Author Topic: Troubled coins  (Read 20637 times)

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Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #225 on: February 19, 2021, 09:59:54 PM »
Did you get these three from the same collector that you bought the IRA stamp from? It's nice to get coins on approval before you buy. I can't remember the last time that happened to me. :)

Bruce
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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #226 on: February 19, 2021, 10:28:08 PM »
Yes Bruce, from the same collector.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #227 on: February 22, 2021, 05:42:52 PM »
Starting in 1981 mass trials began that would became known as the "supergrass trials."  This was done as a means of trying large numbers of alleged paramilitary volunteers. It was illegal to be a member of a proscribed organization and this method was seen as a way to quickly deplete their ranks.

Numerous convictions were obtained, many times on the word of a single informant "recruited" from present or past members of such groups as the IRA, UVF, and INLA. The act of informing was known as "turning supergrass" taken from the slang word "grass" used by the British mob to describe an informant.

A total of nearly 600 people were arrested between 1981 and 1985 when the supergrass system was abandoned. While only 27 people turned Queen's evidence, some were instrumental in convicting up to 30 or 40 people on their testimony alone. There was no jury or other testimony offered in favor of the defendant. The proceedings were heard by and ruled on by only a single judge.

This coin is a reference to a UVF informant named William "Budgie" Allen who was instrumental in convicting about two dozen of his former mates. Allen was two years into a fourteen year sentence when he turned supergrass. Though he later recanted his testimony the remainder of his sentence was commuted. In 1986 after being released from prison he fled to the south of England where he lived for many years. Some informants were not so fortunate. Despite witness protection programs provided for them, a number were later killed when contracts were put out on their lives.

The meaning of the initials or acronym BJR struck across the Queen's portrait is unknown to me. The obvious defacement suggests a Nationalist sentiment.

Bruce
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #228 on: February 22, 2021, 05:51:18 PM »
The Budgie coin is a bit different from the others in this thread, in that it wasn't intended to circulate. The predecimal halfpenny had been out of use for 12 years in 1981 when the Supergrass trials started. So what was its purpose otherwise?

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #229 on: February 22, 2021, 08:18:38 PM »
Hi Bruce. Did the seller give any provenance with the Budgie coin? There was no explanation offered on the coin’s eBay listing.

My thoughts would have been that BJR are someone’s initials and that Budgie was that person’s nickname.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #230 on: February 22, 2021, 11:41:48 PM »
The Budgie coin is a bit different from the others in this thread, in that it wasn't intended to circulate. The predecimal halfpenny had been out of use for 12 years in 1981 when the Supergrass trials started. So what was its purpose otherwise?
It may have been stamped pre-supergrass as a souvenir or even as an identifier. I know that the IRA issued "friends tokens" (usually a stamped coin with a code word that identisied the holder as a friend of the cause). It would protect him from roving IRA ASU patrols in Catholic neighborhoods I'm not sure that the UVF or other Unionist paramilitaries did the same. I asked that quetion of the man that I bought one such coin in my collection from but he didn't know for sure.

I also couldn't find out anything significant about Allen himself. How long he was in the UVF, his age, or any personal details, so it would only be a guess as to the purpose of the coin. I do think the BJR is an acronym for something rather than the initials of someone. The answer probably lies there.

Bruce
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #231 on: February 22, 2021, 11:49:10 PM »
Hi Bruce. Did the seller give any provenance with the Budgie coin? There was no explanation offered on the coin’s eBay listing.

My thoughts would have been that BJR are someone’s initials and that Budgie was that person’s nickname.
He gave no provenance and didn't respond to my request for additional information he might have on the coin.

As I mentioned in my reply to FosseWay I believe BJR is likely an acronym rather than someones initials. B might stand for British or Britain and R for Republican, but that's just speculation.

Bruce
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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #232 on: Today at 11:59:41 AM »
This 2012 UK £2 (Dickens) arrived in the post today. It is stamped R. on the queen’s portrait, the period mark being positioned on the nose.

The 1998 UK £2 with R countermark is an image from Flickr

The 1971 UK 2 New Pence with R countermark is an image from an auction