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What comes next? You've been freed. Do you know how hard it is to lead?

Owner:  coinsandmedals
Last Modified:  6/24/2020
Set Description
For those of you unfamiliar, the title is part of the lyrics from the Broadway hit “Hamilton” and are part of a song sung by King George III to the American people after they have won their independence from England. Although I have never personally been a big fan of musicals, I love how Lin Manuel combined artistic talent with history in such an approachable modern way. I am not alone in this thinking; in fact, the play has inspired countless people and continues to reach international acclaim. During a recent anniversary trip to Europe, my wife and I had the privilege of seeing this play in London. I walked out of the theatre thoroughly impressed and with the lyrics, which by this point were already memorized before the show, playing on repeat in my head. The following day was my birthday, and my wife had promised a day full of antiquing and coin shopping. The day started with a few antique stores and eventually ended with a trip to Baldwin's where I purchased an 1807 proof restrike Halfpenny for my growing George III copper collection. It suddenly hit me. I could detail my numismatic adventure while also telling the history of English copper under the reign of George III. To make it even better, the lyrics from Hamilton could even play a role!

The first part, “What comes next?” could help set the stage for how under George III’s reign the English people were finally provided with something that had been absent in commerce for centuries: a sufficient supply of high-quality regal copper coinage. The second part, “You’ve been freed” could subsequently be interpreted as the English people’s newfound freedom from rampant counterfeiting, which plagued the copper coinage produced by the Royal Mint for centuries. In part, this set aims to walk readers through the history of the Soho Mint and how the ingenuity of Matthew Boulton ultimately addressed the question of “What comes next?” not only for English coins but also for coins that would circulate around the world. With the application of steam-powered engines to minting, a new unprecedented quality of production was made possible. In my humble opinion, the products of the Soho mint are some of the most exciting pieces that portray a story of rapid advancements in the art and science of minting. This era of profound development helped curb mass counterfeiting and established a legacy that can still be felt some two centuries later in our modern coinage.

The third part of the title, “Do you know how hard it is to lead?”, speaks to my attempt at providing some guidance to those who wish to learn more the Soho Mint and the numerous products it produced. Studying the seemingly endless array of products of the Soho Mint is no easy task, and as readers who choose to embark on this journey with me will soon learn a lot is left to be discovered. The main description aims to provide a historical backdrop to the era in which the pieces in this collection were produced. The detailed pictures and brief descriptions that accompany each piece in this set are there to provide readers with a source of pertinent information unique to that specimen. This will likely be a pursuit of mine for years to come, and I have no illusion that it will ever be perfect, but I hope that those of you who choose to follow along enjoy the journey.

Opening notes about the set

Several factors limit the breadth and scope of the current set. Perhaps the two most limiting factors are time and money in no specific order. I lack a reasonable amount of both. Also, like King George III, I am stubborn and pigheaded, so naturally, I like to do things the complicated way. To this extent, I have done my best to hunt down raw examples of these coins, and after scrutiny, I have sent them to NGC to be graded. These coins are denoted with the “Skinner Collection” pedigree on the holder. Please keep in mind that both time and money are limiting factors, so if a coin bears the Skinner collection pedigree, I have put forth a great deal of effort to include it in this collection. These are not always the finest examples, and you will quickly realize that I have a handful of circulated proofs in my collection. This is not by coincidence; I find the fact that gilt patterns circulated to be very interesting. Although most coins bear the Skinner Collection pedigree, a few pieces do not. These are coins that I either did not feel comfortable purchasing raw or have not been able to find an attractive raw example at the purchase price offered for the already certified piece. Other pieces have a pedigree back to either the James Watt Jr. or Boulton family collections. Several of these pieces were purchased by me raw, and I sent them in to be certified.

When this set was first built, I relied upon my iPhone for photographs. This all changed when one of my other sets was awarded the “Most Creative Custom Set” honor, which thanks to the generosity of NGC, included a $500 grading credit. The grading credit freed up a significant amount of funds, which I later invested in a DSLR camera setup. Acquiring a high-quality camera has been a goal of mine for years, and I have NGC to thank for giving me the extra help to see its completion. I do my best to ensure that I capture an image that depicts the actual color, character, and condition of the coin. This is an ongoing learning process, and I will periodically update the pictures as I hone my skills. I recently received a scholarship to attend the American Numismatic Association’s Summer Seminar to take a course on numismatic photography, but due to the current global pandemic, it was canceled. The scholarship provided by the ANA carries to next year, so I still plan to take the course and learn all that I can from the pros.

A very abridged back story of the origins of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Soho Mint

Disclaimer: As a published researcher in my area of concertation, I am ashamed to admit that I did not adhere to the standard convention of taking meticulous notes with linked sources to the facts I found. Instead, I read numerous articles and even a few books on the subject, gathering information informally. It was not until I decided to create this registry set that I began to condense my numerous notes to form a coherent story, as I have done below. I have worked sporadically as time has permitted to back track through my notes and link the numerous pieces of information back to their original sources. This is not an exact science, and a great deal of work remains to be done. I have done my best to give credit where credit is due with in-text citations, but this is a work in progress. I have produced the general references I used, but given my lack of comprehensive in-text citations, please feel free to take what I have written below with a healthy dose of criticism. I encourage you to do your research, and by all means, please let me know of any errors I may have made. For now, I hope you enjoy the journey that awaits!

Introduction:

The backstory of the Soho Mint and its owner, Matthew Boulton, tells a fascinating story of national pride, ambition, and perseverance. I hope that this write up can afford you a glimpse into the history of the Soho Mint, the struggles it overcame, and the undeniable legacy it amounted. To keep this write-up from becoming too long, I have opted to forgo any biographical details of Matthew Boulton and instead focus on the relevant information about the mint.

Soho’s calling:

Before exploring the development of the Soho Mint in 1788, it is first essential to understand the context in which the idea for the mint was born. To do so, we need to step back to England in the 1750s. At the time, the Tower mint utilized hand-operated presses to produce coinage (Peck, 1964; Doty, 1998; Selgin, 2011). This was a time consuming, expensive, and at times dangerous operation. This physically demanding process required no less than three workers to operate at any level of efficiency. Taking into account the time, energy, and potential risk involved with striking coins using this method, the Royal Mint concluded that it was not economical to produce the much needed low domination currency. Instead, the Royal Mint focused on striking coins in gold and silver. The production of copper coinage was nearly at a standstill until 1770, even still production only lasted five years and was seized in 1775 (Peck, 1964).

COUNTERFEIT 1775 1/2 PENNY
Through the decades between 1750 and 1775, the industrial revolution was in full stride, and all the time, constant pressure was applied to create a wage-based type of compensation for workers (Peck, 1964; Selgin, 2011). The introduction of wage-based pay further strained the already dwindling supply of regal copper coinage in circulation. Copper bearing dates from the 1750s remained in circulation among the more contemporary pieces stuck in the 1770s; however, it was not enough. The wages paid to workers were rather low and necessitated the use of smaller denomination coinage such as farthings, pennies, and most notably halfpennies. The Royal Mint ignored the public need for these coins, and as such, others stepped in to take advantage of the situation (Brooke, 1932; Peck, 1964; Selgin, 2011). Counterfeiters eventually started making their own “regal” copper coinage and circulating them among the genuine pieces. The forgeries were often extremely underweight and crudely made, but the public desperation allowed these pieces to circulate freely. Some estimated that nearly 98% of the copper coins circulating in England at the time were counterfeits (Peck, 1964; Doty, 1998; Selgin, 2011). To make matters worse, the of the heart counterfeiting operation took place in Birmingham, which was less than a mile from what would become the Soho Mint (Peck, 1964; Selgin, 2011).

Given that Matthew Boulton, in partnership with James Watt, was already enthralled in the industrial revolution with his steam engine company and numerous other enterprises, it is clear why he would want to get involved with minting coins. His business required the employment of a large number of workers, all of which were paid wages that demanded the use of smaller denomination coinage. What may be less obvious is how Boulton’s national pride, ambition, and moral conscious may have played into the decision to create the Soho Mint. Given that Boulton was a member of a committee tasked with hedging against crime, it is only reasonable to conclude that the counterfeiting operation of his neighbors was a prime concern (Doty, 1998; Gale & Hist, 1966). The town was laden with criminals whose primary offense was counterfeiting. By all accounts, Boulton appears to possess a great national pride and a sense of duty to his community. It is possible that this pride and moral integrity paired with the need to pay his workers led to his conviction to seek a contract to strike regal copper coinage and alleviate the needs of the public.

The beginning:

Although it is unclear when Boulton had the idea to apply steam power to the minting of coins, it is clear this idea reached conception and full steam by 1786 (Doty, 1998; Clay & Tungate, 2011). This was the year Boulton and Watt met Thomas Jefferson and an ingenious Swiss engraver and die sinker Jean Pierre Droz. Droz had developed a mechanism that allowed incuse edge inscriptions to be produced on coins while they were being struck. Before this, coins bearing edge inscriptions would have required an additional step beyond the striking of the coin. Droz’s invention would eliminate this step and hasten production while also making it more difficult to counterfeit the final product. Boulton was so impressed with the innovations Droz made that he offered Droz a prominent position at the Soho Mint (Doty, 1998; Selgin, 2011).
EARLY SOHO DROZ PATTERN 1/2 PENNY

Droz seemingly accepted Boulton’s offer in 1787 but remained in Paris for a considerable time. Boulton writes to Droz in April of 1787, asking him to engrave dies for a pattern halfpenny to be struck using the edge technology he developed to include the edge inscriptions (Doty, 1998). After all, securing a contract from the British government to produce regal copper coinage was going to be tough, and having something in hand to show would make for a much stronger case. Droz was slow to create anything, and it wasn’t until March of 1788, almost a year later, that Droz produced the first pattern halfpennies (Doty, 1998). Unfortunately, the reverse die gave in, and he was only able to provide about a dozen examples. It wouldn’t be until early June 1788 that Droz would be able to produce another 54 gilt examples; however, these coins would be struck by hand.

Throughout Droz’s struggle, Boulton had petitioned the Lords of the Committee on Coin to secure a contract to strike regal copper coins. Even with patterns in hand, he was unsuccessful in obtaining the contract at the time; however, he did make an impression on the committee, which temporarily deflected other competitors. The coiners at the Tower Mint opposed the inclusion of a private company producing coins of much higher quality than their current abilities and argued that Boulton should not be allowed to do so. This served as a significant hindrance; however, to make things more complicated, King George III feel ill in September of 1788, and the committee felt no pressure to grant a contract if they were not entirely sure who needed to be depicted on the coins (Doty, 1998; Selgin, 2011). At this point, the first Soho mint was already erected, and the financial burden of that operation weighed heavily on Boulton. Without a large contract to produce coins, his mint otherwise laid in wait, racking up debt. Luckily, the King recovered in the early part of 1789. This provided Boulton with the opportunity to show off the capabilities of the Soho mint. He ordered the production of a few thousand medals to celebrate the recovery of the King. These were openly accepted, and the impression Boulton made previously was fortified; however, it did not result in a contract being granted by the committee (Doty, 1998).

Droz remained under the pay of Boulton, but he was slow to produce anything, and this took a heavy toll on the relationship between the two men. Boulton, fed up with the inadequacy of Droz’s work ethic, was cognizant of the fact that Droz was unlikely to be of much help with the current state of affairs; however, a looming contract to produce regal copper coinage for England unscored Boulton’s perceived reliance on Droz. After all, it was the pattern pieces with the edge inscription that so thoroughly impressed the committee. The committee hinted at a future contract with Boulton but noted that it had to be postponed until February of 1791 (Doty, 1998). With this looming contract, Boulton made one last attempt to secure and motive the services of Droz. Up until this point, no contract had been established between the two men, but this changed in November of 1790 (Doty, 1998). For better or worse, Boulton and Droz were linked by contract for two more years. Nothing changed, and Droz failed to complete the work he was paid to do. Boulton eventually dismissed Droz. Upon leaving the Soho mint, Droz returned to the Paris Mint. This “partnership” and the lack of a written contract would turn into what seems like a complete disaster for the Soho mint, but in all actuality may have been a saving grace.

Success and inadequacy:

As noted above, the first Soho Mint was completed in 1789. The machines were assembled and striking numerous tokens and at times, foreign currency (Doty, 1998; Clay & Tungate, 2009; Selgin, 2011). Producing these pieces provided the workers of the Soho mint the much-needed experience and allowed them to identify issues that led to the improvement of their craft. This was the first time that steam power had been applied to the minting of new coins. As it turns out, the slow start of the Soho mint may have been a blessing to its overall survival. Boulton was finally granted a full contract and patent by the Lords of the Committee on Coin to produce regal copper March 3rd, 1797, for 500 tons of copper coinage in Pence and Two Pence denominations (Peck, 1964; Doty, 1998). A total of 20 tons were to be struck and delivered each week with the first delivery scheduled for June 26th, 1797. The first coins were struck on June 19th, 1797, and this nearly wrecked the 1st Soho Mint. Production speed was slow, and the machines lacked the needed power to correct the numerous issues that arose.
Nonetheless, Boulton did not seize production and kept good on his delivery dates. It would not be until January 17th, 1798 that a new way of connecting the steam engines would be discovered that would eliminate the issues and boost production (Doty, 1998). This discovery would lead to the eventual demise of the 1st Soho Mint the birth of the 2nd Soho Mint.

The second Soho Mint was constructed adjacent to the 1st and was done so while simultaneously striking coins to fulfill the contract of 1797 (Doty, 1998; Selgin, 2011). The 2nd Soho mint was completed in 1798, and all eight presses operated to fulfill the same contract. Pence coins were struck through 1797 and ended August of 1799; however, Two Pence production did not begin until January of 1798 and would be completed by April. Although a second official contract would not be granted until November 4th of 1799, two unofficial renewals kept the 2nd Soho mint in production under the same contract until July 27th, 1799 (Doty, 1998). By the end of this contract and the two renewals, a total of 43,969,204 Pence and 722,180 Two Pence were struck for a total of 44,691,384 coins.

Although Boulton finally realized his ambition and struck regal copper for England, he was limited to Pence and Two Pence. His real desire was to produce the much-needed halfpennies. He proposed a contract to the committee to produce halfpennies on August 17th, 1798, but it would be over a year later before he received an official yes (Doty, 1998; Selgin, 2011). In the meantime, Boulton was hard at work to eliminate some of the issues that arose while striking the Pence and Two Pence coins from the prior contract. In May of 1799, he makes note that the wide rim will be reduced to the standard rim found on most coins of the time; however, the field will be curved to help protect the higher relief points of the design. He further notes that the edges will be impressed with an oblique pattern before the coins are struck in a collar to further prevent counterfeiting (Peck, 1964).
THE NEW 1/2 PENNY DESIGN


Interestingly enough, although the contract to produce regal halfpennies and farthings would not be formally approved until November 4th, 1799, Boulton begins production of both in May of 1799 (Doty, 1998; Selgin, 2011). Strictly speaking, this would have been a criminal act. It is noted that in May of 1799, six of the eight presses were devoted to the production of Pence coins, one to halfpennies, and one to farthings. The presses were able to produce roughly 60 Pence coins, 80 halfpennies, and 97-100 farthings per minute.

Although production had already begun, Boulton received the official go on November 4th, 1799, to produce 550 tons of regal coppers with the ratio of 10 halfpennies to each farthing. The first delivery was scheduled to occur on the 18th of November. With most of the issues worked out that arose during the completion of the first contract, the Soho mint was able to finish the second contract by July 18th, 1800. In total 46,704,000 coins were struck, 42,480,000 halfpennies and 4,224,000 farthings (Doty, 1998).

It would be over four years before Boulton would secure another contract to produce copper coinage for England; however, the Soho Mint remained very busy. Between 1800 and 1805, the Soho mint would produce numerous tokens and coins for Ceylon, the Presidency of Madras, Bombay, Sumatra. It wasn’t until March 26th, 1805 that Boulton would be asked to strike coins for Ireland that would bear the likeness of King George III (Doty, 1998). Production of the Irish copper began the following month and was delivered in entirety by March of 1806. In total, the Soho mint struck 63,580,603 coins for Ireland, which consisted of 8,788,416 Pence coins, 49,795,200 halfpennies, and 4,996,992 farthings. Shortly after the Soho Mint was called upon to produce Penny coinage for the Bahamas. This deal was initially started in August of 1805, but the board in charge of its formal execution failed to finalize the contract until July of 1806. Given the pressure to complete the Irish contract and the looming new contract with England, Boulton expedited the process by using the obverse die slatted to be used to produce the coinage for the third contract with England. The already made obverse die with the new reverse die engraved by Kutchler allowed Boulton to ship 120,517 coins to the Bahamas on November 11th, 1806 (Doty, 1998).

