British Cartwheel Penny

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

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FosseWay

Quote from: brandm24 on August 01, 2022, 10:55:09 PMI 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


I'm not sure there's a clear answer to that, either in Deeman's text above or anywhere else. Some countries have a rule that coins struck in a given year must carry that year's date. This is why you see euro coins from some states dated 1999-2001, before they were legal tender. The UK has no such rule, and over the years there have been numerous cases of coins being struck with frozen dates. The Cartwheels are one such; also at decimalisation they struck no circulation predecimal coins with dates later than 1967, nor any decimal copper with dates earlier than 1971, yet both were being struck in 1968-1970.

In the Cartwheel case, the whole issue was something of an experiment. It may simply be that they made dies for the year when they intended to start minting and chose to carry on using them for the duration of the experiment (till 1799, as Deeman said). Given the huge number of halfpennies and farthings dated 1799 that one encounters, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that that issue was also struck over several years with a frozen date.

Deeman

Quote from: FosseWay on August 02, 2022, 07:07:57 AMIn the Cartwheel case, the whole issue was something of an experiment. It may simply be that they made dies for the year when they intended to start minting and chose to carry on using them for the duration of the experiment (till 1799, as Deeman said). Given the huge number of halfpennies and farthings dated 1799 that one encounters, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that that issue was also struck over several years with a frozen date.

In all, from 1797 to 1807, Boulton minted 257 million British copper coins, comprising 722,000 twopence, 74.6 million pennies, 171.8 million halfpennies and 10.1 million farthings.

The minting figure given for 1797-dated pennies is 44 million, that leaves over 210 million strikes for copper coinage from 1799 to 1807. I think it is safe to assume that 1799 is a frozen date, but I cannot find trace any statement to confirm this.

brandm24

Ah, so it was delivery issues that determined the date of 1797 and not something else. As the last examples weren't delivered until 1799 that would make it unnecessary to strike coins dated 1798 or 1799? The 1797 examples were the last of the real cartwheels then.

An interesting historical write-up, Deeman. Many thanks.

Bruce
Always Faithful

brandm24

Quote from: FosseWay on August 02, 2022, 07:07:57 AMI'm not sure there's a clear answer to that, either in Deeman's text above or anywhere else. Some countries have a rule that coins struck in a given year must carry that year's date. This is why you see euro coins from some states dated 1999-2001, before they were legal tender. The UK has no such rule, and over the years there have been numerous cases of coins being struck with frozen dates. The Cartwheels are one such; also at decimalisation they struck no circulation predecimal coins with dates later than 1967, nor any decimal copper with dates earlier than 1971, yet both were being struck in 1968-1970.

In the Cartwheel case, the whole issue was something of an experiment. It may simply be that they made dies for the year when they intended to start minting and chose to carry on using them for the duration of the experiment (till 1799, as Deeman said). Given the huge number of halfpennies and farthings dated 1799 that one encounters, it wouldn't surprise me to learn that that issue was also struck over several years with a frozen date.
The frozen date on coinage is interesting and something I haven't run into in US coins with the exception of a couple of early commemorative issues.
There are gaps in the production of certain 19th century denominations, most notably the half cents, but with the resumption of production the current date was always reflected in the design. I can't think of any examples that weren't.

Bruce
Always Faithful

Figleaf

The text above is correct, yet notable for what it leaves out: the influence oh the minters guild. The minters feared machinery would eliminate jobs. For centuries, they had successfully resisted machinery. Only foreigners could sometimes and for a limited time use machines. In the end, this indeed led to waves of imitations, spurious coins and tokens.

What broke the camel's back was that the East India Company (EIC) changed suppliers from the Mint to Soho. Boulton came up with the 1794 coppers for Madras. The Treasure must have seen it as an affront that smelly Indian natives had far better coins than Englishmen. They also switched to Birmingham, leaving the London mint with the threat of closure. Boulton's 1797 British coppers are evidently based on the Madras coins, struck again in 1797 for the obviously happy EIC. Both series use the same layout and technology. You can practically hear a Treasury official say to Boulton "we want coins like those", holding up an impressive Madras 2 pies.

