Author Topic: Troubled coins  (Read 24096 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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Offline CTX3030

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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?

Offline CTX3030

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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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Offline CTX3030

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #232 on: March 02, 2021, 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 Reddit. It was found in someones change in October 2017.

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

(Edited to correct information)


« Last Edit: March 04, 2021, 03:26:40 AM by CTX3030 »

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #233 on: March 02, 2021, 02:14:05 PM »
It would be helpful if you could estimate the dimensions of the three letters (e.g. by comparison reality and the picture on your screen of the diameter of the coin or a design element. The R used is quite generic, but if all three are of the same size, that adds a dimension.

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

Offline CTX3030

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #234 on: March 02, 2021, 04:15:44 PM »
The R on the 2012 coin measures 5.5mm x 3.5mm

This side by side of the two £2 coins is about the best I can manage on my iPad.

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #235 on: March 02, 2021, 06:06:15 PM »
The only thing that makes sense to me is that R is an abbreviation for RIRA (Real Irish Republican Army). Nearly all RIRA stamps are on later dated coins from about 1998 through maybe 2016. They were former IRA members who split in 1997 over political and operational issues and became one of the most violent of all paramilitaries. While the IRA, through their political wing Sinn Fein, was moving towards peace, RIRA wanted to continue the armed atruggle.

A typical RIRA stamp is struck heavily across the Queen's portrait and nearly always on a 1-pound or 2-pound coin. I've seen a few on British and Irish 50p, but never on a 1971 2p like your example...wrong denomination, wrong date... 

The 1998 is struck on the reverse which is highly unusual, but the date fits the range. The 2012 2-pound R. fits the profile perfectly. The dot or stop is used fairly commonly to deface the portrait on British coins, even back to the the time of George lll and the old cartwheel pennies.

The use of the single letter R is something I haven't seen before. The only issues I recall using single letters are coins stamped "P" or "O" (Provisional / Official). These were territorial marks put on buildings or fences in neighborhoods, Lower Falls, Belfast for one, that claimed control of the neighborhood for one paramilitary or another.

Bruce
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Offline CTX3030

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #236 on: March 04, 2021, 03:22:13 AM »
Correction, the image of the 1998 £2 coin was from Reddit (via Google), not from Flickr.

According to the Reddit post, the R countermark 1998 £2 coin was found in someone’s change in October 2017.

Offline eurocoin

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #237 on: March 04, 2021, 09:57:59 AM »
I have seen dozens of reports from collectors about R stamped coins having been found in circulation on the collectors groups on social media over the last 5 years. At a guess, maybe even 100. There appear to be many in circulation, most on somewhat older coins (not much from the last decade). They are widely believed to be related to RIRA but whether that is also correct, I do not know.
« Last Edit: March 04, 2021, 03:40:33 PM by eurocoin »

Offline brandm24

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #238 on: March 04, 2021, 12:02:46 PM »
That's interesting to hear. I don't do much social media so haven't run into any collectors groups there. Though it doesn't prove that the coins are stamped by RIRA, it shows that others are thinkng along the same lines as I am. Thanks, eurocoin.

Bruce
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Offline CTX3030

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Re: Troubled coins
« Reply #239 on: March 04, 2021, 12:21:06 PM »
Thank you gentlemen for your input.