Union of the Crowns?

Started by brandm24, February 12, 2022, 12:26:21 PM

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brandm24

The countermark "(Crown) / Unity" is struck heavily on a 1773 British halfpenny. Though it's difficult to determine the age of a countermark itself this one probably dates to the late 18th century or very early 19th century...roughly 1780 to 1810. Though the coin has circulated quite a bit the stamp is clear. These large heavily struck countermarks show very little wear as the deeply applied devices are protected by the incuse nature of them. The valleys and edges are indistinct by nature having been applied with unhardened metal punches that always leave soft impressions. The message of course is the important part.

It crossed my mind that this could be a reference to the Union of the Crowns that saw the ascension of Scottish King James Vl (as James l) to the English / Irish throne on the death of Queen Elizabeth l in 1603. It seems more likely though it might be a reference instead to the 1800 Acts of Union that created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. This seems to me to be the more likely scenario because of the date of the coin and my estimation of the countermark's age.

I may be wrong on both points and it actually references something completely different. Your thoughts are much appreciated.

Bruce



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Figleaf

#1
Between 1798 and 1803, Ireland was in a constant state of uprising of the Society of United Irishmen in Ireland as well as in some British colonies. That seems to be a good motivation for a loyalist to stamp his disapproval on a defenceless coin. The slogan on the coin leads me to suspect that fear of France could have played a role in the background.

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

Manzikert

Strictly that is a coronet not a crown (a crown would have arches). I think it is most likely someone trying out a trade mark punch.

Alan

brandm24

Quote from: Manzikert on February 12, 2022, 01:46:26 PM
Strictly that is a coronet not a crown (a crown would have arches). I think it is most likely someone trying out a trade mark punch.

Alan
I thought about the possibility of a tradesman stamp but pictorial stamps weren't common in those days. Cutlers often incorporated various symbols in their mark but this stamp is far too large for their purposes. Although it's pretty evenly stamped I think it was done with individual punches, something that wouldn't be done by these type of craftsmen.

Bruce
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brandm24

Quote from: Figleaf on February 12, 2022, 01:10:10 PM
Between 1798 and 1803, Ireland there was a constant state of uprising of the Society of United Irishmen in Ireland as well as in some British colonies. That seems to be a good motivation for a loyalist to stamp his disapproval on a defenceless coin. The slogan on the coin leads me to suspect that fear of France could have played a role in the background.

Peter
Your point is well taken, Peter, and pretty much in sync with my thoughts. Your description of the  "defenseless coin" made me chuckle. :perfect:

Bruce
Always Faithful

brandm24

Surprisingly, I came across a second Crown / Unity counterstamped coin just a few weeks after the first one. It's also a half penny but it's so corroded that I can't even find a hint of a date, As a matter of fact the reverse was difficult to align properly because of lack of detail. I've attached an image of what I think is the area of the coin where the date should be. Any guesses?

Interestingly, the coin was recovered by a metal detectorist in West Sussex earlier this year. The first coin was bought from a coin dealer also in West Sussex so it could be a "geographical" clue as to its origins. It may also be just a coincidence.

Brucersz_unity_1.jpgrsz_unity_2.jpgrsz_rv_2.jpg   
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FosseWay

Sorry, can't make out the date at all, but it is clearly Britannia on the reverse and not the harp, so it's a British halfpenny, and it's 18th century.

I'd tend to agree that this countermark on a George III coin probably refers to Ireland rather than any other political question of unity. If it had been a generation earlier (so on a George II halfpenny), it could instead have been a reaction to the Scottish rebellions (1715, the Old Pretender, and 1745, the Young Pretender, a.k.a. Bonnie Prince Charlie).

brandm24

It's a shame that we can't see a date or even a better portrait to help us identify at least a range of dates. Even a small clue can help in attributions but there's almost nothing to go on here.

It's interesting to note here that the T in Unity is double struck but I'm not sure about the other letters...maybe the I. If only a letter or two are doubled then we know for sure that the counterstamp is from individual punches. Another tiny clue but not particularly helpful.

Bruce
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FosseWay

I think it's all double-struck, meaning of course that it is one punch. The second strike is angled downwards by a few degrees but with the same start point, with the result that the offset is more extreme the further right you go. The U is barely noticeable as double-struck, especially in this condition, but the Y is miles off - the top serif of the lower punch is almost level with the fork of the Y in the upper punch.

brandm24

Oh yeah I see it clearly now...definitely doubled. A prepared punch then.

The coin must have been buried for a long long time because of the extreme corrosion. Even the stamps are significantly degraded which is generally the last thing to go.

Bruce
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