As alluded to earlier, Boulton would eventually secure a third and final contract to produce regal copper for England. Much like the prior two contracts with England, it took some time for the Soho Mint to receive the official green light. Boulton had proposed a third contract on November 20th, 1804, to produce more Pence, halfpennies, and farthings (Doty, 1998).
THE NEW OBVERSE DESIGN FOR THE PENNY

The delay this time was mostly due to the priority Boulton placed on finishing the Irish contract, which, as noted above, concluded in March of 1806. On the 20th of March 1806, Boulton was given the green light for his third and final contract with England (Doty, 1998). Doty (1998) details the following delivery information. By March 31st, 1806, the Soho Mint had struck a total of 4,833,768 farthings, which concluded the entire production of that denomination for the year. Production of Pence pieces commenced on April 28th, with the first delivery being made on May 7th. In total, 19,355,430 Pence coins were struck in 1806 alone. The first delivery of halfpennies was made on June 28th, 1806. By the end, a total of 87,893,526 halfpennies bearing the date 1806 would be struck. Production continued in 1807, but at some point, the dates were changed on the dies to reflect the new year. An additional 11,290,168 Pence pieces, 41,394,384 halfpennies, and 1,075,200 farthings would be struck bearing the date 1807. The final distribution of these coins was completed in March of 1809, just four months before the passing of Matthew Boulton on August 17th, 1809. At this point, Boulton’s son Matthew Robinson Boulton (hereunto referred to as Matt) was mostly in control of the operation of the Soho Mint. On July 27th, 1809, Matt petitioned to continue the production of copper coinage for England but was refused. In total, the third contract with England yielded an output of 165,842,526 regal coppers.

The rise and fall of the 3rd Soho Mint:

The public was saturated, and the copper coinage crisis had been completely relieved. Boulton was able to rapidly produce high-quality copper coinage that would stand the test of time while simultaneously fending of mass counterfeiting that had plagued the general public beforehand. The legacy left by the Boulton and Soho Mint would be felt for centuries, and modern coinage can trace its ancestry to work done by the Soho mint. Despite the lasting impact and the perseverance against so many obstacles, the second Soho mint was eventually sold and dismantled by Matt on February 23rd, 1823, only to later give rise to the 3rd and final Soho mint on July 26th, 1826 (Gale & Hist, 1966; Doty, 1998; Selgin, 2011). Matt eventually found success of his own in the coining business but was never able to secure another contract with the British government. Matt passed away in 1842 with his youngest son Matthew Piers Watt Boulton being too young to run the business allowed for three well-trusted advisors to be placed in charge. These men continued to pursue contracts for the Soho Mint and proved to be somewhat successful. The Soho mint would produce its last coin in January of 1850 (Doty, 1998). When Matt’s eldest son came of age, he decided to sell the 3rd Soho Mint on April 30th of the same year. The giant machines were sold to Ralph Heaton & Sons, which eventually gave rise to the Heaton Mint. The various dies used to strike the coins produced at the 1st, and 2nd Soho Mint were sold at auction, and most of which ended up in the hands of a talented die sinker by the name of James T. Taylor in 1850 (Peck, 1964; Doty, 1998, Selgin, 2011). Taylor would go on to strike countless “restrikes” of some of the classic coins produced by the Soho mint as well as concoct a few other “coins” unique to his design.

A complicated classification:

At times, it can be next to impossible, if not impossible, to distinguish between proofs, patterns, and currency strikes struck at the Soho Mint and those produced by Taylor. As such, these pieces dubbed “Taylor restrikes” have only served to complicate further the study of the coins contained in this set. Although numerous attempts have been made, the gold standard was established by C. Wilson Peck in his 1960 publication entitled “English Copper, Tin and Bronze Coins in The British Museum 1558-1958,” which was later revised in 1964. The Peck numbers listed alongside each coin in this set are pulled from the second edition of this invaluable work. Even Peck, with the numerous important collections and the help of the British Museum, still struggled to differentiate the many patterns, proofs, currency strikes, and restrikes of the coins produced. He often notes that his classification is at times based on speculation but that every attempt was made to logically interpret the data at hand to be as accurate as possible. For those of you who may be interested, I would strongly encourage you to purchase a copy of Peck. Fair warning, this book is expensive and seldom comes up for sale, but the information contained within is invaluable to a serious collector.

Now that you have been provided some history about the Soho Mint, let’s check out some coins!!

References
Brooke, G. C. (1932). English Coins from the Seventh Century to the Present Day. London: Methien & Co. LTD.

Clay, R., & Tungate, S. (2009). Matthew Boulton and the Art of Making Money. Warwickshire: The Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Dickerson, H. W. (1936). Matthew Boulton. Cambridge: Babcock and Wilcox, LTD. At the University Press.

Doty, R. (1998). The Soho Mint and the Industrialisation of Money. London: National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution.

Gale, W. K. V., Hist, F. R. S. (1966). Boulton, Watt and the Soho Undertakings. Birmingham: Museum of Science and Industry.

Peck, C. W. (1964). English Copper, Tin, and Bronze Coins
in the British Museum 1558-1958. London: The trustees of the British Museum.

Tungate, S. (2011) Matthew Boulton and The Soho Mint: copper to customer (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses A&I.

Selgin, G. (2011). Good Money Birmingham Button Makers, The Royal Mint, and the Beginnings of Modern Coinage, 1775-1821. Oakland, California: The Independent Institute.

Suggested readings:

Julian, J. W. (2018). Boulton’s British copper from 1797-1807 [Online Article]. Retrieved from http://www.numismaticnews.net/article/boultons-british-copper-1797-1807

Soho Mint. (2019) Retrieved from http://sohomint.info/index.html

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-birmingham-29462839

General notes about the set:

As previously alluded to, coins from the Soho mint can be classified as either Early Soho, Late Soho, or as a Restrike. Peck notes the term “early Soho” refers to coins struck at the Soho mint on or before the date depicted on the coin. The term "late Soho" is reserved for coins struck at the Soho mint, possibly after that date indicated on the coin. Although these coins were struck at a later date, they are not classified as restrikes but rather as "late Soho" pieces. The term "restrike" is used to denote pieces that were not struck at the Soho mint but were instead struck using dies purchased by Taylor from the Soho Mint in 1848. Throughout the descriptions of this set, I do my best to include the classification assigned by Peck in the first paragraph of the description. I also have done my best to list the rarity assigned to each coin by Peck. The edge details have been included as a separate section for each coin mainly because this can be a very helpful diagnostic. When available, I have done my best to include the number of examples graded by both NGC and PCGS in the notes section of each coin. The term “bronzed” is used frequently within this set, and it is essential that I first define it before its use. Bronzed pieces can be distinguished from their counterparts by the relatively grainy appearance of the devices. The bronzing process helped seal the surfaces of the coin and protect the color. It seems from many notes made by Peck this process occurred on the planchet before striking. Essentially the planchet was wiped with a powder combination that left a layer of the material on the planchet.

Acknowledgments: I have used NGC for almost all of my grading needs over the better portion of a decade, and not once have I been disappointed. Throughout the years I have had the pleasure of interacting with some of the hardest working NGC team members. I want to thank personally, Mr. Ben Wengel for his assistance with helping me correctly identify a 1797 Soho proof penny variety. I would also like to thank Mr. Scott Heller and Mr. David Camire. These two gentlemen were able to take a wishful idea of mine and make it a reality. In doing so they ensured that the unique history told by the silver-lined Soho Mint shells will be preserved alongside their original coins for future generations to enjoy. Of course, all of this would not be possible if it were not for the helpful and friendly customer service staff who always patiently hear me out and guide me in the appropriate direction. All of you work together to provide truly exceptional customer service.

This introduction was last updated (6/24/2020).

Set Goals
Although my ambition is to build a complete collection of the pieces produced at the Soho Mint, this would be unrealistic, given my financial and time constraints. Instead, the goal of this set is to accumulate a broad array of examples of the primary pieces produced at the Soho Mint that depict the height of artistic and scientific ingenuity of the era. In the process of completing this collection, it is my sincere hope that I can bring knowledge to those interested by providing detailed pictures and accurate descriptions. A great deal of numismatic history remains to be explored by those unfamiliar, and what better way to learn than by looking at a selection of handpicked specimens?

Slot Name
Origin/Country
Item Description
Full Grade
Owner Comments
Pics
View Coin 1788 G. Britain ½ Penny Copper Pattern P-945 Skinner Collection GREAT BRITAIN 1707-1815 1/2P 1788 P-945 COPPER PATTERN Skinner Collection NGC PF 50 BN This is one of the numerous pattern halfpennies designed by Jean Pierre Droz struck at the Soho Mint. Peck lists this coin as an early Soho strike. It is listed as very rare.

Obverse: Depicts George III’s undraped bust facing right with a wreath of 10 leaves and three berries. The signature D.F. is absent from the truncation of the shoulder. A noticeable flaw occurs at the bottom edge of the coin under the shoulder protruding from the narrow wire rim with a toothed border. The obverse legend as follows: GEORGIUS III ◊ D ◊ G ◊ REX ◊ (even spacing).
Reverse: The reverse depicts Britannia seated to the left on a globe. Her left leg is drawn back, and she adorned in a long flowing robe with a hem patterned with leaves and berries. The pattern on the hem is one of the key diagnostics to use when trying to distinguish between the numerous "early" and "late" Soho pieces and the "restrikes". The image to the left demonstrates this point in detail. Her right hand is raised and holds a spear. Her left side is occupied by an oval shield with the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored). Her left-hand holds a wreath and is rested upon the shield. The letter “D” and two clusters of leaves and flowers are detailed left of the shield. A ship's rudder and a crossed palm branch are in exergue. The reverse legend as follows: BRITANNIA ◊ 1788 ◊ (even spacing).

Edge: In raised letters: | RENDER | TO CESAR | THE THIN|GS WHICH | ARE CE|SARS: followed by two trefoils and a flower.

Notes: This is the coin that got me interested in collecting British pattern pieces. Although it has been circulated and as such as an impaired proof, it just exudes character. It also helps attest to the trying early times of the Soho Mint and the extreme copper shortage of England at the time. Both the obverse and reverse retain a fair amount of detail, and despite several scattered contact marks, the coin has deep rich brown reflective fields. By far, one of my favorite pieces in my entire collection. Currently, the only certified example at either NGC or PCGS.
View Coin 1788 G. Britain ½ Penny Gilt Pattern P-965 Skinner Collection GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS 1/2P 1788 P-965 GILT PATTERN NGC PF 35 This is an example of a gilt pattern halfpenny designed by Droz and struck at the Soho Mint. Peck lists this coin as a late Soho strike. Peck notes that the British Museum acquired serval pieces from the Roberts and Banks collection in 1810 and 1818, and as such, these pieces could not have a product of Taylor in the 1850s. Numerous rust spots, weak areas, and little to no evidence of transitional die wearing indicate this coin is likely struck using repolished dies after what was likely years of improper storage. Peck notes that numerous pieces were struck, and he examined more than 70 examples. Making this one of the more common gilt strikings of the series. Previous auction records seem to collaborate with the availability of this piece. They are listed as very scarce.

Obverse: Depicts the undraped bust of George III facing right with a wreath of 10 leaves and two berries tied behind the neck with a riband. The hair terminates in 3 large curls, with each forming a half-circle. A curl is on the right shoulder. The tip of the bust is weak and lacks relief, and the tips of the front two leaves above the brow and stop after REX are weakly struck. Obverse legend as follows: GEORGIUS III ◊ D ◊ G ◊ REX ◊ (even spacing).

Reverse: The reverse depicts Britannia seated to the left on a globe. Her left leg is drawn back, and she adorned in a long flowing robe with a hem patterned with leaves and berries. Her right hand is raised and holds a spear. Her left side is occupied by an oval shield with the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored). Her left-hand holds a wreath and is rested upon the shield. The letter “D” and two clusters of leaves and flowers are detailed left of the shield. A ship's rudder and a crossed palm branch are in exergue. The reverse legend as follows: BRITANNIA ◊ 1788 ◊ (even spacing).

Edge: In raised letters: | RENDER | TO CESAR | THE THIN|GS WHICH | ARE CE|SARS: followed by two trefoils and a flower.

Notes: This was the second example of a Droz pattern piece had I purchased, and although I much enjoy this coin, it is an example of why one should always buy the book before the coin. Had I known beforehand that this particular variety was relatively common among the series, I may have opted to hold out for an uncirculated example. Nonetheless, I do find the coin to have an undeniable character. Although impaired, the fields are reflective, and a good deal of gilt remains. The areas where the gilt has worn off further attests to the desperate need for circulating copper in Britain. This is a gilt piece that would have been stunning when first struck, and yet the demand outweighed the beauty, and this piece found its way into circulation. This is currently the only PF-35 example graded at NGC, but there are eight more in higher grades at NGC alone, with another three graded higher examples at PCGS.
View Coin 1790 G. Britain ½ Penny Bronzed Restrike P-1007 GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS 1/2P 1790 P-1007 BRONZED RESTRIKE NGC PF 63 BN This is an example of a bronzed restrike of one of Droz’s pattern halfpennies. Please note that there is a difference between a bronze coin and a bronzed coin. A bronze coin has been struck using the metal bronze; however, a bronzed coin is a coin likely struck in copper that has had been brushed with a “bronze” agent that helps seal the surfaces of the coin and protect its color. This is undoubtedly one of the many pieces struck by Taylor after purchasing the dies from the Soho auction in the 1850s. It is listed as rare.

Obverse: Oddly enough, the obverse of this coin is an alteration of that found on the 1793 Bermuda Pennies struck at the Soho Mint. King George III is facing right “DROZ F” appears at the truncation of the shoulder. The point of the bust is well rounded in high relief and comes close to the toothed border and wire rim. The hair ends with three large curls, which all form closed circles. A large cluster of hair is present under the bust. The obverse legend as follows: GEORGIUS III ◊ D ◊ G ◊ REX followed by a flower.
KEY OBVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Reverse: Britannia is seated on globe facing left with her right-hand pointing left. Her left hand is resting on an oval shield with the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored). A spear rests against the shield and is superimposed on a laurel branch. The date “1790” is in exergue and is neatly framed by two modern quatrefoils. Immediately preceding the left quatrefoil, the initials DR · F · is present. Reverse legend as follows: BRITANNIA followed by a flower. As noted within the listing for P-945 the dress hem design is a key diagnostic to distinguish between the pieces struck as Soho and the pieces struck by Taylor. The early pieces typically depict a design of branches and berries, whereas the restrikes typically are plain and devoid of design. The image to the left is a close up of the hem design.
KEY REVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Edge: Plain

Notes: This coin is fantastic in hand. The sole distracting mark is the rather large carbon spot on George IIIs cheek. As you may have noticed, this coin does not have a Skinner Collection pedigree, which denotes that I purchased this coin already graded by NGC. I picked this coin up through an auction house and ended up paying less for it already graded than I would have paid for a less attractive raw example. As my first uncirculated proof restrike, I will likely never sell it, but I am actively pursuing options to acquire another. Luckily, this particular example seems to be reasonably abundant in the market at the time. This coin has been described as “Splendidly choice and richly chocolaty, notably few marks of evidence of handling detectable in the fields for the assigned grade”. This is an accurate description of the piece, and as I said before, it is most impressive in hand. This is the only PF-63 example with only 2 in higher grades at NGC. PCGS only has three examples, all of which are higher, 64 (2), and 66 (1). Previously part of the Lake County Collection.
View Coin 1797 G. Britain Gilt Proof 2 Pence P-1073 Skinner Collection GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS 2P 1797 SOHO P-1073 GILT RESTRIKE NGC PF Details Although erroneously listed as a “restrike” on the label, Peck lists this coin as a late Soho piece. Remember, the term late Soho refers to a coin struck at the Soho Mint likely after the date on the coin. A restrike, according to Peck, refers to a coin struck much later by Taylor after he purchased the dies from the Soho Mint in the 1850s. Peck had enough data to suggest that this coin was struck at Soho and, therefore, should have been denoted at a gilt proof and not a “Restrike”. Oddly enough, this coin was purchased in an old NCS holder with a details grade for being “Plated”. It seems as though at the time NGC or NCS did not notice this was, in fact, a gilt proof and instead proceeded to treat it as a currency strike, hence the details grade for being “Plated”. NGC handled the situation very well, and they were able to confirm the appropriate variety designation. As always, NGC's customer service was top notch. It is listed as very rare.