The 1797 series broke the minter's guild and its resistance to machines, saved the London mint and set the scene for the 1816 reforms.

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

Deeman

To amplify Figleaf's post:

Boulton was able to solve the problem of lack of small change which had threatened to derail industrial progress towards the end of the 18th century. He made major improvements not only in the technological aspects of minting practices, but also in the transport of the raw materials needed, and in the distribution of the completed products. By 1786, he had progressed to the point where he obtained a lucrative contract to strike coins for India at the request of the East India Company. His first copper coinage was the one, two and three-keping coins for Bencoolen, the EIC's possession on the southern coast of Sumatra. These coins were minted in 1786 and 1787. Boulton struggled to complete the Bencoolen order. With aspirations to expand copper coin production, a mint was erected at the manufactory in 1788-89. By the end of 1790, Boulton's Soho Mint had four presses on line, plus a fifth upon which to make experiments, together with other machinery to produce coinage. Boulton's mint secured further orders from the EIC for the Bombay Presidency dated 1791 and 1794.

Jean Pierre Droz was a prominent engraver and die sinker for the Paris Mint. Droz had developed a mechanism that allowed incuse edge inscriptions to be produced on coins while they were being struck. Boulton and his partner John Watt first met Droz during a business trip to Paris. Boulton was so impressed with the innovations Droz made during his tenure at the Paris Mint that he offered Droz a prominent position at the Soho Mint. Intrigued by the application of steam power to the mint process Droz accepted Boulton's offer in 1787. Boulton had some difficulty getting Droz to produce the George III pattern coins that he desperately needed to present to the Privy Council Committee to secure a contract with the Government and the deadline was missed. This, however, was not a complete loss for Boulton, for the committee members were impressed with Boulton and the Soho Mint. With increasing pressure from Boulton, Droz eventually produced a halfpenny pattern in Feb 1788. Unfortunately, the reverse die gave in and broke after a dozen or so were struck. By Jun 1788 Droz had produced a little over 50 gilt halfpenny pattern coins and later dispersed them to the powers that be. Over the next two years, Droz continued his slow pace and eventually produced a new halfpenny pattern by 1790. Fed up with Droz's lacklustre work speed and seemingly endless need for finances, Boulton eventually dismissed Droz who returned to the Paris Mint.

While the numerous counterfeits were generally traded by the public, it was clear to the government that a real solution needed to be reached. It was at this point that the Privy Council engaged the Soho Mint. Boulton stated that his manufactory could produce coins larger than halfpennies, of fine quality, and impossible to counterfeit, even though no larger denomination had ever been issued in copper, the reason being the difficulty of making lasting dies. The Royal Mint argued in favour of only making farthings and halfpennies. Lewis Pingo, chief-engraver at the Royal Mint, produced pattern pieces for halfpennies in 1788 and 1796. The 1796 piece stands separately from all the other patterns and proofs of this period with a new portrait facing left instead of right.

The Coinage Committee, however, countered, recommending that Soho should be directed to make the larger denominations which they had suggested, pennies and even twopence pieces, so as not to drive the two smaller denominations out of circulation until Soho had proven itself capable of meeting its intentions. To frustrate those in the government who might seek to deny his application, Boulton even went a step further, promising to deliver his coins (for a fee) in casks across the kingdom, whereas the Royal Mint had always provided them to merchants and banks only at the Tower.

Deeman

#21
Quote from: Deeman on August 02, 2022, 10:28:27 AMIn all, from 1797 to 1807, Boulton minted 257 million British copper coins, comprising 722,000 twopence, 74.6 million pennies, 171.8 million halfpennies and 10.1 million farthings.

The following mintage figures are from Sue Tungate's PhD thesis 'Matthew Boulton and the Soho Mint: Copper to Customer', 2010 Birmingham University.

1797 twopence 722,972
1797 penny 43,969,204
1799 halfpenny 42,481,116
1799 farthing  4,225,428
1806 penny 19,355,480
1806 halfpenny 87,893,526
1806 farthing 4,833,768
1807 penny 11,290,168
1807 halfpenny 41,384,394
1807 farthing 1,075,200