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British Cartwheel Penny

Started by brandm24, February 06, 2022, 01:26:26 PM

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brandm24

I came across this beautiful 1797 cartwheel penny while searching image files at NNP. It's from the collection of the late Eric P. Newman.

It was professionally graded as MS-63 (red / brown) by NGC and sold by Heritage Auctions. It was struck at the Soho Mint. It has a very small "K" showing under the bust which I assume is the engraver's initials. If someone can tell me who that is I'd appreciate it.

I just wanted to share the images of this impressive beautiful old coin.

Bruce
Always Faithful

Figleaf

This specimen is the opposite of most on the market: practically as struck.

As a coin, it was a failed experiment. It may have seemed the moral thing to do to have coins of full metal value, but the consequence is that when the relation between metal and money changes, things go wrong. If the metal gets cheaper, the country is flooded with coins (if minting is open and the fee not prohibitive). Imagine getting paid a pound with 120 of these ice hockey pucks) If the metal becomes more expensive, the coins get melted.

Their saving grace was their suitability as weights. The more worn the better from the POV of the retailer. Perhaps that's why the surviving specimen are usually so worn.

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

Manzikert

The K is the initial of Conrad Heinrich Kuchler see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conrad_Heinrich_K%C3%BCchler for a little bit of information about him.

Alan

FosseWay

Lovely example :)

Quote from: Figleaf on February 06, 2022, 03:15:00 PM
Their saving grace was their suitability as weights.

Yes - I still have some almost-worn-flat Cartwheel pennies that I use for precisely that purpose, though for cooking rather than trading.

brandm24



Their saving grace was their suitability as weights. The more worn the better from the POV of the retailer. Perhaps that's why the surviving specimen are usually so worn.

Peter
[/quote]
This is probably the finest one I've ever seen. Even more rare are those with so much mint red present. A coin that lived a sheltered life I think.

Bruce
Always Faithful

brandm24

Quote from: Manzikert on February 06, 2022, 05:43:52 PM
The K is the initial of Conrad Heinrich Kuchler see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conrad_Heinrich_K%C3%BCchler for a little bit of information about him.

Alan
Thanks very much, Alan. I've heard of Kuchler before but just didn't associate him with this coin.

Bruce
Always Faithful

Deeman

#6
1797 dated gold proof penny, struck on a 2mm flan, 26.92g. Only two specimens known.

In the early 1800s there was a steady demand for specimens and as Boulton owned the dies he was quite willing to satisfy this, hence the large number of specimens known as "late" strikes, as per this example.


Deeman

1797 dated gold proof, 39g, 35.9mm.


brandm24

I never heard of these Boulton restrikes bit they're sure beautiful. "Late" strikes indeed.


Bruce
Always Faithful

Deeman

1797 Soho pattern penny.


Deeman

1797 Soho pattern penny with small laureate bust.


Offa

Beautiful coins which are the staple of any uk collection worth its salt.
All coins are equal but some are more equal than others

Deeman

Presentation 4-coin gilt copper set. Twopence, penny, pattern halfpenny and pattern farthing. Supplied fitted in a tapered red shagreen covered wooden box.

brandm24

I had a question related to these cartwheel pennies and the larger two pence coins.

Over the years I noticed that so many of these pieces were dated 1797 and wondered why. If I remember correctly, all coins of these two denominations minted over a three or four year period were dated 1797. If this is  the case, what was the reason for doing so? I never did find a reason for it.

Thanks all.

Bruce

Always Faithful

Deeman

Bruce,

I am currently working on the coinage of George III, still a way to go though, but the following is an extract from it, hope you find the info useful:

In 1795, Conrad Heinrich Küchler designed a pattern halfpenny with a smallish, cameo head of the king inside a wide rim, decorated with an incuse inscription, which became the soon-to-be-familiar style used by Matthew Boulton to produce copper coins at the Soho Mint in Birmingham. Having repeatedly petitioned the British Treasury during the late 1780s and early 1790s to give him a contract to strike copper coins that would contain nearly their full intrinsic value unlike previous copper coins, the Treasury finally threw in the towel and awarded him a contract in 1797. The result was the creation of the first-ever, now-famous copper penny in 1797, as well as the massive twopence. Minting began in Jun 1797, with the first pennies appearing in Jul 1797 and twopences dated 1797 being released in Jan 1798. All deliveries of the new coins were completed by Aug 1799, all dated 1797.

The twopence and penny pieces introduced into circulation weighed slightly less than 2oz and 1oz troy respectively and became known popularly as the 'cartwheels', both showing a seated figure of Britannia on the reverse. Boulton and Watt's revolutionary machinery could produce these high-quality coins much more efficiently, profitably and to a higher standard of workmanship than that which the Royal Mint's decrepit equipment was capable of. The quality of the striking and the closely matched intrinsic worth made them extremely difficult for counterfeiters to forge. Boulton described in a notebook: "Imitation is one thing. Counterfeiting is another. The finest and most difficult coin that is possible to make may be imitated though not counterfeited." Boulton also produced halfpenny and farthing pattern pieces, struck in the 'cartwheel' style. The old counterfeits and tokens continued to be used, usually downgraded to a lower value, such as a farthing for a coin that had once passed as a halfpenny.

While the new copper pennies were instantly pleasing and impressive, the double-sized twopences seemed mostly to exist as advertisements of Soho's capabilities, yet many entered commerce. The quality of the new coinage was undeniable; the coins were eagerly accepted and used by the public, even the big twopences. However, the widespread hoarding of these beautiful coins, in addition to a price rise in copper which made their intrinsic worth higher than their face value, limited their success as a circulating medium. Also, such heavy and cumbersome coins became unpopular after the novelty had worn off, and most were melted down three years later when the price of copper rose.

At the same time as the last 'cartwheel' delivery was made, the Coinage Committee recommended that Soho should also strike new farthings and halfpennies. Because of the high price of copper, Boulton was allowed to coin these pieces at a slightly less weight with the halfpennies weighing less than half the weight of the 1797 pennies. This issue had different designs and were introduced into circulation in 1799, the striking of twopence and penny pieces not being repeated. A pattern of the farthing was made in 1798 in the cartwheel style, the design of which was adopted but the inscriptions were turned into relief without the wide rim.