Obverse:An image of the 1797 Soho Gilt Proof 2 pence obverse die cracksThe obverse portrays the draped bust of George III facing right. The wreath has ten leaves and four berries of equal size, which is tied with a riband of 2 loops and loose ends. A small forked hair curl overlaps the front leaf above the brow. There is a curl on each shoulder, and the majority of the hair hangs in curls behind the neck. A brooch of 6 jewels catches and holds the drapery. Please make a note of the “K” indicating Kuchler’s initial on the lowest fold of the drapery. The legend GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. Is contained within the sizeable broad rim. The stop after GEORGIUS and REX are blocked (i.e., they appear to be filled and have no depth compared to the stop after G). A large and very apparent die crack occurs along the base of G · REX. On most examples of this type but the die crack starts at D: to form a much larger die crack. When looking at these coins in hand and comparing them to an earlier strike of the same dies (i.e., P-1067-1069), you will notice that many areas are noticeably missing details. These areas are described as being “lapped” by Peck, which refers to the polishing of the die. As the die is polished, specific details may be lost.

Reverse: The reverse portrays Britannia seated left. Her right arm is extended to the left, holding an olive branch with 11 leaves, all of which are attached. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand. An oval shield with the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. Below Britannia, there are three rows of waves. Under the right side of the shield is a rock with SOHO. In raised letters (note the stop after Soho). The most extreme wave-crest on the right points to the first “O” in Soho. There is a small amount of sea visible to the right of Britannia. The three-masted warship bears a Union flag. The legend BRITANNIA. occurs within a sizeable broad rim. The date 1797 appears at the bottom of the coin. The stop after Britannia is clogged up. A considerable protruding die crack begins at N and continues through NIA nearly to the sea level. Another die crack starts shortly after and extends through the date and ends about midway through the sea in front of Britannia.
KEY REVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY


Edge: Plain

Notes: Gilt proof 2 pence coins do not come to auction very often, and when they do, they typically are in gem condition and demand premium prices. I never thought I would be able to add an example to my collection due to a limited budget, but this coin was a shocking feat! I purchased this coin during one of my late-night internet strolls through eBay listings. The pictures were blurry, and it was hard for me to discern any details about the coin. I did notice that there were three rows of waves, and this was my first clue that is was a proof striking and not a currency strike. In the end, it turned out to be a gamble that paid off because I was able to add an otherwise out of reach coin to the collection for much less than I am willing to admit (it was an auction listing, not a buy it now). This has quickly become one of my favorite pieces. There is just something cool about holding a massive chunk of copper from 1797 that circulated but was only meant to be a presentation piece. Not to mention, it is a success story that I can tell to aspiring numismatists to help encourage them to pursue this excellent hobby! This may be the only graded example at either NGC or PCGS in either details or straight grade.
View Coin 1797 G. Britain Penny Bronzed Pattern P-1100 GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS PENNY 1797 P-1100 BRONZED PATTERN NGC PROOF Details I had the opportunity to pick this example up for what I think was an extremely reasonable price, which is likely due to the “Bent” designation assigned by NGC. The seller noted that the “bend” was very subtle and almost undetectable. I did not put much stock into their explanation, but once I had the coin in hand, I indeed was unable to detect any curvature whatsoever. I assume the only way to detect it would be to remove it from the holder and place it on a flat surface. Peck notes that this piece is a late Soho Strike and is extremely rare. I am delighted that I was able to locate an affordable example of this variety for my collection.

Obverse: This example portrays a type 3 bust, which according to Peck (1964), depicts a large undraped bust facing right. This bust is a notable deviation from the bust depicted on the business strikes; however, a wreath of 10 leaves and five berries is still contained within the hair and is tied behind the neck with two ribands. The hair falls on both sides of the shoulder as well as below the bust. The curls are much longer than those on the business strikes, and the general appearance of curvature of the bust is much more pronounced. There is also a distinct hook-like hair curl that extends beyond the larger curls behind the neck. This obverse design almost seems to depict a younger king and the upper parts of the hair, and the lowest curl of hair nearly touches the broad rims. A large “K” followed by three dots in a triangular shape is on the lowest portion of the truncation. This particular coin is a late Soho strike, which is evident by the numerous rust spots throughout the fields and the primary devices. These are most notable on the face, neck, and rim. The broad raised rims contain the legend “GEORGIUS III ● D:G ● REX.” The top and bottom portions of the “D” are stopped up as well as the lower portion of the “G” in D:G is stopped up. The letters in the legend are substantially larger than those typically encountered on the business strikes. This particular example has a very appealing blue tone in the fields and around the primary devices. I am particularly fond of this type of toning, and I find this to be an extremely attractive piece.
KEY OBVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Reverse: Peck (1964) classifies this as a Type B reverse, which depicts a helmeted Britannia facing left seated on a globe. This is a notable difference from the design employed on the business strikes, and in my opinion, is a significant improvement. Britannia is depicted wearing a plumed helmet with a striated fin. She is seated on a globe amongst waves facing left wearing drapery that clings close to her body. Her left breast is uncovered by the drapery and is exposed. Her right arm is extended, holding a trident. Her left arm rests on an oval shield with the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) on her left side. A large “K.” occurs just below the left bottom half of the shield. Her hand clasps an olive branch of 16 leaves and no berries. This particular example shows re-punching of the berries. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her about halfway down her leg, and another almost obliterated ship occurs in the sea behind her. The date “1797” occurs in exergue below the main bust. All of this is contained within a broad raised rim, which is adorned by several floral decorations. The incuse legend “BRITANNIA.” occurs at the top between two small floral designs. Opposite of the legend, two olive branches tied by a riband are depicted. Peck (1964) notes that the mintmark SOHO occurs incuse within the loop of the two ribands. Much like the obverse, the reverse has a beautiful blue patina that cumulates in the fields and washes against the primary devices.
KEY REVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Edge: Plain

Notes: This is an example of an extremely rare pattern piece that would have been very difficult to acquire under normal circumstances. The neon blue toning that occurs on both sides makes this a very appealing coin in my opinion and matches nicely with similarly toned coins in my collection. In so far as I can tell, this is the only example at either NGC or PCGS. Usually I would avoid a “details” coin, but in this case, the damage is not apparent, and the rarity and the relative price was just right to make this purchase too good to pass up. I enjoy the obverse and reverse designs of this variety, and I hope that I can add others to my collection as they become available.
View Coin 1797 G. Britain Bronzed Proof Penny P-1122 Skinner Collection GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS PENNY 1797SOHO P-1122 BRONZED Skinner Collection NGC PF 62 BN I sent this coin back to NGC for review, and they graciously offered to do so for free. I originally submitted this coin raw with the 11 leaves designation listed on the variety plus box. It was confirmed as such, and I did not think much of it until writing up the descriptions for this set. I looked further into the coin, and it has all of the die diagnostics for P-1122, which is a proof strike. The differences between the two are super subtle because the proof was struck using a repolished die much like that of 1133. The primary diagnostic occurs on the obverse and is appropriately described in the next section. Peck lists this coin as very scarce. As of 10/31/29, there are four of these graded at NGC, this coin, one in 63 and 2 in 64. There are currently none explicitly certified with the acknowledged variety at PCGS; however, they do exist in the non-attributed holders. Needless to say, I was overjoyed when this coin came back from NGC.

Obverse: This example is a type 4 obverse which with a small bust of George III facing right. George has a wreath of 11 leaves and two berries, which is tied behind the neck by a riband with one loop and two loose ends. The upper loose end points outwards. The hair falls in curls behind the neck and on the left shoulder. A brooch of 8 jewels holds the drapery in place on his right shoulder. Kuchler’s initial appears on the lowest fold of the drapery with the top right dot larger than the others. The legend GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. is contained within a sizeable broad rim.

Key Differences: The uppermost berry has a distinct stem, and numerous rust spots occur on the rim above the legend. For example, look at the “R” in GEORGIUS or the “RE” in REX.
KEY DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Reverse: This is a reverse type C, which is described by Peck as Britannia seated on a rock with large letters. Britannia is seated on a rock amongst waves facing left wearing drapery that clings close to her body. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with ten leaves and no berries. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand. An oval shield with the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. A 3 masted warship with six incuse gunports appears in the sea in front of her about halfway down her leg. An ensign appears at the stern. The legend BRITANNIA. occurs within a large, broad rim. The date 1797 appears at the bottom of the coin. Peck notes that the waves are not crested with foam, but I have yet to understand what he is talking about.

Edge: Plain

Notes: This is somewhat of an odd situation mostly because you would think it would be easy to determine a proof from a business strike. As it turns out, this can be a rather tricky task for Soho pieces. In fact, I had an in-depth discussion with one of the senior numismatists at A. H. Baldwin about this very topic. He had many more years of experience than I did and had seen coins I could only dream of, and yet he found it a difficult task at times. I am delighted that NGC was ultimately able to verify my hunch that this was a bronzed proof. Beyond the relative scarcity of the coin, it removes the financial burden normally associated with purchasing a proof 1797 Penny. This coin was purchased at a price that was extremely fair for a 10 leaves variety business strike, so I honestly could not be luckier.
View Coin 1797 G. Britain 10 Leaves Obverse Penny P-1132 Skinner Collection GREAT BRITAIN 1707-1815 PENNY 1797SOHO 10 Leaves Obv. Skinner Collection NGC AU 58 BN This is an example of a 1797 currency strike penny struck at the Soho Mint. This is by no means a rare coin and of the two currency types, the ten leaves obverse and the 11 leaves obverse, this is by far the most common. For those of you interested in getting your collection started, the 1797 10 leaves penny is a real bargain for the series. These coins are relatively large and often can be found with beautiful, even brown color. If looking at these coins raw, be sure to find an example that is free of rim bumps.

Given that these coins are large and heavy, the rim was often damaged during average circulation. The broad raised rim slightly protects the fields, but it can be challenging to find nice examples with clean fields and undamaged rims. To any extent, these can be picked up for a reasonable price in low mint state grades (i.e., Ms-61, 62, or 63). Certified examples often come up for auction and can be real bargains at times, so be patient and seek an example you find the most appealing. Listed as common.

Obverse: This example is a type 4 obverse which with a small bust of George III facing right. George has a wreath of 10 leaves and two berries, which is tied behind the neck by a riband with one loop and two loose ends. The upper loose end points downward. The hair falls in curls behind the neck and on the left shoulder. A brooch of 8 jewels holds the drapery in place on his right shoulder. Kuchler’s initial appears on the lowest fold of the drapery, followed by three dots in various positions. The legend GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. is contained within a sizeable, broad rim. The obverse of this coin shows several contact marks, but the rims and fields are relatively clean for a circulated example of this heavy copper coin.

Reverse: This is a reverse type C, which is described by Peck as Britannia seated on a rock with large letters. Britannia is sitting on a rock amongst waves facing left wearing drapery that clings close to her body. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with ten leaves and no berries. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand. An oval shield with the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her about halfway down her leg. The legend BRITANNIA. occurs within a large, broad rim. The date 1797 appears at the bottom of the coin. This particular example has a prevalent die crack that starts just after the last “A” in Britannia and extends about halfway down through the field toward the shield behind her. Another die crack begins at her left hand and continues through her leg to the foremast of the ship. This last die crack is rather severe and looking at the coin from an angle, you can see a noticeable ridge is formed, such that the metal above the break toward Britannia is raised higher than the metal below the crack that occurs toward the date.
UNUSUALLY LARGE REVERSE DIE BREAK

Edge: Plain

Notes: As I said before, this is a reasonably common coin, but the vibrant cholate brown fields combined with the otherwise crisp details of the devices give this coin exceptional eye appeal. The fields are relatively clean, and the rims are free of any distracting dings. This coin is notable because of the eye appeal, but the die crack on the reverse makes this coin somewhat unique. Boulton was nothing shy of obsessed with the quality of the coins he produced. This was likely even heightened because of the pride he took in striking coins for his native England. To find a coin with such a glaring mint error is notable. I am not much of a mint error collector, but this one seems to fit perfectly in this collection. There are currently 18 in AU-58 and 121 in higher grades.
View Coin 1797 G. Britain Contemporary Counterfeit Penny P-1110 Skinner Collection GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS PENNY 1797SOHO P-1110 "LIGHT PENNY" CONTEMPORARY COUNTERFEIT NGC VF 20 BN The question that probably comes to mind is how Boulton would be able to produce a copper coinage for England that would suffice the public need, curb counterfeiting and do so in an efficient and timely manner. His answer to this question was the application of steam power to the minting process. This would allow coins to be struck at a quicker rate while also holding the quality of the strike consistent. Furthermore, through a business relationship (albeit a bleak one) with Jean Pierre Droz, Boulton proposed a method of manufacturing that would produce a perfectly round coin of constant weight and thickness with edge lettering to dissuade further counterfeiting (Peck, 1964; Doty, 1998, Selgin, 2011). In the process of lobbying the Lords of the Committee on Coin, Boulton boasted that these security features would make it nearly impossible to counterfeit his coins, and this naturally became a major selling point for him. By all accounts, he took great pride in this claim.

These adaptations would be a viable solution in theory but not so much in practice. The issue is that the edge lettering was a new and challenging process that relied almost entirely upon Droz, who was unreliable and ultimately turned out to be a giant disappointment for Boulton. By the time Boulton received a contract to produce regal copper coinage for England on March 3rd, 1797, Droz was far removed, and no significant progress had been made on the edge lettering apparatus (Doty, 1998). To further complicate matters, the contract was to strike Pence and Two Pence pieces and not Halfpennies with which the edge lettering was initially applied. The Pence and Twopence pieces were huge, weighing an ounce and two ounces respectively, and nearly wrecked the Soho Mint to produce. Despite the difficulties, Boulton managed to stay faithful to the terms of his contract and fulfilled it in full within the allotted time. It is my opinion that this would not have been possible had Boulton tried to add the edge lettering to the coins. I suspect this would have placed extra stress on an already struggling system resulting in inevitable catastrophe.

Despite the lack of edge lettering, the new Pence and Twopence pieces did have some features that would deter counterfeiting. For one, the coins were well made and were noticeably larger than any other circulating regal piece at the time. Their expansiveness allowed for the possibility of wide raised rims which contained the incuse legend. The large raised rims would help protect the primary devices from excessive wear, and the incuse legend assured it would survive long after the raised rims wore down. All of this is to say that for counterfeits to pass, they too would have to be much higher quality, and this would likely translate into less profit for the counterfeiters. Although not the intent of Boulton, there was another factor that protected at least the Twopence pieces. As it turns out, the general public was not very fond of them (Selgin, 2011). They are enormous and heavy (i.e., 41 mm and 2 ounces), and needless to say, they were too bulky to carry around in any quantity. Because of this, they tended to build up in storekeeper’s drawers, but the storekeepers had no real way of exchanging them for paper money or silver. All of these factors made them unpopular and therefore were less susceptible to counterfeiting. Below is an example of a proof 1797 Penny struck from repolished current dies (I realize now that I need to take new pictures with different lighting).

The Pennies were also rather large and heavy (i.e., 36 mm and an ounce), but they were better received than their larger counterparts. This made for an ideal target for counterfeiters. As it turns out, the large raised rims, incuse legend, and high quality did not prove sufficient enough to curb counterfeiting. Individuals could collect genuine examples, melt them down, and make lightweight pieces. The excess copper from this process would yield substantial profit. Although this never became a widespread problem, it was nonetheless a direct contradiction to Boulton’s claim, and he had a vested interest in curbing the issue. Most notably, he wished to secure future contracts to strike regal English copper, and this counterfeit issue could prove a considerable hindrance. Boulton was so concerned that he announced a 100 guinea payment for actionable information about the counterfeiters. As detailed by numerous sources, this led to a man named William Phillips to come forward with information about three counterfeiting outfits located in none other than Birmingham (Dickerson, 1936; Peck, 1964; Selgin, 2011). Boulton acted on this information, which eventually leads to numerous arrests, including that of William Phillips, who was also involved in the counterfeiting operation.

Although some of the earlier pieces were poor quality casts that were easily identified, as time went on, the counterfeits became quite sophisticated. As noted by Clay and Tungate (2009) and further substantiated by Selgin (2011), the shallow designs proved to be much easier to reproduce than Boulton thought. Soon counterfeiters were engraving their dies that were close replications of the actual products despite the use of hand-operated presses. For those of you interested, Dickerson (1936) gives a full unabridged replication of the letter Boulton sent to the Lords of the Committee on Coin, which details the simultaneous raid on three separate counterfeiting facilities. However, so far, the focus of the counterfeits discussed were products created from fake dies. Peck (1964) notes that some counterfeits were produced using genuine dies that were stolen from the Soho Mint. He makes this argument based on the die diagnostics of the pieces he observed, and I have full confidence in his conclusions; however, I have had no luck finding additional information on this topic. He even mentions that the origin of these struck counterfeits using genuine dies remains a mystery. An odd discrepancy to this point comes from Doty (1998), who points out on page 319 that the working dies for the Pence and Two Pence pieces were destroyed under the supervision of a Royal Mint official on July 26th, 1799. Of course, this does not preclude the possibility the dies were stolen before being destroyed. I have no answers to this problem, but I plan to continue digging. Peck (1964) mentions that the pieces were struck on a light planchet that was roughly 1 mm thinner than usual (i.e., 2 mm instead of 3 mm) and weighed substantially less (i.e., about 19 grams compared to a full ounce). The weight alone is enough to give these coins away; however, the next biggest clue can be found within the legends which run into the rims. As noted, the genuine coins were designed to prevent this from happening.

The struck pieces using the genuine Soho dies (i.e., Peck-1110) are rather good, and I imagine these readily passed as currency at the time. An example of one of these pieces from my collection is pictured above. To take this one step further, I also would not be surprised if these fooled some collectors who assumed they were well-circulated genuine examples.
View Coin 1799 G. Britain Bronzed Pattern ½ Penny P-1234 Skinner Collection GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS 1/2P 1799SOHO P-1234 BRONZED PATTERN NGC PROOF Details The 1799 Penny pieces mark a point of further renovation on the part of Matthew Bolton. The prior contract with the British government to strike Pence and 2 Pence coins for England nearly destroyed the Soho mint. The giant rims and thick planchet did not agree with the presses he had at the time. The dies broke often, and the machines struggled to keep pace, and production suffered. The renovation of the steam engine paired with the presses gave rise to the 2nd Soho mint that these coins would be struck in. As noted in the introduction, the designs of the coins were changed to help eliminate some of the issues from the prior contract. The rims were made thin, the fields were concaved, and the security edge was added. All of these steps helped boost production while still maintaining the integrity of the work done at the Soho Mint. This is an example of one of the numerous patterns struck at the Soho mint with the new design details. Peck notes that the British Museum secured three examples from the Roberts Collection (1808) and the Banks Collection (1818). This fact, paired with the workmanship, led Peck to classify this as an Early Soho strike. They are listed as Scarce.

Obverse: The bust of George III faces right with the typical wreath of 11 leaves but in much detail than usual. The veins of the leaves can be seen branching from the center on most. The wreath is tied behind the neck by a riband with one loop and two loose ends. In keeping with the immense detail, the upper riband loop is striated horizontally (e.g., small lines embellish the areas mentioned). A K followed by a single dot (i.e., K.) appears on the lowest fold of the drapery, which is caught by a clasp of 6 square jewels. The two center jewels of the brooch are slightly out of line. Peck also notes that a flaw shaped like a comma often occurs in the drapery just under the neckline. The legend occurs within a thin raised rim and toothed border that reads as follows: GEORGIUS III DEI GRATIA REX (even spacing). This particular example has two noticeable scratches, one protruding from the forehead to the rim, and another across the neck extending about a quarter of the way across the field in front of the bust.
KEY OBVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY


Reverse: Britannia is depicted facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with 14 leaves and no berries. A massive flaw (i.e., raised lump of metal) is noticeable under her right armpit. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand, of which the middle prong points just left of the first limb of the 2nd “N” in Britannia. An oval shield with a thin raised rim adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her about halfway down her leg. Peck notes that the ship has a large flag affixed to the poop (i.e., the raised deck that occurs above the main deck) and that a raised line appears along the length of the hull. Three raised dots appear in a triangle shape on the rock to the right of the shield. The date “1799” occurs just under the curved sea with the “1” just barely touching the sea. The reverse of this coin is spectacular and full of intricate details. The shield almost looks convex, and the waves and lines of the drapery are noticeably more detailed. Even the hair on Britannia’s head shows detail. The legend occurs within the thin raised rim and toothed border and reads as follows: BRITANNIA with the date appearing at the bottom of the coin just under the primary device.
KEY REVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY


Edge: Engrailed

Notes: This coin was purchased at auction raw. The seller suggested it was a proof coin but made no effort to sell it as such. The scratches were apparent, but the eye appeal was too strong to pass up. I knew this coin would yield a details grade by NGC, but I did not want to let a 200-year-old coin to get further damaged in my collection, and I figured the best way to protect it was to have it encapsulated. After all, we are only temporary curators of these pieces, and I believe every effort should be made to preserve them for future generations. Peck notes that this piece is relatively common in relation to the other 1799 pattern halfpennies and that this likely prevented Taylor from producing restrikes. It appears that Bolton was proud of this example and struck many at the Soho Mint. A total of 14 examples have been graded by NGC and another three at PCGS.
View Coin 1799 G. Britain Proof Bronzed Pattern ½ Penny P-1246 Skinner Collection GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS 1/2P 1799SOHO P-1246 BRONZED PATTERN NGC PF 64 BN Acquiring this coin was somewhat of a battle. The seller and I went back and forth on the price for weeks until we finally agreed on terms that worked for both of us. I ended up purchasing this coin for an extremely reasonable price. This near gem example is stunning in hand. Except for the obverse carbon spots, this near gem is exactly what you would want on a 220-year-old proof coin. Peck lists this coin as scarce, which seems reasonable. As of 10-26-19, there are currently five graded at NGC (i.e., two at PF-63 and three at PF-64). There are currently none at PCGS.

Obverse: The bust of George III faces right with the typical wreath of 11 leaves and three berries. The wreath is tied behind the neck by a riband with one loop and two loose ends. A K followed by a single dot (i.e., K.) appears on the lowest fold of the drapery, which is caught by a clasp of 6 square jewels that form a perfect curve. Peck also notes that small rust spots appear on the cheek and near the lower lip. The legend occurs within a thin raised rim and toothed border that reads as follows: GEORGIUS III DEI GRATIA REX (even spacing). A significant flaw occurs from the rim to the through the “G” in GEORGIUS. This particular example has a few noticeable carbon spots, but these do not overly overshadow the eye appeal of this piece.
KEY OBVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY


Reverse:
Britannia is depicted facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with 14 leaves and no berries. A significant flaw (i.e., raised lump of metal) is noticeable under her right armpit. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand, of which the middle prong points just left of the first limb of the 2nd “N” in Britannia. An oval shield with a thin raised rim adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her about halfway down her leg. Peck notes that the ship has a large flag affixed to the poop (i.e., the raised deck that occurs above the main deck) and that a raised line appears along the length of the hull. Three raised dots appear in a triangle shape on the rock to the right of the shield. The date “1799” occurs just under the curved sea with the “1” just barely touching the sea. The reverse of this coin is spectacular and full of intricate details. The shield almost looks convex, and the waves and lines of the drapery are noticeably more detailed. Even the hair on Britannia’s head shows detail. The legend occurs within the thin raised rim and toothed border and reads as follows: BRITANNIA with the date appearing at the bottom of the coin just under the primary device. Peck notes that a distinct flaw occurs under “99” of the date. This flaw almost looks like a time raised ramp that starts in the field and raises slightly toward the rim. He notes that this flaw is roughly 7mm long.

Edge: Obliquely grained

Notes: The attention to detail and quality one would expect from the Soho mint is on full display with this coin. Individual branching leaf veins and fine whisker details can be easily seen with the naked eye when examining this coin in hand. Currently tied for the finest graded, this near gem example is nothing short of amazing.
View Coin 1799 G. Britain ½ Penny P-1248 Skinner Collection GREAT BRITAIN 1707-1815 1/2P 1799SOHO Skinner Collection NGC MS 64 RB The 1799 halfpenny currency strikes come up for sale very often, and exceptional examples can be had for relatively little. This would make for an excellent starting point for a new collector of English copper. Given the abundance of these coins, I would urge the buyer to hold out for an example that speaks to their set goals. The current example retains a great deal of original red luster, and the fields are clean of any significant marks. This coin is listed as Very Common.

Obverse: The bust of George III faces right. A wreath of 11 leaves rest on his head and is tied behind the neck by a riband with one loop and two loose ends. A single dot (.) appears on the lowest fold of the drapery, which is caught by a clasp of 6 square jewels. Peck notes that the position of the folds and dot varies with different working dies. The legend occurs within a thin raised rim and toothed border that reads as follows: GEORGIUS III DEI GRATIA REX (even spacing).

Reverse: Britannia is depicted facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with 14 leaves and no berries. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her grasp of which the middle prong points just left of the first limb of the 2nd “N” in Britannia. An oval shield with a thin raised rim adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her about halfway down her leg. Three raised dots appear in a triangle shape on the rock to the right of the shield. The date “1799” occurs just under the curved sea with the “1” completely separated from the sea. The reverse of this coin is spectacular, and the reddish fields contrast nicely with the brown device to create what almost creates the illusion of a cameo in hand (keep in mind this is a business strike and as such a cameo would not be possible). The legend occurs within the thin raised rim and toothed border and reads as follows: BRITANNIA with the date appearing at the bottom of the coin just under the primary device.

Edge: Engrailed

Notes: This coin was somewhat of a gamble when I purchased it off of eBay some time ago. The seller posted very out of focus pictures of the coin in an old scuffed up cardboard 2x2 holder that was labeled with the grade XF. It was difficult to distinguish any significant details of the coin, but the color made me think that it was likely an uncirculated example. Worst case scenario, it might have been an XF coin that been harshly cleaned, but the quality of the pictures made it impossible for me to come to a definite conclusion. When I got the coin in hand, it was clear that the surfaces were original and that it was an uncirculated example. I was very pleased — this one of the most delightful examples I have seen for the assigned grade. The underlying red in the fields is intense and contrasts very well with the brown color of the devices. The fields are clean, and the coin has, in my opinion, the merits of an MS-65 example. This was also my first “+” graded coin I received back from NGC. There currently four graded MS-64+ RB at NGC with 97 in higher grades.
View Coin 1799 G. Britain 1/2 Penny Bronzed Restrike P-1258 GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS 1/2P 1799SOHO P-1258 BRONZED RESTRIKE NGC PF 64 BN This is by far my favorite observe design of the entire Halfpenny series. In my opinion, nothing says “I am a king” quite as well as a large crown and a determined portrait. I wish this had been the design adopted, but given that the designs had to be approved by the King it appears that he did find the portrait as appealing as I do. A more modest bust was adopted, and this design was employed for the majority of the proofs, patterns, and restrikes of the 1799 Halfpenny. Peck (1964) classifies this coin as a rare restrike. Although this variety is relatively rare to the rest of the series, it appears that a few examples come up for sale every year. My affection for the design seems to be well shared as the examples depicting the King adorned with a large crown often command significant premiums over other more relatively rare verities. I assumed that obtaining an example of this variety would be a stretch for my budget, but this example came at a time of modest prosperity for me.

Obverse: Peck (1964) classifies this as a “large crowned bust”. Essentially, the obverse depicts King George III facing right (a notable deviation from the normal orientation) adorned by a very large crown. The crown is highly detailed, and for the sake of parsimony, I will only describe the portions of the highest interest. For instance, the lis on either side of the inner cross have been slightly altered from the original dies prepare by Kuchler and now appear more angular. The inner center cross has also been retouched, and in the process, a substantial portion of the pearl immediately above it is missing. Hair flows from under the crown, and a group of large curls appears just above his ear. His hair flows down the back of his neck and rests on his shoulder. A small lock of hair can be seen immediately under the draped bust. Unlike the numerous other 1799 Halfpennies, there is no jewel to catch the folds of the drapery. A very large “K.” is present on the lowest fold of the drapery, and on this example, a faint die crack can be seen extending through this fold in the drapery and extending to the edge of the hair curl resting on his shoulder. It appears Taylor retouched this obverse design, and according to Peck (1964), Taylor added the legend to this die. The legend “GEORGIUS III DEI GRATIA REX” is contained with a thin raised rim and a toothed border.
KEY OBVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Reverse: By most accounts, the reverse design of this variety is very similar to the other employed in this series; however, Peck (1964) notes several deviations. Like most 1799 Halfpennies, Britannia is depicted facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with 14 leaves and no berries. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her grasp. The middle prong point to the left limb of the “N” in “BRITANNIA”. To her left is an oval shield with a thin raised rim adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored). Peck (1964) notes that a thin raised line appears around the shield, but is incomplete toward the bottom right of the shield. Under magnification, this almost gives the appearance of the shield being partially dug into the ground. The space between the butt of the spear and shield is almost devoid of detail except for four small horizontal lines. The mintmark “SOHO” occurs on a rock just below the shield, and a series of three raised dots in a triangular shape appears on the rock behind the shield. A 3 masted warship with a poop (i.e., a sub-deck above the main deck) appears in the sea in front of her about halfway down her leg. The sea is weak in places and shows very little detail. Peck notes that the original ship has been polished off and replaced with a very crudely engraved one. This is very apparent, and comparing this ship with those engraved by Kutchler makes this one look like something out of a cartoon. Peck also notes that there are no gun ports, and an irregular lump (i.e., raised bump) occurs under the stern. The sea is curved, and a large flaw (i.e., a die crack) occurs from the bottom of the sea extending through Britannia’s foot and eventually tracing the edge of the sea and concluding in almost equal height to the foremast. The date “1799” occurs just under the curved sea with the “1” completely separated from the sea. Two large die cracks occur on both sides of the last “9” in the date. The legend “BRITANNIA” occurs within a thin, raised rim and toothed borders. The numerous rust spots throughout the fields and the weak spots in the drapery and sea attest to the fact that this a restrike made from heavily repolished and altered dies. The reverse is very appealing, with a slightly subdued reddish-brown color.
KEY REVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Edge: Plain

Notes: Wow, this is a really coin. It may even be one of my favorites and is certainly a coin I had wanted to add to my collection for some time. I wish I were able to share it right after I purchased it, but the holder looked seemed to have been used a hockey puck, which made photographing the coin very difficult. I have done my best to polish the holder to remove the numerous scratches, but I will eventually need to send this coin back to NGC for a fresh holder. At some point, I would love to add the other three varieties that utilize a similar obverse design. For now, I have posted the images with the scoffed up slab. Currently, there are 19 examples at NGC with six in higher grades and only two examples over at PCGS (i.e., 21 total graded examples at both major TPGs). Given the small number of certified examples compared with the number of appearances at auction, it seems logical to conclude that the majority of these are the same coins trading hands.
View Coin 1799 G. Britain Bronzed Proof Restrike Farthing P-1281 Skinner Collection GREAT BRITAIN 1707-1815 1/4P 1799 Soho P-1281 NGC PF 64 BN The business strike 1799 farthing come up for sale with some frequency; however, the proofs and proof restrikes come up for sale very infrequently. I am comfortable with attributing, purchasing, and grading raw proof examples of almost all other English Soho pieces from this period from internet pictures, but the farthings I have always found to be complicated. Luckily, this one was already certified, so it was pretty cut and dry. Had it not been certified, the plain edge paired with the “grainy” appearance of the primary devices that invariably accompanies bronzed pieces would have been a dead giveaway. There are only a handful of 1799 farthings with a plain edge, and only two of which are bronzed (P-1281 and 1285). The lack of a dot on the lowest fold of the drapery would have also been a useful diagnostic as all of the business strikes have the dot. You’ll probably note that the title says “Skinner Collection,” but I purchased the coin already graded. This coin was listed as its much more common “bronzed” non-restrike counterpart. This variety is substantially more scarce than what it was listed as. I am in the process of resubmitting to NGC for the proper variety attribution. Given that my knowledge is what lead me to this purchase, I see it only fair to add my pedigree to the holder. This coin is listed as Very Scarce.

Obverse:The bust of George III faces right. A wreath of 10 leaves rest on his head and is tied behind the neck by a riband with one loop and one loose ends. There is no dot on the lowest fold of the drapery. The drapery is caught by a brooch of 6 irregularly and unevenly shaped jewels (the top jewel is barely distinguishable) on the right shoulder. Peck notes that several strands of hair have been added on the back of the neck between the tie-knot and the drapery. These strands of hair look finely hatched lines protruding down from his hair in the knot. The legend occurs within a thin raised rim and toothed border that reads as follows: GEORGIUS III DEI GRATIA REX (even spacing). Peck notes that the legend has been touched up and several letters have been overcut and show doubling. This is very apparent on the “T” and both “A”s in GRATIA. I should also note that the rims of this coin are distinct in that they have been filed. These filing marks are apparent without magnification and give the coin an extra “pop” that adds to the intricate details already on display. The date “1799” occurs just below the bust.
KEY OBVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Reverse: Britannia is depicted facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with 8 leaves and no berries. The reverse die used was rather deteriorated and so only 6 leaves are discernable, all of which are detached. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand, of which the middle prong points just left of the first limb of the 2nd “N” in Britannia. An oval shield with a thin raised rim adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her about halfway down her leg. Again, the state of the die was rough, and a patch of the sea is plain devoid of detail which was likely due to over-polishing. Similar evidence can be found on the lowest fold of her drapery and around the blunt end of the trident. A single raised dot appears on the rock to the right of the shield. The legend occurs within the thin raised rim and toothed border and reads as follows: BRITANNIA. The denomination "1 Farthing" occurs just below the curved ground and is sandwhiched between a quatrefoil on each side. Like the obverse, the rims have been filed, and this noticeable without magnification.
KEY REVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Edge: Plain

Notes: The seller’s images of this coin were not flattering. The holder was very scratched and obscured the view of the reverse. Furthermore, the images were poorly lit and portrayed a very dark and unevenly toned coin. It sold for cheap enough that I could not resist, and I am so happy that I ended up winning the auction. I was immediately blown away by the neon purple and blue toning present throughout the fields on both sides of the coin. The details were immaculate, even for an PF-64 example, and the overall color was a nice even chocolate brown. I had expected to receive an ugly but accurately graded coin in the mail. I had no idea I would receive a beautifully toned near gem example instead. Oddly, this marks the first 1799 proof farthing that I have ever purchased. There currently 2 graded PF-63 at NGC (none higher) and none at PCGS. Once I get the attribution added to the label, this will become the finest graded example at both companies.
View Coin 1805 G. Britain Bronzed Restrike Pattern ½ Penny P-1309 GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS 1/2P 1805SOHO P-1309 COPPER RESTRIKE PCGS PF 64 Brown This coin is erroneously labeled as a Penny when it is, in fact, a halfpenny (30.5 mm and not 35.5 mm). The ‘Britanniarum” pieces are some of the more exciting restrikes made by Taylor. The obverse portrait used on these coins is different from their Irish counterparts, and the reverse dies are retouched from those used to strike some of the rarer coins struck at the Soho Mint. This was my first “English” coin bearing the portrait meant for the Irish coinage. Peck lists this as Very Scarce.

Obverse: The observe depicts George III facing right with the customary wreath tied behind the neck with a riband with one loop and two loose ends. A decent-sized flaw (i.e., raised lump of metal) occurs at the top of the uppermost part of the loop, and another similar-sized flaw occurs just below and to the left. The curls of the hair hang behind the neck as well as to the side and touch the left shoulder. A brooch of 8 square jewels catches the drapery. Kuchler’s initial (i.e., K) followed by three dots is on the lowest fold of the drapery. Rust spots occur on the neck and jaw as well as a noticeable rust spot between “G” and “IUS” in the legend. The legend occurs within a thin raised rim and a beaded border and reads as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX.
KEY OBVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Reverse: The reverse depicts Britannia seated left on a rock surrounding by waves. She wears close-fitting drapery, and her right arm is extended, holding an olive-branch of 10 leaves and four berries. Her lowered left-hand holds a trident. An oval shield with the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. The three-masted warship described as “stubby” appears in the sea before her. Most notably, this ship looks more squared and lacks some of the detail we would typically see on an original Soho piece. Immediately under the right side of the shield, the word SOHO appears and slightly overlaps the shield. The K usually present to denote Kuchler’s initial is missing. Peck speculates that the removable of the initial from the reverse was an attempt by Taylor to create a variety. The waves below are described as “showing signs of being crested with foam”. This refers to the slight detailing of the wave crests as opposed to crisp lines. Placed even further down, below the curved sea is the date “1805”. The 5 in the date has a noticeable defect that bisects the horizontal bar protrudes to the top of the curve. The legend which is contained within a thin raised outer rim and a beaded border is as follows: BRITANNIARUM (evenly spaced).
KEY REVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Edge: Plain

Notes: I love the combination of the Irish obverse portrait with the English reverse. This is mostly due to my partiality for the Irish coins struck at the Soho Mint. This was somewhat of an impulse buy. I had just lost an auction that I wanted, and this was on my watched list. With the “new found” funds, I was able to secure this example for my collection. It has been described as “an even brown representative with subdued luminosity to the surfaces and hardly a mark visible”. This description hits the head on the nail. The color is exactly what you would want, and the fields are free from any distracting marks. This coin is currently tied with one other example for the finest graded at PCGS, with only 1 graded higher at NGC. Previously part of the Lake County Collection.
View Coin 1806 G. Britain Bronzed Proof Penny P-1326 GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS PENNY 1806SOHO P-1326 BRONZED PCGS PF 63 Brown Wow, this is a spectacular coin! I had passed on two higher-graded examples of the same type to purchase this coin because I was that impressed with the eye-appeal. The color on this coin is crazy and is parallel only by the 1823 Ireland proof halfpenny I have in my collection. It is a wonder that this coin did not get the cameo designation. I am contemplating sending this one to NGC to see if I can get the coveted star designation. Peck lists this variety as very scarce. As of 10-31-19, there are four graded at NGC. One in 64 and two in 65. Oddly enough, PCGS has not graded any examples with the explicit attribution of P-1326.

Obverse:
George III is depicted facing right adorned by a wreath of 11 leaves, which is tied behind his neck by a riband of one loop and two ends. A brooch of 9 jewels on the right shoulder catches the drapery. The lowest fold of the drapery is “obliquely striated” (i.e., a series of lines titled to the left), which are superimposed by the letter K followed by a dot (i.e., K.). The legend is contained within a thin raised rim and toothed border and reads as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. (evenly spaced). The date ”1806” appears at the bottom of the coin under the bust. Peck notes that the “1” and “0” of the date are imperfect, such that the base of the “1” is missing, and the “0” is unclosed at the top. The color of the obverse is spectacular. The primary device is accented by neon blue toning, which contrasts nicely with the mirrored fields giving off the appearance of a strong cameo effect. The pictures do not do this coin justice.

Reverse: Britannia is depicted facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with 11 leaves and three berries. Several of the leaves are detached from the twig. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand, of which the middle prong bisects the first limb of the 2nd “N” in Britannia. An oval shield that adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. To the right of the shield is a banner with the Soho mint mark which reads “SOHO”. To the left of the shield is the letter K. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her. Peck notes that the ship does not have gunports, and three stays occur from the foremast to the bowsprit. The sea is not curved like that of the 1799 halfpennies but is instead straight, leaving a clear exergue. The legend which is contained within a thin outer rim and a toothed border is as follows: BRITANNIA (even spacing). Much like the obverse, the reverse of this coin does not disappoint. The same neon blue toning contrasts nicely against the watery milk chocolate brown fields to create a cameo effect. This coin is just absolutely amazing.
KEY REVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Edge: Obliquely grained

Notes: This has quickly become one of my favorite coins that I own. I can say without a doubt that I would have genuinely regretted not purchasing this coin and going for the higher grade examples. Not to mention, this coin complements the proof Irish halfpenny in my collection. I wish every proof I had in my collection had the same eye appeal and pop that this coin has. This piece has a forever home in my box of 20!
View Coin 1806 G. Britain Penny P-1342 Skinner Collection GREAT BRITAIN 1707-1815 PENNY 1806SOHO Skinner Collection NGC MS 63 BN Much like the 1799 currency strike halfpennies, the 1806 currency strike pennies are real bargains in the larger realm of milled English copper. These coins come up for auction frequently, and a quick search through eBay should yield several NGC or PCGS certified examples in mint state for sale. These are relatively large (35.5 mm) and heavy coins (approx. 18.87 grams) that are rather impressive in hand. I find it interesting to compare one of these monsters next to a U.S. large cents from around the same era. This would also make the top of the list for new acquisitions for those just starting. This coin is listed as very common.

Obverse:
George III is depicted facing right adorned by a wreath of 11 leaves, which is tied behind his neck by a riband of one loop and two ends. A brooch of 9 jewels on the right shoulder catches the drapery. The lowest fold of the drapery is “obliquely striated” (i.e., a series of lines titled to the left), which are superimposed by the letter B followed by a dot (i.e., K.). The jewels on this particular example are weakly struck, and they form what otherwise looks like an unbroken curved line of small bumps. This is typical of the currency strikes as the mass production of these pieces is thought to have antagonized such defects. The legend is contained within a thin raised rim and toothed border and reads as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. (evenly spaced). The date ”1806” appears at the bottom of the coin under the bust. The obverse of this coin is nothing shy of spectacular. The hints of red luster in the protected areas of the drapery and letters paired with the neon bluish-green toning of the fields make for exceptional eye candy. The bust is boldly struck, and almost appears to pop out toward the viewer. Except for a few barely noticeable contact marks, the fields are clean.

Reverse: Britannia is depicted facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with 11 leaves and three berries. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her grasp of which the middle prong points just right of the first limb of the 2nd “N” in Britannia. An oval shield that adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. To the right of the shield is a banner with the Soho mint mark which reads “SOHO”. To the left of the shield is the letter K. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her. The sea is not curved like that of the 1799 halfpennies but is instead straight, leaving a clear exergue. The legend which is contained within a thin outer rim and a toothed border reads as follows: BRITANNIA (even spacing). Much like the obverse, the reverse of this coin does not disappoint. The exergue and protected areas around the shield retain the red luster. The even vibrant cholate brown color of the primary device contrasts nicely with the neon blue and green tone of the fields. Britannia appears in high relief with an exquisite amount of detail.

Edge: Engrailed

Notes: I try very hard to purchase eye-appealing coins, and I can say with confidence that is one of the most eye appealing coins in my collection. The rich chocolate brown paired with the protected red luster and neon blueish green tones makes this coin pop. The primary devices on both the obverse and reverse are in high relief and retain an extraordinary amount of detail. It would be effortless for me to “upgrade” this coin for a higher numerical grade, but I feel as though it may be next to impossible to find another example with better eye appeal. Despite the relatively low grade and value of this coin, it proudly resides in my box of 20. There are currently 19 graded in MS-63, with 83 graded higher and a total of 153 at NGC alone.
View Coin 1806 G. Britain Bronzed Pattern ½ Penny P-1370 GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS 1/2P 1806SOHO P-1370 BRONZED PCGS PF 65 Brown I am somewhat amused by how I acquired this coin. It seems to have slipped through the cracks of an auction. It has all of the hallmarks that typically lead to bidding wars. Although I am not a plastic collector, the coin is housed an old green label holder that was used from January 1990 to February 1993. The holder itself is likely older than I am and yet mostly looks brand new. The part that matters is that this piece is a real gem. The fields are evenly toned, and the details are sharp. The only blemish occurs on the obverse between “R” and “G” in GEORGIUS. Despite this, I was the sole bidder. Peck does list this variety as a late Soho piece and denotes it as common, suggesting that a good number were struck. Although Peck’s rarity scale is a good starting place, one must remember the collections he had at his disposal.

For instance, although this coin is listed as common, I can only find three auction records for this variety (my 2019 purchase, 2017, and 2005). The other issue is that both NGC and PCGS will only attribute the variety is the fee is paid, which leads to the complicated description of “Bronzed”. This is entirely too vague because there are no less than eight different bronzed varieties for this year and denomination alone. To illustrate this point, NGC only has 1 example attributed as P-1370 but has 11 “Bronzed” 1806 halfpennies in their census. Similarly, PCGS has none attributed as P-1370 and also has 11 classified as “Bronzed”. The lack of clarification only serves to further muddy the waters. Peck lists this coin as common, and given the lack of clarity on behalf of most sources, I suppose I have to agree, although auction records seemingly do not support that conclusion.

Obverse:
George III is depicted on the obverse. He is facing right adorned with a wreath of 10 leaves, which is tied behind his neck by a riband of two loops and two ends that point down and run along the back of his neck. A brooch of 8 perfectly formed jewels on the right shoulder catches the drapery. The eighth or topmost jewel is noticeably smaller than the others. The lowest fold of the drapery is “obliquely striated” (i.e., a series of lines titled to the left), which is superimposed by the letter K followed by a dot, both of which are raised. The legend which is contained within a thin raised rim and toothed border and is as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. with the date appearing at the bottom below the bust.

Reverse:
Britannia is depicted facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with ten leaves and three berries.
The uppermost leaf and two berries are detached from the twig. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand, of which the middle prong points just right of the first limb of the 2nd “N” in Britannia. An oval shield that adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. To the right of the shield is a banner with the Soho mint mark which reads “SOHO”. Please note that a line is present under the mintmark. To the left of the shield is the letter K. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her. Peck notes that the ship has incuse gunports and a very long pennant at the mainmast. The sea is not curved like that of the 1799 halfpennies but is instead straight, leaving a clear exergue. The legend which is contained within a thin outer rim and a toothed border and is as follows: BRITANNIA (even spacing). There is a double-cut border between the “B” and “R”.

Edge: Grained

Notes: This is just a spectacular piece, and I am thrilled to have it in my collection. The even mahogany brown color paired with the crisp details and reflective fields makes for an impressive piece. This example is a testament to the high-quality pieces that Soho Mint was equipped to produce. As noted earlier, speculating on the actual census of this variety is complicated, but I guess that this variety is not as common as Peck might suggest.
View Coin 1806 G. Britain Proof ½ Penny P-1371 Skinner Collection with Original Soho Shells GREAT BRITAIN 1707-1815 1/2P 1806SOHO Peck-1371 NGC PF 63 BN Although this is not the rarest variety of the series, the fact that it has remained paired with its original silver-lined bronzed shell casing makes it somewhat unique. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Matthew Boulton was a man of many talents. In addition to striking some of the highest quality pieces the world had ever seen at the time, he also produced numerous trinkets and novelties that were highly sought after by the upper class. It should be no surprise that he was able to put his substantial talent to use to preserve further the coins he produced. Matthew Boulton took great pride in the proof coins he created, and on special occasions, he would make tightly fitted pressed silver-lined brass cases (often called shells) to house them in. These particular example has remained paired with their original shells for at least the last 200 years. It is exceedingly difficult to find specimens still paired with the original shells. Part of this is because, without the context of the coin, the shells are nondescript and have little meaning. However, when paired with the coin, the shells attest to the detail and attention paid on behalf of Boulton. The majority of the Soho pieces that have been sold paired with their original shells came from the sales of either the Boulton or Watt family holdings. Although it would be enticing to say these coins came from either of those collections, I can make no claim in one direction or the other. These pieces were described at auction as part of the Walker Collection. The following is the excerpt from the auction catalog:

“The following coins are part of the estate of the late Miss Pamela Joan Walker, daughter of Robert Cecil James Walker. Her father’s collection was accumulated in the 1920s and ’30s, his enthusiasm for coins, perhaps being inspired by his duties with the Midland Bank Ltd. in the City of London. Details of many of the coins are noted in his meticulous manuscript on individual mini-envelopes, reflecting his researches as a member of a north London numismatic society. After his death in 1938, the collection was retained intact by his daughter.”

His collection was assembled sometime before the bulk of the Boulton and Watt collections came up for sale, and as such, it is unclear where Mr. Walker obtained this piece from. To any extent, I am very proud to have this coin in my collection. Peck lists this variety as scarce. As of 11/18/2019, this is there are two other (both graded higher) at NGC and no specific examples recorded at PCGS.

Obverse:
George III is depicted on the obverse, and unlike some of its counterparts, his lips are distinctly separated. He is facing right adorned with a wreath of 10 leaves, which is tied behind his neck by a riband of two loops and two loose ends that point down and run along the back of his neck. A brooch of 8 jewels (the 8th is noticeably smaller than the rest) on the right shoulder catches the drapery. The lowest fold of the drapery is “obliquely striated” (i.e. a series of lines titled to the left), which is superimposed by “K .” (note the period is spaced from the “K”). The legend which is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border and is as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. with the date appearing at the bottom below the bust. Excluding the obverse spot, the obverse fo this coin is beautiful.

Reverse:
Britannia is depicted facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with ten leaves and three berries. Several leaves are detached from the twig. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand, of which the middle prong points just right of the second limb of the 2nd “N” in Britannia. An oval shield that adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. To the right of the shield is a banner with the Soho mint mark which reads “SOHO”. Please note that a line is present under the mintmark. To the left of the shield is the letter K. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her. Peck notes that the ship has very long pennants at the mastheads and incuse gunports. The sea is not curved like that of the 1799 halfpennies but is instead straight, leaving a clear exergue. The legend BRITANNIA is contained within a thin outer rim and a beaded border (even spacing). There is a double-cut border between the “B” and “R”.

Edge: Grained

Notes: With the exception of the slightly distracting spot behind George III’s head, this coin is very pleasing in hand. As expected for Soho proof strikes, this coin is boldly struck, emphasizing some of the most minute details. The quality of the strike is impressive, but when paired with the deeply-mirrored watery chestnut brown surfaces and hints of purple and neon blue toning, the coin pops out at the viewer. Taken these physical characteristics alongside the silver-lined Soho Mint shells makes for quite an impression when viewing the coin in hand. I wrote this part while the coin was at NGC for grading, and now that I have the coin in hand, I am once again bewildered by the magnificent toned and deeply mirrored fields. This coin nothing short of spectacular.

