a few examples like this that they  recently acquired when they purchased the Gavin Scott collection of dissident coins. Their examples have only the O'Connell stamp and the small crown...one on an 1807 Halfpenny has no crown at all...so my piece is unique. The O'Connell stamp, surprisingly from a prepared punch, was likely struck first followed by the crown and turncoat references. The later additions were obviously a rebuke to O'Connell and his Nationalist activities. They were applied, not too skillfully, with individual punches. I haven't seen images of the Fitzwilliam examples yet, but expect to later in the year when they've completed documenting the Scott collection.

Overall, I think this is a highly important example of an early protest coin. Probably the most important in my collection.

Bruce

Bruce

Offline FosseWay

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #112 on: February 07, 2020, 12:01:02 PM »
Is this piece made by a supporter of the "establishment" - i.e. the Anglo-Irish supporters of the Union - or by someone on the more radical wing of the Nationalist continuum, such as the Young Ireland movement?

What raises the question in my mind is the use of the word "turncoat". That implies that O'Connell has (in the mind of his accuser) turned away from a cause that he previously shared with his accuser. As far as I know, O'Connell never supported the Union as envisaged by the British - he was always a campaigner for Catholic rights and an advocate of repeal of the Act of Union rather than a revolution leading to an independent republic. So someone supporting armed insurrection as a way of achieving Irish statehood could well regard O'Connell as having sold out.

Online Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #113 on: February 07, 2020, 01:05:48 PM »
Here he goeth speculating again.

The word turncoat could be used literally in Napoleonic times. A deserter only needed to turn the red (or green) outside of his coat inside to pass for a civilian, at least at a distance. Somewhere between Waterloo and the first world war, turncoat became an expression, used in a milder way than deserter, e.g. an elected politician changing party affiliation could be called a turncoat without the threat of a libel suit. Since it seems to be used as the equivalent of traitor here, I assume that it dates around 1815.

After 1815, the British army was evacuated from France. The soldiers who had married without permission (the lower ranks) were forced to leave their family (many in the army train) behind and to their own resources. Staying behind was considered desertion, punishable by death. On arrival, the ex-soldiers found there was no work for them. Demobilisation had caused a severe depression, as government expenditure diminished sharply. In theory, the wounded became wards of their parish. In practice, the parishes were overwhelmed and many invalids ended up begging also.

A wave of crime hit the UK. It was met with a wave of hangings, with due process suffering badly from public anger with the demobilised soldiers. The point is that Ireland was represented far beyond the size of its population among the common soldiers. They had run from hunger, misery and poverty in Ireland to serve in the British army, only to be reduced to human waste when their services were no longer needed and their accent gave them away at every turn. I suppose it wasn't the first or last time something like this happened, but in a climate where the Irish in England were a favourite minority to hate, I can only assume that this counterstamp represents the feeling of the angry, seething masses.

In that sense, you have acquired a vivid document explaining why Ireland eventually became an independent country. Nobody learned anything.

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 #114 on: February 07, 2020, 05:31:35 PM »
Is this piece made by a supporter of the "establishment" - i.e. the Anglo-Irish supporters of the Union - or by someone on the more radical wing of the Nationalist continuum, such as the Young Ireland movement?

What raises the question in my mind is the use of the word "turncoat". That implies that O'Connell has (in the mind of his accuser) turned away from a cause that he previously shared with his accuser. As far as I know, O'Connell never supported the Union as envisaged by the British - he was always a campaigner for Catholic rights and an advocate of repeal of the Act of Union rather than a revolution leading to an independent republic. So someone supporting armed insurrection as a way of achieving Irish statehood could well regard O'Connell as having sold out.
Although he was considered a radical in his day because of his anti-Unionist activities, including Catholic emancipation, he wasn't by the standards of today. He made a concerted effort to work within the parliamentary system to effect change. sometimes effectively, sometimes not. A good example as you pointed out was his advocacy of repeal of the Acts of Union.

He never supported the use of violence in any meaningful way to achieve his goals. He was neither a supporter of Wolfe Tone's 1798 rebellion or of Robert Emmet's 1803 effort. Though he died a year before the 1848 Young Irelander uprising, he likely would have disapproved of it as well. While a young parliamentarian he formed an alliance of convenience with the Whigs whose more radical members broke away to found the Young Ireland movement. They thought O'Connell too hesitant to embrace violence. To his credit, he was.

Though it's difficult at times to assign a "title" (Nationalist or Loyalist) to some of these coins, I think this is one of the very few I've seen that can be attributed to both sides. The progression probably played out this way. O'Connell's stamp was struck first as a Nationalist show of support. As I mentioned in my initial post one example in the Fitzwilliam Museum has no crown stamped on it and that suggests that O'Connell's stamp was the initial one. The crown was added later as an affront to O'Connell and the turncoat and traitor remarks possibly by the same person or perhaps a third party. Whatever may be the case, the last two are all Loyalist and derisive of  O'Connell.

Bruce
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #115 on: February 07, 2020, 06:23:32 PM »
Here he goeth speculating again.

The word turncoat could be used literally in Napoleonic times. A deserter only needed to turn the red (or green) outside of his coat inside to pass for a civilian, at least at a distance. Somewhere between Waterloo and the first world war, turncoat became an expression, used in a milder way than deserter, e.g. an elected politician changing party affiliation could be called a turncoat without the threat of a libel suit. Since it seems to be used as the equivalent of traitor here, I assume that it dates around 1815.

After 1815, the British army was evacuated from France. The soldiers who had married without permission (the lower ranks) were forced to leave their family (many in the army train) behind and to their own resources. Staying behind was considered desertion, punishable by death. On arrival, the ex-soldiers found there was no work for them. Demobilisation had caused a severe depression, as government expenditure diminished sharply. In theory, the wounded became wards of their parish. In practice, the parishes were overwhelmed and many invalids ended up begging also.

A wave of crime hit the UK. It was met with a wave of hangings, with due process suffering badly from public anger with the demobilised soldiers. The point is that Ireland was represented far beyond the size of its population among the common soldiers. They had run from hunger, misery and poverty in Ireland to serve in the British army, only to be reduced to human waste when their services were no longer needed and their accent gave them away at every turn. I suppose it wasn't the first or last time something like this happened, but in a climate where the Irish in England were a favourite minority to hate, I can only assume that this counterstamp represents the feeling of the angry, seething masses.

In that sense, you have acquired a vivid document explaining why Ireland eventually became an independent country. Nobody learned anything.

Peter



"Nobody learned anything" is unfortunately true.. But history provides lessons for those who attend class, but most of us would rather take the day off. No better illustrated than the approach taken to the problems of the centuries-old Irish conflict. Unlearned lessons abound.

I think you're about right in your 1815 estimate, Peter. Heavily worn coin with substantial wear to the counterstamps. The large,  blunt stamps have survived well, but the small, lighter ones not so. Hard to judge using wear patterns, but the early years of the 19th century for sure.The fact that another known example is struck on an 1807 Halfpenny suggests the same timeline.

Bruce
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #116 on: February 09, 2020, 06:33:03 PM »
In reference to post #102, I came across a shamrock badge or pin stamped "1916" To me, this is a further indication of the symbol being used by Nationalists, specifically the IRA or Sinn Fein their political wing. Members, derisively described as "Shinners" were heavily involved in the 1916 Easter Rising, so much so that in the day the rebellion was often called the Shinners Rising.

Bruce
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Offline malj1

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #117 on: February 10, 2020, 02:20:33 AM »
The shamrock need not have 4 leaves; indeed it generally has three, as shown on the two lower images in Bruce's post before yours. The first, with four leaves, looks "odd" in my eyes.

I found that Eurocoin London managed to draw a very nice four leaf clover. ...Nothing to do with the Irish though as its probably more of a good luck symbol.
Malcolm
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Offline bagerap

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #118 on: February 10, 2020, 03:57:45 AM »
I forgot to mention earlier that traiter was not an unusual spelling in those times.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #119 on: February 10, 2020, 09:51:26 AM »
I forgot to mention earlier that traiter was not an unusual spelling in those times.
That's good to know...thanks.

I actually had searched for a definition of "traiter", but of course nothing came up. Reminds me of an old 19th century spelling of Chestnut St. in Philadelphia. It was often spelled chesnut without the "t".

Bruce
Bruce