Author Topic: Cartwheel Penny Countermark - Strange Elephant & castle and ideas welcome  (Read 404 times)

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Offline bhx7

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So not sure if I have put this up before.
I got this a a year or so ago. So far I haven't been able to find anything about it.
The stamp is very good but doesn't quite fit with the more well known Elephant and Castle designs.

Ideas welcomed

Offline brandm24

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Re: Cartwheel Penny Countermark - Strange Elephant & castle and ideas welcome
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2021, 10:37:55 AM »
Agreed, it is a bit different than some other elephant and castle images I've seen. I did an internet search but couldn't find a possible explanation. The stamp is clean and professional looking so must be of some importance. An official government stamp maybe?

Bruce
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Cartwheel Penny Countermark - Strange Elephant & castle and ideas welcome
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2021, 11:54:07 AM »
There was a large inn (today, you'd call it a hotel-restaurant) in London called the elephant and castle that played a role as terminal for stagecoaches. (compare this story. I am aware of other such establishments that issued tokens but I am not sure how they were used.

They could have been an advertising and discount coupon for stagecoach passengers, acceptable in the restaurant upon arrival - imagine relatively well-to-do passengers arriving on an empty stomach, every bone in their body thoroughly rattled, in a big, strange city being suggested to have a nice, soothing meal before starting their business.

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

Offline bhx7

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Re: Cartwheel Penny Countermark - Strange Elephant & castle and ideas welcome
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2021, 07:14:44 PM »
Agreed, it is a bit different than some other elephant and castle images I've seen. I did an internet search but couldn't find a possible explanation. The stamp is clean and professional looking so must be of some importance. An official government stamp maybe?

Bruce

Totally agree Bruce. The stamp is very well produced. I haven't been able to find another CM coin the same. But surely thi can't be a one off as it is to professional.

There was a large inn (today, you'd call it a hotel-restaurant) in London called the elephant and castle that played a role as terminal for stagecoaches. (compare this story. I am aware of other such establishments that issued tokens but I am not sure how they were used.

They could have been an advertising and discount coupon for stagecoach passengers, acceptable in the restaurant upon arrival - imagine relatively well-to-do passengers arriving on an empty stomach, every bone in their body thoroughly rattled, in a big, strange city being suggested to have a nice, soothing meal before starting their business.

Peter

Very romantic Peter and visual. That is the joy of these tokens. They can be so emotive. I am determined at some point to find out and finally give the peice its true
provenance.


Thanks Guys
Brian

Offline brandm24

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Re: Cartwheel Penny Countermark - Strange Elephant & castle and ideas welcome
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2021, 07:42:26 PM »
Definitely not a one-off, Brian. It could be that no others have survived or some did and are just laying away somewhere waiting to be discovered. A nice stamp that I wouldn't mind having in my collection.

Bruce
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Cartwheel Penny Countermark - Strange Elephant & castle and ideas welcome
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2021, 11:56:13 PM »
It's kind of interesting that the one stamp is struck so heavily and the other is weak and indistinct. The issuer must have run out of gas after working so hard on the first one. ;D

Bruce
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Offline Figleaf

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Re: Cartwheel Penny Countermark - Strange Elephant & castle and ideas welcome
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2021, 09:45:35 AM »
I have hammer-struck my own pieces. My experience is that it requires a good amount of muscle control. The hammer needs to land horizontally, the upper die must be held perfectly vertically and the blow must be measured.

On this piece, the punch was held correctly, the hammer was held just fine, but the first blow was slightly too soft, which was over-compensated on the second. The second stamp partly cancelled the first one. In fact, there is no obvious reason to apply the second, so it might have been just an apology for the first. I would speculate that the counterstamp was applied by someone who was used to punching, but not in metal. A saddle maker or shoe maker would qualify.

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

Offline brandm24

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Re: Cartwheel Penny Countermark - Strange Elephant & castle and ideas welcome
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2021, 12:15:51 PM »
I have hammer-struck my own pieces. My experience is that it requires a good amount of muscle control. The hammer needs to land horizontally, the upper die must be held perfectly vertically and the blow must be measured.

Peter
The base also has to be solid and unyielding...preferably, steel on concrete or another hard surface. If the base is soft, like wood, the force of the blow is diminished and a weak strike and die chatter could result.

Good analysis, Peter.

Bruce
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Offline brandm24

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Re: Cartwheel Penny Countermark - Strange Elephant & castle and ideas welcome
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2021, 11:35:09 AM »
London Coins is presently offering a 1680 English 5 Guineas of Charles ll in Lot 2439 of their upcoming auction. What caught my attention was the small Elephant & Castle provenance mark shown under the bust. While the details are indistinct because of wear, it's similar to the image counterstamped on Brian's 1797 cartwheel. Could the two represent the same thing, in this case the logo of the Royal African Company. Auction researchers described the coin this way.

"The elephant and castle is the badge of the Royal African Company that had been recapitalised in 1672 having previously been the Royal Company of Adventurers, originally founded by the Duke of York in 1662. The issues of such provenance marked coins happened according to the boom or bust of the company and related to the import and export of metal or coin as at that time there was restrictions on British coin physically leaving our shores. By importing gold and other alloys the company was winning the right to be able to export just as much coinage as economic wealth it was bringing in, hence the issue of coin is marked. The 1681 issue of elephant and castle coinage was mainly accounted for by the gold 5 Guineas, Guineas, and Half-Guineas. The by-product of smelting the gold for coinage would have been silver alloy, which then perhaps allowed for the coinage of Crowns, Half-Crowns, and Shillings which survive in much smaller numbers than the companion gold coins. The Shilling being the highest rarity, the Half-Crown extremely rare, and the Crown very rare. It is known that the Royal African Company was generally importing gold from Guinea in Africa, but not particularly silver."

Apparently, the company survived until 1752 when its assets were acquired by the new African Company of Merchants which survived until 1821. Whether the new company maintained the same logo or not is unknown to me. Please see attached images. Your thoughts on this? Thanks.

Bruce
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Offline FosseWay

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Re: Cartwheel Penny Countermark - Strange Elephant & castle and ideas welcome
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2021, 11:43:52 AM »
I suspect that the countermark on the Cartwheel is more likely to have some connection to the staging inn and neighbourhood in London called Elephant & Castle than with the coins struck using gold from the Royal African Company.