Acknowledgments: I have used NGC for almost all of my grading needs over the better portion of a decade, and not once have I been disappointed. I came to NGC as a humble collector with a simple goal of preserving what I thought was an exciting piece of history. I wanted the shells to be preserved alongside the coin so that there was no risk of the shells being lost. This request was complicated and created a series of unique and challenging obstacles, mainly the use of a multi-coin holder that was not designed to accommodate my request. To my surprise, although in hindsight, I should not have been given the level of service I have experienced, NGC was accommodating and worked diligently to fulfill my request. Now, thanks to the dedication and hard work of NGC, the unique history told by the silver-lined Soho Mint shells will be preserved alongside this coin for future generations to enjoy. I could not be happier with how this turned out. I want to personally thank Mr. Scott Heller and the entire NGC staff, who helped make this wishful idea a reality.
View Coin 1806 G. Britain 1/2 Penny Copper Proof P-1371 Skinner Collection GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS 1/2P 1806SOHO P-1371 NGC PF 66 BN I picked this coin up raw from a dealer who was motivated to move what he considered “nuisance” world coins. The dealer is a nice enough guy, and he has a phenomenal selection of early U.S. type coinage but rarely has any world coins to speak of. I happened upon this example for a price that I thought was reasonable and later submitted to NGC for grading. Peck lists this as a scarce late Soho strike, which pairs nicely with its bronzed sister (P-1370) and fellow copper sister (P-1371) already in this collection. Usually, this would be considered an upgrade as my other P-1371 is graded a PF-63, but the other example has retained its original shells. This example, however, is the finest graded example at either NGC or PCGS, so to some extent, both of these examples in my collection are unique in their own ways. To any extent, this is a real gem, and I am proud to have yet another spectacular example in my collection. The detailed information about the obverse and reverse design is simply copied from the preceding example.

Obverse: George III is depicted on the obverse, and unlike some of its counterparts, his lips are distinctly separated. He is facing right adorned with a wreath of 10 leaves, which is tied behind his neck by a riband of two loops and two loose ends that point down and run along the back of his neck. A brooch of 8 jewels (the 8th is noticeably smaller than the rest) on the right shoulder catches the drapery. The lowest fold of the drapery is “obliquely striated” (i.e. a series of lines titled to the left), which is superimposed by “K .” (note the period is spaced from the “K”). The legend which is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border and is as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. with the date appearing at the bottom below the bust.

Reverse: Britannia is depicted facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with ten leaves and three berries. Several leaves are detached from the twig. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand, of which the middle prong points just right of the second limb of the 2nd “N” in Britannia. An oval shield that adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. To the right of the shield is a banner with the Soho mint mark which reads “SOHO”. Please note that a line is present under the mintmark. To the left of the shield is the letter K. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her. Peck notes that the ship has very long pennants at the mastheads and incuse gunports. The sea is not curved like that of the 1799 halfpennies but is instead straight, leaving a clear exergue. The legend BRITANNIA is contained within a thin outer rim and a beaded border (even spacing). There is a double-cut border between the “B” and “R”.

Edge: Grained

Notes: This is a beautiful example with deeply mirrored fields that are a nice, even brown color. The reverse device is very strong and somewhat frosted, giving off a slight cameo appearance. I am a bit surprised this coin did not receive the star designation for the frosted reverse devices. The obverse has the same qualities, but the frosting is a bit stronger. Overall this is an exceptional piece that I am proud to have in my collection.
View Coin 1806 G. Britain Bronzed Restrike Proof ½ Penny P-1379 Double Struck with Obverse Rotation Great Britain 1707-1815 Copper STRIKE 1806 GB 1/2P P-1379 RE D/S W/OBVERSE ROTATION P-1379 NGC MINT ERROR PF 62 BN Let me reiterate the fact that I do not usually collect error coins, but when it comes along that fits both the budget and the set correctly, I see no reason not add it. This is just one of those cases were the coin that happened to fit both came up for sale, and I could not resist. This coin is trippy in hand. Although the reverse looks precisely like what you would expect, the obverse has strong doubling throughout the entire obverse legend. As noted, this is classified as a restrike, which means it was struck by Taylor, who was notorious for creating “variates” that he could sell. Although Peck makes no mention of this particular variety being commonly seen doubled, I cannot help but wonder if this was indeed an error or something that Taylor did intentionally. The evidence seems to suggest that this was indeed an error, as I have not been able to locate another example like it. Peck lists this coin as Very Scarce.

Obverse: A new portrait of George III is depicted on the obverse. He is facing right adorned with a wreath of 11 leaves, which is tied behind his neck by a riband of one loop and two ends that point down.
A brooch of 8 jewels on the right shoulder catches the drapery. The lowest fold of the drapery is “obliquely striated” (i.e., a series of lines titled to the left), which are superimposed by the letter K but no dot. The jewels on this particular example are hard to discern, but Peck notes that 3rd and 6th jewels are weak and irregular.
Given that this is a much later strike from what was almost certainly a poorly kept die, I do not find the appearance of the jewels surprising on this example. The legend which is contained within a thin raised rim and toothed border and is as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. with the date appearing at the bottom below the bust. Of course, all of this is severely doubled as well as most of the toothed border. Other than a few carbon spots, this bronzed piece is exceptional and is a much-appreciated part of my collection.

Reverse: Britannia is depicted facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with ten leaves and three berries. The last leaf is removed from its stalk. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand, of which the middle prong points just right of the first limb of the 2nd “N” in Britannia. An oval shield that adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. To the right of the shield is a banner with the Soho mint mark which reads “SOHO”. Please note that a line is present under the mintmark. To the left of the shield is the letter K. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her. The sea is not curved like that of the 1799 halfpennies but is instead straight, leaving a clear exergue. The legend which is contained within a thin outer rim and a toothed border and is as follows: BRITANNIA (even spacing). There is a double-cut border between the “B” and “R”. The reverse is impressive, the fields are clean and reflective, the device is slightly frosted, and the color is chocolate brown.
KEY REVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Edge: Plain

Notes: This is one of the odder pieces in this collection because of the doubling on the obverse. Looking at this coin in hand gives you the illusion of having double vision. This coin was described as “Chocolate brown with attractive highly glossy fields”. I could not agree more with this description. The pictures honestly do not do this coin justice. One needs to hold this coin in hand to get the full effect. This is also one of the coins that have made it my box of 20 only because of how odd it is. This was also the first coin I ever purchased from a large auction house. Given that this is listed as a mint error, I have no way of checking the NGC census to determine how many examples exist like this; however, only one other example is graded by NGC (PF-65), and none at PCGS. I plan to eventually send this coin back to NGC to be regraded as I believe it is under graded.
View Coin 1807 G. Britain Proof Restrike ½ Penny P-1383 Skinner Collection GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS 1/2P 1807SOHO P-1383 BRONZED RESTRIKE NGC PF 63 BN Put simply, this is a spectacular coin. Both the obverse and reverse are beautifully toned with cobalt blue and neon green accents that contrast nicely against the watery mahogany brown surfaces. I tried to capture this in my images but failed at every attempt. I am considering paying to have this coin professionally imaged because it is a shame that others are not able to see its eye-popping appeal because of my lackluster photography skills. Peck lists this coin as very scarce, which seems to be a slight underestimate of its scarcity given the general lack of auction records for this piece. As of 10-26-19, there is only one other graded example at NGC (a PF-64) and none at PCGS.

Obverse:
George III is depicted on the obverse. He is facing right adorned with a wreath of 10 leaves, which is tied behind his neck by a riband of two loops and two loose ends that point down and run along the back of his neck. The loops are striated. A brooch of 8 jewels on the right shoulder catches the drapery. The third and sixth jewels are broken off. The lowest fold of the drapery is “obliquely striated” (i.e., a series of lines titled to the left) which is superimposed by the letter K. The legend which is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border and is as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. with the date appearing at the bottom below the bust. This coin has some major color! My pictures make it look super dark, but in hand, the entire coin is accented with neon blue and fluorescent green tones.
Reverse: Britannia is depicted facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with ten leaves and three berries. The lowest leaf is detached from the twig. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand, of which the middle prong points just right of the first limb of the 2nd “N” in Britannia. An oval shield that adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. To the right of the shield is a banner with the Soho mint mark which reads “SOHO”. Please note that a line is present under the mintmark. To the left of the shield is the letter K. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her. Peck notes that the ship has very small pennants at the mastheads. The sea is not curved like that of the 1799 halfpennies but is instead straight, leaving a clear exergue. The legend which is contained within a thin outer rim and a beaded border and is as follows: BRITANNIA (even spacing). There is a double-cut border between the “B” and “R”. Except for a slightly unattractive issue with the planchet, this coin is otherwise fantastic. The color from the obverse is fully present.
KEY REVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Edge: Plain

Notes: This was an unlikely purchase that I made while my wife and I were vacationing in London last summer. As part of my birthday, my wife gave me a day to drag her from coin shop to coin shop while searching for that perfect coin to mark both our trip and my birthday. I had been to four shops already, and none of them had “the coin” I was looking for. I didn’t want to settle for just anything, and I wanted something that built upon my collection as opposed to something that complimented it. My last stop of the day was A.H Baldwin’s. I walked into their shop and was immediately disappointed by their selection until a clerk came over to help me. He told me the “good stuff” is upstairs. Let me buzz you in and call a specialist to assist you. I ended up meeting a gentleman who shared my passion for early milled English and Irish copper, and we spoke in detail for well over an hour. We pulled numerous trays of coins for me to inspect, and this one caught my attention early. He had some spectacular pieces, but this coin was just coming to mind. After exhausting his inventory, I finally decided to purchase this coin, and I am so thankful that I did. Not only does it build upon my collection, but it marks a special moment in an already exceptional trip that I was fortunate enough to share with my wife. This coin will forever remain in my box of 20.
View Coin 1806 G. Britain Farthing Bronzed Proof P-1390 Ex Boulton Family Collection Great Britain 1707-1815 1/4P 1806 G.BRITAIN P-1390 BRONZED EX. BOULTON FAMILY NGC PF 65 BN Understandably, Matthew Boulton was very proud of his Soho Mint and the coins that he struck. This lead him to create his collection of specimens that were often housed in tight-fitting silver-brass lined shells. These specimens were no doubt some of the most spectacular examples of the pieces he struck. The current coin is an example of a very scrace variety of an 1806 farthing from his personal collection. These coins were passed down through the generations after the Soho Mint’s founder passed away in 1809. His predecessors continued to add to Boulton’s collection, as made evident by the numerous Taylor restrikes attributed to the family holdings. This particular example is missing the silver-lined brass shells that were almost certainly separated from after leaving the original Boulton collection. A unique piece of Soho history was lost with those shells, and this is partially why I have worked so diligently to preserve the few pieces in my collection that still retain their shells. Peck classifies this as a very scarce late Soho.

Obverse: Peck (1964) classifies this obverse design as portrait one, which is noted by the use of incuse lines to render the hair detail in his whiskers just above the ear. Additionally, the two lowest leaves in the wreath are overlapped by stray hairs. In general, the design is much like that of the Penny and Halfpenny of the same year. King George III is depicted facing right with a wreath of 10 leaves, which is tied behind his neck by a riband of two loops and two ends that point down and run along the back of his neck. The lowest loop of the riband is detached and does not form a perfect loop and appears more like a deformed fish hook. A brooch of 7 perfectly formed jewels on the right shoulder catches the drapery. The lowest fold of the drapery is plain, which encloses an incuse letter “K.”. The legend is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border and is as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. with the date “1806” appearing at the bottom below the bust. This is an extremely flashy example of this very scarce variety. The watery brown fields paired with the slightly frosted main device makes for an attractive specimen.
KEY OBVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Reverse: The reverse design depicts Britannia seated facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Peck (1964) specifically mentions that her hair is un-waved on top. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with seven leaves and no berries. Most of the leaves are detached from the twig (i.e., 5 of the 7). Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand, of which the middle prong points to the right side of the middle of the 2nd “N” in Britannia. An oval shield that adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. To the right of the shield is a banner with the Soho mint mark which reads “SOHO”. Please note that a line is present under the mintmark. To the left of the shield is the letter K. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her. The sea is not curved like that of the 1799 halfpennies but is instead straight, leaving a clear exergue. The legend BRITANNIA is contained within a thin outer rim and a beaded border (even spacing).
KEY REVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Edge: Grained

Notes: This coin just happened to come up for sale when I had a little extra cash that was otherwise unaccounted for. I paid a slight premium for the pedigree, but I find it so cool that I own a coin that originally belonged to the family that struck the very coins that I am so captivated by. This marks only the fourth coin in my collection that I can attribute to either Boulton or Watt family collections, and as such, it is a coveted treasure. Overall the coin is nicely preserved and displays a beautiful even brown color that one would want to find on a proof copper coin of its age. The holder on this coin is very scratched, and the picture reflects this. At some point, I may send it in to be re-holdered. For now, I will enjoy it as is.
View Coin 1806 G. Britain Proof Farthing P-1391 Skinner Collection with Original Soho Shells GREAT BRITAIN 1707-1815 1/4P 1806 Soho Peck-1391 NGC PF 64 BN This description is a near replication of that from the ½ Penny paired with the original shells. Although this is not the rarest variety of the series, the fact that it has remained paired with its original silver-lined bronzed shell casing makes it somewhat unique. For those of you who are unfamiliar, Matthew Boulton was a man of many talents. In addition to striking some of the highest quality pieces the world had ever seen at the time, he also produced numerous trinkets and novelties that were highly sought after by the upper class. It should be no surprise that he was able to put his substantial talent to use to preserve further the coins he produced. Matthew Boulton took great pride in the proof coins he created, and on special occasions, he would make tightly fitted pressed silver-lined brass cases (often called shells) to house them in. These particular example has remained paired with their original shells for at least the last 200 years. It is exceedingly difficult to find specimens still paired with the original shells. Part of this is because, without the context of the coin, the shells are nondescript and have little meaning. However, when paired with the coin, the shells attest to the detail and attention paid on behalf of Boulton. The majority of the Soho pieces that have been sold paired with their original shells came from the sales of either the Boulton or Watt family holdings. Although it would be enticing to say these coins came from either of those collections, I cannot claim one direction or the other. These pieces were described at auction as part of the Walker Collection. The following is the excerpt from the auction catalog:

“The following coins are part of the estate of the late Miss Pamela Joan Walker, daughter of Robert Cecil James Walker. Her father’s collection was accumulated in the 1920s and ’30s, his enthusiasm for coins, perhaps being inspired by his duties with the Midland Bank Ltd. in the City of London. Details of many of the coins are noted in his meticulous manuscript on individual mini-envelopes, reflecting his researches as a member of a north London numismatic society. After his death in 1938, the collection was retained intact by his daughter.”

His collection was assembled sometime before the bulk of the Boulton and Watt collections came up for sale, and as such, it is unclear where Mr. Walker obtained this piece from. To any extent, I am very proud to have this coin in my collection. Peck lists this variety as rare. As of 11/18/2019, this is the only graded example at NGC, and there are none graded by PCGS.

Obverse: George III is depicted on the obverse. Peck notes this obverse portraying portrait one, which is distinct from two in that the whiskers above the ear are detailed with incuse lines. Furthermore, the two lowest leaves are overlapped by a strand of hair. He is facing right adorned with a wreath of 10 leaves, which is tied behind his neck by a riband of two loops and two ends that point down and run along the back of his neck. The lowest loop of the rie-band is detached and does not form a perfect loop. The loose end closest to his neck disappears into the fold of his drapery. A brooch of 7 perfectly formed jewels on the right shoulder catches the drapery. The lowest fold of the drapery is plain, which encloses an incuse letter “K”. The legend is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border and is as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. with the date appearing at the bottom below the bust.
KEY OBVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY


Reverse: Britannia is depicted facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with seven leaves and no berries. Most of the leaves are detached from the twig (i.e., 5 of the 7). Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand, of which the middle prong points to the right side of the middle of the 2nd “N” in Britannia. An oval shield that adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. To the right of the shield is a banner with the Soho mint mark which reads “SOHO”. Please note that a line is present under the mintmark. To the left of the shield is the letter K. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her. The sea is not curved like that of the 1799 halfpennies but is instead straight, leaving a clear exergue. The legend BRITANNIA is contained within a thin outer rim and a beaded border (even spacing).

Edge: Grained

Notes: Although the pictures do not do this coin justice, it is an absolute stunner in hand. It is very well struck, and as such, the details are incredibly sharp and crisp. Beyond the strike characteristics, the main devices pop off of the chocolate brown surfaces that would make any true copper collector a little weak at the knees. Although not evident in the pictures, the devices of the obverse and reverse are accented with blueish purple undertones. In hand, this coin is truly eye candy. The coin by itself is impressive, but when presented alongside the original Soho shells, it leaves little to nothing to be desired for. Just imagine the stories this little coin could tell if it could talk! This coin has found a forever home, and I only hope that someday I can pass it along to my kids if my wife and I are ever fortunate enough to them.

Acknowledgments: I have used NGC for almost all of my grading needs over the better portion of a decade, and not once have I been disappointed. I came to NGC as a humble collector with a simple goal of preserving what I thought was an exciting piece of history. I wanted the shells to be preserved alongside the coin so that there was no risk of the shells being lost. This request was complicated and created a series of unique and challenging obstacles, mainly the use of a multi-coin holder that was not designed to accommodate my request. To my surprise, although in hindsight, I should not have been given the level of service I have experienced, NGC was accommodating and worked diligently to fulfill my request. Now, thanks to the dedication and hard work of NGC, the unique history told by the silver-lined Soho Mint shells will be preserved alongside this coin for future generations to enjoy. I could not be happier with how this turned out. I want to personally thank Mr. Scott Heller and the entire NGC staff, who helped make this wishful idea a reality.
View Coin 1807 G. Britain Proof Restrike Farthing P-1403 Skinner Collection GREAT BRITAIN - PATTERNS 1/4P 1807 P-1403 NGC PF 63 BN From what I can gather, the 1807 restrikes are more challenging to acquire than Peck’s rarity judgment may suggest. Peck lists this coin as scarce; however, examining auction records of the last ten years from the major auction houses, I have only been able to locate three that have been offered. Except for a few minor differences, the restrikes closely resemble their currency strike predecessors and do not entirely possess the proof qualities one would expect. Peck even notes these as ‘proof’ restrikes for this very reason. As of 10/26/19, this is the only example graded at NGC, and none are recorded at PCGS.

Obverse: George III is depicted on the obverse. He is facing right adorned with a wreath of 10 leaves, which is tied behind his neck by a riband of two loops and two ends that point down and run along the back of his neck. The loose end closest to his neck disappears into the fold of his drapery. A brooch of 7 perfectly formed jewels on the right shoulder catches the drapery. The lowest fold of the drapery is “obliquely striated” (i.e., a series of lines titled to the left), which is superimposed by the letter K which is raised. The legend is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border and is as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. with the date appearing at the bottom below the bust. Numerous rust spots are visible throughout the obverse. The most obvious of which occur behind his head, in front of his forehead, and just below his chin. There is no question that the die used to strike this coin was seriously mishandled before being repolished and used by Taylor.
KEY OBVERSE DIAGNOSTICS FOR THIS VARIETY

Reverse:
Britannia is depicted facing left wearing a close-fitting drapery sitting on a rock surrounded by waves. Peck notes that her hair is distinctly divided into two parts. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive-branch with nine leaves and no berries. Most of the leaves are detached from the twig. Her left arm is down with a trident clasped in her hand, of which the middle prong points to the right side of the middle of the 2nd “N” in Britannia. An oval shield that adorns the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew (heraldically colored) is to her left side. To the right of the shield is a banner with the Soho mint mark which reads “SOHO”. Please note that a line is present under the mintmark. To the left of the shield is the letter K. A 3 masted warship appears in the sea in front of her. The sea is not curved like that of the 1799 halfpennies but is instead straight, leaving a clear exergue. The legend which is contained within a thin outer rim and a beaded border and is as follows: BRITANNIA (even spacing). Peck also notes that a significant flaw occurs on the rim from 5 to 10 o’clock.

Edge: Plain

Notes: Looking at the pictures may you may not believe this coin is indeed a proof, especially compared to some of the other examples in this collection; however, examining it in hand tells a much different story. The sharply struck details paired with squared rims and reflective fields leaves no room for doubt. I managed to pick this example up for an excellent deal (i.e., roughly 1/3 of the typical selling price), and it straight graded at PF-63 BN with no issues at NGC. Given the relative scarcity of these 1807 restrikes, I would not hesitate to add another addition to my collection should one be offered to me. Not to mention, it is kind of cool to have the only certified example.
View Coin 1805 Ireland Penny S-6620 Skinner Collection IRELAND 1603-1823 PENNY 1805 NGC MS 63 BN Although not an English coin, it appears as though Boulton took a great deal of pride in fulfilling the contract for Irish pennies, halfpennies, and farthings. As you may recall, this was the contract that delayed the start of his 3rd and the final striking of English regal copper. This is an example of a Pence coin produced at the Soho mint. I have a personal weakness for Irish copper in general, but it is my humble opinion that coinage struck at the Soho mint is bar far the most beautiful. I have yet to discover an excellent reference book for varieties that even comes close to the caliber of Peck, and as such, I only provide basic details in my descriptions followed by some observations that I have made.

Obverse: George III faces right, his head adorned with a wreath of 10 leaves and three berries tied behind his neck with a riband of 1 bow and two loose ends. The top loose end appears to intersect the loop while the bottom loose end floats freely down, and the tip barely touches the upper leftmost curl. The curls of his hair rest behind the neck and on both shoulders. A brooch of 6 square jewels catches the drapery on the right shoulder. The lowest fold of the drapery is plain with a K in roughly the center. The legend which is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border and is as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. all evenly spaced. This particular example has a few scattered contact marks across the device and fields, but it premium quality for the grade. A small and very faint die crack appears starting at the horizontal bar of the “G” in GEORGIUS and extends to the back of the “E”. Otherwise, this coin is relatively free of flaws and appears to be a well-struck example.

Reverse: The reverse portrays a crowned harp with 9 strings. The left side of the harp consists of a half-clad woman; her lower half is adorned with what I describe at a mermaid-like fin. Her top half is exposed with her arms depicted as wings that make up the top part of the harp where the crown rests. The bottom band of the crown is decorated with a pattern of precious stones that appears as the following: (· ˑ : · : ·◊· : · : ˑ ·). It should be noted that the center stone should be rotated 180 degrees but I am not tech-savvy enough to do that. The top of the crown consists of two bridges one on the left and on the right which convenes at the top center of the cross located on the top middle of the band just described. Both bridges are decorated with 10 beads resting upon a curved bar; however, the curved bar of the right bridge is incomplete and ceases to exist after the 6th bead. No part of the crown is striated. A flaw occurs toward the top of the leftmost harp string and extends to the 3rd but does not impede the design. Note the design of the right arm of the harp, this design becomes less elegant as the denomination decreases. The legend reads as follows: HIBERNIA. with the date 1805 appearing below the main device and is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded borders. All letters and numbers of the legend are without flaws.

Edge: Engrailed

Notes: As I said before, I have a weakness for Irish copper and very few pieces sum it up as well as a large copper penny! Except for a few carbon spots on the reverse, this coin has a light brown cholate color and relatively few contact marks. The luster is somewhat subdued but gives the coin a very unique appearance that I am not able to describe. The bold strike allows for the observation of tiny details such as the hairlines on George’s head or the intricate details of the mermaid-like fin on the half-clad lady. Overall this coin has great eye appeal and exudes the type of character that I have so diligently strived to include in this collection. Beginner collectors should note that these pieces are often dubbed as easy to find and that may be true for average circulated pieces, but finding a true uncirculated example for a reasonable price is a beast of different nature. This is generally true of most Irish copper (except for the Wood’s Hibernia coinage which is a conversation based saved for later) and one will be hard-pressed to find a decent example in any meaningful amount even in the largest auction houses catalogs. Also a note of warning about price guides. Although they can provide a baseline measure of value they are essentially useless. The data is typically old and prices are often deflated due to the limited auction appearances. I would suggest that you do your own research on current selling prices and be cognizant of the fact that what sold for $300 in 2012-15 may very well be a $600-800 coin now. There are currently 2 graded MS-63 with 4 in higher grades at NGC.
View Coin 1805 Ireland 1/2 Penny Copper Engrailed Edge Proof Skinner Collection IRELAND 1603-1823 1/2P 1805 COPPER ENGRAILED EDGE NGC PF 64 BN CAMEO This is one of my first purchases from a London based auction house that has quickly become one of my favorite places to shop. I visited this shop in person when I was there this past summer (2019). The lady I spoke to was extremely friendly, and we had a great conversation about circulated patterns. I knew going into their office the type of inventory they had and that at best, I would only be able to afford the “lower-end” of their inventory. I was open to the dealer about my budget, and she was very enthusiastic and took the time to show me coins that were five and sometimes even six times my total budget. It was one of the most enjoyable coin browsing experiences I had. Although I walked out empty-handed, I took note of their excellent service and made a point to purchase something from their upcoming auction. In true European style, this coin was purchased raw. I saved up a few other submissions and got this one over to NGC. Needless to say, I am very pleased with the grade! These pieces, in particular, are exceedingly rare with a cameo designation.

Obverse: George III faces right, his head adorned with a wreath of 8 leaves and three berries tied behind his neck with a riband of 1 bow and one loose end that flows out to the left and points down. The curls of his hair rest behind the neck and on both shoulders. An odd hooked shaped curl facing upward appears on the far end of the hair curl just above the ear. A brooch of 6 beaded jewels catches the drapery on the right shoulder. The drapery is a bit more detailed than that on some of the English Halfpennies of the same date. This is most noticeable on the shoulder just above the lowest fold. In particular there are a series lines that protrude from the upper fold of the drapery. The lowest fold of the drapery is plain with a K in roughly the center; however, unlike the business strikes there is no dot following the “K”. The legend which is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border and reads as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. all evenly spaced. This example is a very well struck and beautifully preserved specimen. The pictures do not portray this, but the darker areas are actually neon blue. I have yet to figure out how to use axial lighting to fully capture toning.

Reverse: The reverse portrays a crowned harp with nine strings. The left side of the harp consists of a half-clad woman; her lower half is adorned with what I describe at a mermaid-like fin. Her top half is exposed with her arms depicted as wings that make up the top part of the harp where the crown rests. The bottom band of the crown is decorated with a pattern of precious stones that appears as the following: (· · · ● · : · ● · : · ● · · ·). This too is a notable difference from the business strikes, as the series of jewels closest to the outer band of the crown only contain three gems in a triangular shape as opposed to four gems in a diamond shape. The top of the crown consists of two bridges, one on the left and on the right, which convenes the top center of the cross located on the top middle of the band just described. Both bridges are decorated with eight beads resting upon a curved bar; however, the curved bar of both seems to at the last bead and does not make contact with the cross. The inner ring of the crown is plain. Note the design of the right arm of the harp; this becomes less elegant as the denomination decreases. The legend reads as follows: HIBERNIA. with the date 1805 appearing below the primary device and is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded borders. The date has no noticeable flaws.

Edge: Engrailed

Notes: This marks the first 18th-century copper piece that I have submitted to receive the cameo designation. As noted, it is exceedingly rare to find an example with cameo contrast. As if the cameo designation was not enough, this coin is also beautifully toned on both sides. As I am sure you have already figured out, I have an affinity for blue-toned copper. This coin happens to have neon blue and green toning along the edges, which further contrasts against the frosted main devices. Overall this is a breathtaking example of a scarce coin.
View Coin 1805 Ireland ½ Penny S-6621 Skinner Collection IRELAND 1603-1823 1/2P 1805 Skinner Collection NGC MS 63 BN The Irish halfpennies are no exception to my affinity for Irish copper. Although roughly half the size of the penny, these coins are still impressive. As I noted for the Penny, these coins are often dubbed as common, and again, that is true for average circulated examples. For those of you wishing to build a mint state set, which would be relatively inexpensive, this may prove slightly more complicated. Irish copper, in general, is not traded nearly as often of English copper, but when it is, there are usually quite a few people to compete with. Prices are often quite inflated from the estimates provided in price guides, and one should do their research ahead of time to figure out what fair market value is on the coin.

Obverse: George III faces right, his head adorned with a wreath of 10 leaves and three berries tied behind his neck with a riband of 1 bow and one loose end that flows out to the left and points down. The curls of his hair rest behind the neck and on both shoulders. A brooch of 6 beaded jewels catches the drapery on the right shoulder. The lowest fold of the drapery is plain with a K in roughly the center, followed by a massive spate and a dot (K .). The legend which is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border and reads as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. all evenly spaced. This particular example is remarkably free of contact marks for the assigned grade and possesses a very pleasing red-brown color. A slightly noticeable die crack at the bottom right of the “O” in GEORGIUS and extends partially into the field form a hook-like appearance. The tops of III and D:G are weakly struck and show a lack of definition.

Reverse: The reverse portrays a crowned harp with nine strings. The left side of the harp consists of a half-clad woman; her lower half is adorned with what I describe at a mermaid-like fin. Her top half is exposed with her arms depicted as wings that make up the top part of the harp where the crown rests. The bottom band of the crown is decorated with a pattern of precious stones that appears as the following: (· : · ● · : · ● · : · ● · : ·). The top of the crown consists of two bridges, one on the left and on the right, which convenes the top center of the cross located on the top middle of the band just described. Both bridges are decorated with eight beads resting upon a curved bar; however, the curved bar of both seems to at the last bead and does not make contact with the cross. The inner ring of the crown is slightly striated. A flaw occurs at the arch of the half-clad lady’s back and extends down the start of her lower body and protrudes out nearly to the 4th harp string. This flaw slightly impedes the design. Note the design of the right arm of the harp; this becomes less elegant as the denomination decreases. The legend reads as follows: HIBERNIA. with the date 1805 appearing below the primary device and is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded borders. A die crack can be seen that extends through the “E” towards the rim. Another die crack runs along the top of “RNI”. The date has no noticeable flaws.

Edge: Engrailed

Notes: The color of this coin, paired with the strong strike and bold details, make for a very eye appealing coin. Hints of red luster dance around the protected areas of the bust and letters. In the right light, a slightly blueish green tone can be seen in the fields. Remarkably free of contact marks and unsightly carbon spots, this coin is a premium quality piece for the assigned grade. Although by no means a high grade, I am content to keep this coin in my collection with no desire to seek a higher graded example. There are currently five graded MS-63 BN with 13 in higher grades at NGC alone.
View Coin 1806 Ireland Copper-Bronzed Engrailed Edge Proof Farthing S-6622 (KM-146.1b) IRELAND 1603-1823 1/4P 1806 KM-146.1b COPPER-BRONZED ENGRAILED EDGE NGC PF 64 BN Collecting the proof Irish halfpennies and farthings struck at the Soho is somewhat more complicated than other areas. This mostly because, like most other Irish copper, these coins do not come up to auction for reasonable prices very often, and there are numerous types. Spink only lists a handful of the most prevalent types, but countless other examples exist. The edge type can be a critical diagnostic for these pieces. As I mentioned before, I lack a Peck equivalent reference book for Irish coins, and the majority of what I have to state here is just my observations without much in the way of verified information from someone like Peck. I will say, however, that proof farthings seem to be more prevalent than their halfpenny counterparts.

Obverse: George III faces right, his head adorned with a wreath of 11 leaves, and three berries tied behind his neck with a riband of 1 bow and one loose end that flows out to the left and points down. The curls of his hair rest behind the neck and on both shoulders. A brooch of 6 beaded jewels catches the drapery on the right shoulder. The lowest fold of the drapery is plain. The legend which is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border and reads as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. all evenly spaced. A small flaw occurs on the neck. A minor hair-like defect occurs in the field behind the bow. This example is free of any contact marks, and the legend is fully struck with no die breaks. The deeply mirrored fields are highly glossy and are a rich chocolate brown. Red luster dances around the protected areas of the letters, bust, and the hair-like flaw. This is an exceptional example of a bronzed proof Irish Farthing.

Reverse: The reverse portrays a crowned harp with nine strings. The left side of the harp consists of a half-clad woman; her lower half is adorned with what I describe at a mermaid-like fin. Her top half is exposed with her arms depicted as wings that make up the top part of the harp where the crown rests. The bottom band of the crown is decorated with a pattern of precious stones that appears as the following: (· · ● · · ● · · ● · ·). The top of the crown consists of two bridges, one on the left and on the right, which convenes the top center of the cross located on the top middle of the band just described. Both bridges are decorated with eight beads resting upon a curved bar; however, the three beads closest to the cross appear more tooth-like than beaded on both sides. The inner ring of the crown is slightly striated. No flaw occurs under the arch of the harp. Note the design of the right arm of the harp; this becomes less elegant as the denomination decreases. The legend reads as follows: HIBERNIA with the date 1806 appearing below the primary device and is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded borders. Except for a carbon spot under the right side of the harp, this coin is immaculate. The fields are highly reflective, and the color is even brown.

Edge: Engrailed

Notes: This coin is the epitome of what you would expect from a proof piece struck at the Soho Mint. The details are bold and pop out against the mirrored fields. The craftsmanship allows the observer to see leaf veins and tiny hair details. The red luster paired with the chocolate drown color of the deeply-mirrored fields is beautiful. The reverse is just as splendid as the obverse. This is currently the only graded example at NGC, and I was unable to verify this, but there may be none at PCGS.
View Coin 1806 Ireland Bronzed Plain Edge Proof Farthing S-6622 IRELAND 1603-1823 1/4P 1806 KM-146.2 PLAIN EDGE RESTRIKE PCGS PF 64 Brown This one of the odder pieces I have in my collection solely because of the imperfection in the planchet that gives the appearance of George wearing a black mask covering his eyes. I like to call this the black bandit proof farthing. As I mentioned earlier, collecting Irish proof copper can be somewhat complicated for me because I lack an authoritative guide book. This paired with the numerous edge variates restrike coins makes it very difficult to assemble anything resembling completeness. Although not labeled as such, this coin is unmistakably a bronzed piece.

Obverse: George III faces right, his head adorned with a wreath of 11 leaves, and three berries tied behind his neck with a riband of 1 bow and one loose end that flows out to the left and points down. The curls of his hair rest behind the neck and on both shoulders. A brooch of 6 beaded jewels catches the drapery on the right shoulder. The lowest fold of the drapery is plain. The legend which is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border and reads as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. all evenly spaced. Several small flaws occur on the neck. Two imperfections that appear as parallel lines arise between the “U” and “S” of GEORGIUS. This example is free of any contact marks, and the legend is fully struck with no die breaks. The mirrored fields are highly glossy and are a rich chocolate brown. Except for George’s mask and a small spot behind his head, this coin is blemish-free.

Reverse: The reverse portrays a crowned harp with nine strings. The left side of the harp consists of a half-clad woman; her lower half is adorned with what I describe at a mermaid-like fin. Her top half is exposed with her arms depicted as wings that make up the top part of the harp where the crown rests. The bottom band of the crown is decorated with a pattern of precious stones that appears as the following: (· · ● · · ● · · ● · ·). The top of the crown consists of two bridges, one on the left and on the right, which convenes the top center of the cross located on the top middle of the band just described. Both bridges are decorated with eight beads resting upon a curved bar; however, the three beads closest to the cross appear more tooth-like than beaded on both sides. The inner ring of the crown is plain. Several small flaws occur behind the half-clad lady’s back and the 1st harp string. Note the design of the right arm of the harp; this becomes less elegant as the denomination decreases. The legend reads as follows: HIBERNIA. with the date 1806 appearing below the primary device and is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded borders. Except for a tiny carbon spot in front of the lady, the reverse is blemish-free. Numerous rust spots occur under the date close to the beaded border and extend up to “NIA”. The fields are highly reflective, and the color is even brown.

Edge: Plain

Notes: I like the odd look of this coin. It does look as though George is a bandit which is all the more fitting given the theme of this set! The reflective brown fields contrast nicely with the slightly frosted devices. The details of this coin are notably less defined than the details on the previously described farthing. Currently, there are ten graded PR-64BN with only one higher at PCGS and only two at NGC, both of which are graded PF-63BN.
1806 Ireland Copper Proof Farthing S-6622 IRELAND 1603-1823 1/4P 1806 ENGRAILED EDGE This is an example of a copper proof Irish farthing, which is made apparent by the lack of a grainy like surface in the devices. This was the first proof Irish farthing I purchased and nearly marked the start of my Irish coin collecting journey. It housed in an old white ANACS holder, and it will likely remain there until it is no longer part of my collection. Given that the holder fits tightly around the edge of the coin, I have no way of telling what the edge looks like.

Obverse: George III faces right, his head adorned with a wreath of 11 leaves, and three berries tied behind his neck with a riband of 1 bow and one loose end that flows out to the left and points down. The curls of his hair rest behind the neck and on both shoulders. A brooch of 6 beaded jewels catches the drapery on the right shoulder. The lowest fold of the drapery is plain. The legend which is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border and reads as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. all evenly spaced. Several small flaws occur on the neck. This example is free of any contact marks, and the legend is fully struck with no die breaks. The mirrored fields are a rich chocolate brown with hints of green and neon blue toning toward the bottom part of the field.

Reverse: The reverse portrays a crowned harp with nine strings. The left side of the harp consists of a half-clad woman; her lower half is adorned with what I describe at a mermaid-like fin. Her top half is exposed with her arms depicted as wings that make up the top part of the harp where the crown rests. The bottom band of the crown is decorated with a pattern of precious stones that appears as the following: (· · ● · · ● · · ● · ·). The top of the crown consists of two bridges, one on the left and on the right, which convenes the top center of the cross located on the top middle of the band just described. Both bridges are decorated with eight beads resting upon a curved bar; however, the three beads closest to the cross appear more tooth-like than beaded on both sides. The inner ring of the crown is plain. Numerous small flaws occur throughout the entire reverse of the coin. Note the design of the right arm of the harp; this becomes less elegant as the denomination decreases. The legend reads as follows: HIBERNIA with the date 1806 appearing below the primary device and is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded borders. The chocolate brown color reflective fields are blemish-free with a hint of neon blue and purple toning.

Edge: Unknown

Notes: Without knowing what type of edge the coin has, it would be challenging to determine what type it is; however, it is clear that it has not been bronzed. The subtle toning on both sides is intriguing, although any further development is unlikely due to the encapsulation. The coin is very eye-appealing, and the mystery of the edge captures the imagination. The details on this piece are more boldly defined than that of the one above. There are currently a total of 4 of these graded at ANACS, 1 in PF-63, 2 in this grade, and 1 in PF-64 RB.
View Coin 1806 Ireland Copper Farthing S-6622 IRELAND 1603-1823 1/4P 1806 PCGS MS 64 Brown This is an example of a business (i.e., currency) strike farthing produced at the Soho Mint. This coin marks the start of my Irish copper coin collecting journey and only barely proceeds the proof farthing described earlier. The currency strike pieces are by far easier to find than the proofs; however, finding an eye-appealing mint state example is not always easy. They are relatively common, but the majority of the survivors are well-circulated examples. This is the most affordable of the Irish coins in this set and, as such, would make a good starting point for someone wanting to pursue Irish copper.

Obverse: George III faces right, his head adorned with a wreath of 11 leaves, and three berries tied behind his neck with a riband of 1 bow and one loose end that flows out to the left and points down. The curls of his hair rest behind the neck and on both shoulders. A brooch of 6 beaded jewels catches the drapery on the right shoulder. The lowest fold of the drapery is plain. The legend which is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border and reads as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. all evenly spaced. This example has numerous die cracks. One of the largest protrudes from the tip of the bust to the border, and another occurs from the forehead to the border. A smaller yet visible die crack occurs from the bottom of the right shoulder through the letter “G” in GEORGIUS and extends to the “E”. A small groups of flaws arise in front of George’s chin and neck giving the King the appearance of an unruly beard. The underlying mahogany brown luster is strong and uninterrupted by any contact marks and enhanced by a deep fluorescent blue tone.

Reverse: The reverse portrays a crowned harp with nine strings. The left side of the harp consists of a half-clad woman; her lower half is adorned with what I describe at a mermaid-like fin. Her top half is exposed with her arms depicted as wings that make up the top part of the harp where the crown rests. The bottom band of the crown is decorated with a pattern of precious stones that appears as the following: (· · ● · · ● · · ● · ·). The top of the crown consists of two bridges, one on the left and on the right, which convenes the top center of the cross located on the top middle of the band just described. Both bridges are decorated with eight beads resting upon a curved bar. The inner ring of the crown is plain. Note the design of the right arm of the harp; this becomes less elegant as the denomination decreases. The legend reads as follows: HIBERNIA. with the date 1806 appearing below the primary device and is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded borders. The chocolate brown color reflective fields are blemish-free with the same deep florescent blue tone found on the obverse.

Edge: Engrailed

Notes: It is not very often that a business trike coin develops such a deep blue tone. These pieces, in my opinion, are exceptional and noteworthy. Although relatively inexpensive, this coin’s eye appeal land it in my box of 20. If ever given a chance to acquire another example with similar eye appeal, I would happily do so in any grade that fits within my budget. This is truly a spectacular coin. PCGS currently has 4 in MS-64, with eight graded higher. NGC reports 2 in Ms-64 with 7 in higher grades.
View Coin 1813 Isle of Man 1/2 Penny Copper Proof ISLE OF MAN 1709-1860 1/2P 1813 COPPER NGC PF 65 BN Although I have appreciated the design of the Isle of Man coin struck at the Soho Mint, I never really intended to add an example to my collection. This coin, however, was the exception. Perhaps it was the fact this coin is fully struck, or maybe it was the overall eye appeal, but I found myself placing a last-minute bid and winning. I bought this coin raw, and while the seller's pictures were decent quality, they were a bit out of focus. The seller’s images depicted a colorfully toned choice proof coin, but we all know that pictures can be misleading. I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived in the mail, and now I found myself wanting to complete the Isle of Man series. This is a temptation that I must subdue for the time being, but I fully intend to revisit the issue when more funds come available in the future.

Obverse: The obverse design of the Isle of Man pieces struck at the Soho Mint closely mimic that of the 1797 Penny and Halfpenny issues. The design depicts a draped bust of King George III facing right. Much like its English counterparts, he is adorned with a wreath of ten leaves and three berries. The attention to detail is very noticeable within this design. Much like the P-1234 variety of the 1799 British Halfpenny, this example shows the intricate details in the leaves, such as individual veins and branching connections. This attention to detail is also highly prevalent when comparing the hair detail on this example to that of the business strike examples of the same type. Of note is that the upper-most leaf and the two leaves just above the ear are overlapped by hair. The wreath terminates in a single bow and one loose end which down and outward toward the rim. A group of three large curls falls on this right shoulder, and a smaller curl rests on his left shoulder. A clasp of four jewels catches the drapery. The lowest of which is irregularly shaped and slightly larger than the other three. The lowest fold of the drapery is striated and contains a series of circles ○·○, which is a notable deviation from other Soho products that bore Kuchler’s initial (i.e., K) on the lowest fold of the drapery. It should also be noted that the King’s lips are parted and seem to an oddly shaped end that appears a lot like a sideways “7”. The incuse legend “GEORGIVS III · D: G · REX.” is contained within the broad raised rims. This particular example is sharply struck and free of any imperfections (i.e., stopped up letters, die cracks, etc.). The color on this coin is very appealing, with deeply mirrored fields and an underlying reddish-orange tone paired with hints of purple and blue.

Reverse: The reverse design on this coin is a significant departure from the English coinage struck at the Soho Mint. The primary device is a triskele, which consists of the three Manx legs. I do not know enough about the history behind this symbol to include any historical details, but I will do my best to describe its appearance on this coin. The symbol consists of three legs. All joined together by a central series of lines. Each leg appears to be armored and with a spur affixed on each foot. A series of ten round rivets are depicted on the lower side of the thigh, and a set of 21 round rivets on the top side of the thigh. A series of 11 armor plates cover the thighs. The calves are shielded with two plates of armor separated at the middle and pieced together by five round rivets (two closest to the shin and three toward the back of the leg). The incuse legend “STABIT QVOCVNQVE IECERIS” is contained within the broad raised rim. Much like the obverse, this example is well struck and has the same colorful tones as the obverse. Paired together, this makes for a very eye appealing coin.

Edge: Plain

Notes: This is a super impressive coin. My images are lackluster and do not do this coin justice. The colors are much more brilliant in hand, and the luster is exceptionally strong. Overall, this is one of the nicest, if not the nicest, example of this particular year and denomination that I have seen. I would be hard-pressed to find another example with equal eye appeal. This has quickly become one of my favorite new additions.
View Coin 1806 Bahamas Plain Edge Proof Restrike Penny BAHAMAS PENNY 1806 RESTRIKE PCGS PF 63 Brown Although not truly a British coin, it does depict the bust of George III and was struck using dies from the Soho mint. I admittedly have not done much research on this piece yet, and I am unsure if this is something produced after the auction of the Soho Mint or something that was struck at the Soho Mint. Given that Peck is not the person to classify it, I cannot say for sure until I do more research. Peck does allude that Late Soho strikes did occur for this piece (Pg. 379 under P-1366) when he describes how the obverse die was used to strike the proofs. To any extent, it is a fascinating coin.

Obverse: You may recognize this depiction of George III as the one used by Boulton for this third and final contract to produce regal copper for England. He did recycle the obverse die to strike these coins. George III is depicted facing right adorned by a wreath of 10 leaves, which is tied behind his neck by a riband of one loop and two ends that droop below the neck. A brooch of 8 jewels on the right shoulder catches the drapery. The lowest fold of the drapery is “obliquely striated” (i.e., a series of lines titled to the left), which are superimposed by the letter K with no dot (i.e., K). The legend is contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border and reads as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. (evenly spaced). The date ”1806” appears at the bottom of the coin under the bust. File marks can be seen on the rims of the coin, which was done by whoever minted the coin. The obverse of this coin is nothing shy of spectacular and possesses a deep vibrant mahogany color. This coin was struck with a repolished die that was not well kept as made evident by the numerous faint rust spots on in the fields. This coin is otherwise free of contact marks is extremely eye appealing.

Reverse: The reverse of this coin depicts an intricate sea battle. The primary device is a large British 3 masted warship that proudly flies the Union Flag. The craftsmanship is so detailed that one can see individual sailors on the deck of the ship. Behind this triumphant ship to the left, a smaller vessel is seen in the distance. It flies a banner too small to be recognized but has the general appearance of sinking. An even smaller and more distantly located ship can be seen behind the British ship to the left. It flies no banners and is sinking in the distance. I believe this is supposed to depict the sinking of pirate vessels that plagued the seas near the Bahamas at the time. The sea is cut straight, and in exergue, the Legend “EXPULSIS PIRATIS RESTITUTA COMMERCIA” appears. This is roughly translated as “Pirates expelled—Commerce Resorted”. If the obverse did not provide sufficient evidence that this coin was struck using a rusty die, the reverse would undoubtedly prove convincing. Numerous rust spots occur throughout the reverse. The largest of which occurs on the top left of the rearmost mast.

Edge: Plain

Notes: These coins are exceedingly rare and are naturally expensive. I sold a few pieces that no longer fit in the collection and spent my entire weekly budget to purchase this coin, but I am happy that I did. This coin is a testament to Boulton’s resourcefulness (if you do not know what I mean, go back and read the 5th paragraph of the Success and inadequacy section of the introduction). This, paired with the commemorative nature of the coin, is a home run for me. Despite its flaws, this coin is spectacular, in my opinion, and has earned a spot in my box of 20. The only two examples PCGS has graded have both been PR-63 BN, and as such, this tied for the finest. NGC has graded three, and none of which are graded above PF-63BN.
View Coin 1811 Bank of England 18 Pence Armored Bust NGC MS-64 GREAT BRITAIN 1707-1815 1S/6P 1811 BANK OF ENGLAND ARMORED BUST NGC MS 64 As some of the more observant viewers of this set have likely already noticed, this coin is, in fact, silver and not copper or bronze. As such, this coin is not cataloged in the standard reference guide I have used throughout the majority of this set. It has been included in this set for two reasons. First, it bears George III’s likeness and was struck at the Soho Mint. Second, it furthers the story of the Soho Mint as this coin was struck after the death of Mathew Boulton in 1809 by his son, Matthew Robinson Boulton. As of current (8-10-19), this is the only such coin in this registry. Although these coins seem to be largely common in the context of similar pieces, well-preserved examples can command considerable premiums.

Obverse: George III’s bust appears facing right adorned by a wreath of 9 leaves and five berries tied behind the neck with a riband of one loop and one loose end. The loose end flows down but turns back up and with a squared endpoint to the “R” in GEORGIUS. A cluster of hair curls occurs above the ear with two smaller curls occurring just to the left underside of the ear. George is wearing a suit of armor, of which the right shoulder and chest plates are visible. The shoulder plate is decorated with a set of three ruffles with five raised lines contained within each. A slightly ruffled cloth appears to poke out of the first band of the chest plate that is faceted with three rivets. The armor is partially covered by drapery that is caught on the right shoulder by a clasp of 5 round jewels. A series of hair curls rest above the drapery and along the side of the shoulder plate. The legend is contained within a thin rim that connects to a very distinct border pattern and reads as follows: GEORGIUS III DEI GRATIA REX (evenly spaced). Numerous die cracks occur on the obverse of this particular example, with the most noticeable occurring from the rim design to the “D” in DEI. