Author Topic: Guernsey - doubles, lions and leopards  (Read 5187 times)

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Offline ghipszky

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Guernsey - doubles, lions and leopards
« on: June 01, 2009, 03:28:30 AM »
I got this token or coin merely because it was pretty and it was from England. Can you guys tell me more about what it is?
Ginger

EDIT: Title
« Last Edit: August 20, 2010, 10:21:00 AM by UK Decimal + »

Offline a3v1

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Re: Probably posted in the wrong area
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2009, 09:52:32 AM »
Ginger,
A regular coin of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, a British Crown dependency located in the English Channel off the French coast. Coins of 4 and 8 doubles have been minted until well after WWII. 8 Doubles equalled 1 Penny.
This bronze coin was minted at Heaton, Birmingham.
Regards,
a3v1
Over half a century of experience as a coin collector.
-------------
Money is like body fat: If there's too much of it, it always is in the wrong places.

translateltd

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Re: Probably posted in the wrong area
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2009, 11:57:04 AM »
Very nice condition - nice find!  The "double" used in Guernsey (Guernesey on earlier coins - I forget when the spelling was changed) has its origin in the French "double tournois", which was a small copper coin used in France and many of the semi-independent territories associated with it, mainly in the 16th and 17th centuries.  I have some examples, which I must photograph when I next get the chance.

They're an interesting example of inflation in two denominations that started out the same, way back in time, but evolved differently in their respective countries - the English sterling (penny) and the French denier, both essentially descendants of the Roman silver denarius.  The French denominations suffered inflation at a greater rate than the English, to the extent that, eventually, the smallest coin circulating in France was the copper "double tournois", or two deniers (pennies, remember).  Now roll the clock forward a bit to the descendant of those "doubles" as used in Guernsey, eight of which made a British penny.  So if you look at the origins of the denominations and do the math, you get 16 pennies = 1 penny!


Offline Figleaf

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Re: Probably posted in the wrong area
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2009, 01:36:14 PM »
Here's a 1 double from Guernsey. Though the coin is about the size of a farthing (around 19 mm), its denomination implies that it is in fact a half farthing. Coins of 1 double were struck until 1939.

The coins of the Channel Islands are not too difficult to collect. The 8 doubles 1834-1858 is the hardest to get, but it is far from rare. This is all the more remarkable in view of the mintages. Your coin has a mintage of only 103 744. The type of your coin (all dates taken together) has a mintage of 904 873. For comparison, the US 1877 cent has a mintage of 852 500 for that date alone and you would pay two to three thousand dollars for a piece in the grade of the Guernsey coin you are showing.

To some degree, mintage determines supply, but if there is little demand, prices will stil be low. The coins of Guernsey used to be collected by both British and Commonwealth collectors. While there is still a good amount of collecting British coins going on, British Commonwealth collecting has taken a severe beating. IMHO this is due not only to the British Empire being almost completely liquidated (the Falklands are the largest remaining British colony), but also due to excessive numbers of pseudo coins in this area. Guernsey is a good example, with a dreary parade of pseudos forming the bulk of its new issues. A good example of a market destroyed by the stamped metal floggers as well as the Royal Mint itself.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 01, 2009, 01:39:27 PM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline ghipszky

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Re: Probably posted in the wrong area
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2009, 09:59:01 PM »
Thanks for the information guys. I at least have a better idea what this coin is and where Guernsey is located. So then do the 3 lions represent England or Guernsey?
Ginger

translateltd

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Re: Probably posted in the wrong area
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2009, 10:45:41 PM »
The three leopards (technically, rather than lions) represent England, but I think the shield with the little group of leaves on top is found only on coins of Guernsey.


translateltd

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Re: Probably posted in the wrong area
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2009, 10:49:21 PM »
It's going to be a while before I am able to photograph my French doubles tournois,  but here's an example found on-line, with apologies for linking to another forum:

http://www.cointalk.com/forum/t7974/


Offline ghipszky

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Re: Probably posted in the wrong area
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2009, 11:00:56 PM »
Thanks Martin,
Now I know even more about this coin. I didn't know England used Panthers on their coins at all. I am going to have to look up Guernsey and learn more about the place.
Ginger

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Probably posted in the wrong area
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2009, 12:47:05 AM »
It is sometimes said that the animals in the British coat of arms are leopards. The argument is that, although both charges look the same, the only difference between a heraldic lion and a heraldic leopard is the position of the face. A lion looks left or right, a leopard looks at you.

Unfortunately, there is no written support from the middle ages for this contention. This misunderstanding may have come about because English kings and Edward, the Black Prince put animals on their coins for Aquitaine that the French would call "Léopard d'or", "obole au Léopard" and "denier au Léopard", "gros au Léopard", while English imitations of French coins were known as "gros au lion". People may have given them different names just so that they could be clear in contracts, which was important in wartime. I may have some line drawings of the beasties somewhere ...

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

Offline ghipszky

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Re: Probably posted in the wrong area
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2009, 02:32:37 AM »
That would be interesting to see your line drawings Peter. At least I will able to know the difference in the heraldic lion and heraldic leopard.
Ginger

BC Numismatics

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Guernsey coins.
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2009, 12:49:14 AM »
Ginger,
  The French spelling 'Guernesey' was in use right up until 1949.Guernsey then ceased to issue their own coins until 1956,when the 4 & 8 Doubles depicting flowers was introduced,along with the Guernsey 3d.

1966 was the very last year that Doubles-denominated coins were struck,albeit,in Proof sets only.

Guernsey,like Jersey,changed to decimal currency on the 15th. of February 1971,along with Great Britain & Ireland.

Aidan.

Offline ghipszky

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Re: Probably posted in the wrong area
« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2009, 12:59:07 AM »
Aidan,
Thanks for clearing that part up. That is something i didn't know.
Ginger

Offline Figleaf

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Re: Probably posted in the wrong area
« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2009, 02:37:33 AM »
That would be interesting to see your line drawings Peter. At least I will able to know the difference in the heraldic lion and heraldic leopard.

The good news is that I found them. The bad news is that they won't make the distinction clear, since there isn't any.

The lowest denomination coin is the billon obole au léopard (abt. 15 mm). This one was struck for Edward I (1272-1307), king of England, duke of Aquitaine. The legends on the coin are +EDWARDVS REX AGL and +DVX AQVITBVRD. There are also deniers of this type.



For two oboles, you get a billon denier (its roots are the Roman denarius) au léopard (abt. 17 mm). This is a uncharacteristically nice one, also for Edward I. Legends are +EDWARDVS REX AGL and +DVX AQVITANIE.



Moving up the value chain, we meet the silver blanc au léopard et à la couronne (abt. 22 mm). This one is for Edward II (1307-1327). Legends are: in the inner circle +ED':REX:ANGLIE, in the outer circle +BNDICTV:SIT:NOME:DNI:NRI:D (blessed be he who comes in the name of our lord) and DVX.AQITANIE.



By the standards of the middle ages, this is a really big silver coin (abt. 25 mm). It is a gros au léopard couronné, for Edward III. The legends are:  in the inner circle +ED':REX:ANGLIEI, in the outer circle +BNDICTV:SIT:NOME:NOSTRI:D (blessed be he who comes in the name of our lord) and DVX.AQITANIE, where : stands for a clover leaf. A similar type of coin was struck for the king of France and the count of Flanders, but both had a climbing lion, making this a distinct Anglo-French type.



Which brings us to a prestige coin in gold, the léopard d'or (abt. 28 mm). This is not an everyday coin, but a plaything for big spending noblemen. Note the titles: +EDWARDVS:DEI:GRA:ANGLI:FRANCIE:REX (where : stands for a clover leaf). Through clever marriages, huffing, puffing and threats, Edward had created a claim on the French throne and on this coin he calls himself king of England and France. The French king was not about to give up his comfortable seat, so this led to the Hundred Years War (it actually lasted 116 years) with such highlights as  battles of Crécy and Poitiers, Joan of Arc and of course the Black Death. Edward is using the motto of the French king on the reverse: +XPC:VINCIT:XPC:REGNAT:XPC:IMPERAT (Christ wins Christ rules Christ commands), where : stands for two vertically aligned four-petalled flowers.



All the animals are so far called leopard, but here is a gros au lion (abt. 25 mm). It looks very much like the gros au léopard that we have seen above, except that the animal is now climbing and uncrowned, making it a shameless imitation of a French royal coin. This was not unusual even in peace time, but could lead to problems. However, if you are already at war with the king, it can't add further problems. The legends are: in the inner circle +EDOVARDVS:REX, in the outer circle +BNDICTV:SIT:NOME:DNI:NI:DEI (blessed be he who comes in the name of our lord) and +DVX+AQITANIE, where : stands for three virtically aligned dots.



Pictures are from: Les Monnaies Françaises Féodales, part I by Jean Duplessy. ISBN 2-9510355-6-X.

Peter
« Last Edit: June 03, 2009, 02:51:41 AM by Figleaf »
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.

Offline tonyclayton

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Re: Probably posted in the wrong area
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2009, 06:04:16 PM »
Thanks Martin,
Now I know even more about this coin. I didn't know England used Panthers on their coins at all. I am going to have to look up Guernsey and learn more about the place.
Ginger

As said elsewhere, 'leopards' not panthers.  In fact this coat of arms derived from the Duchy of Normandy, and the Channel Islands are still called Les Isles Normand in French.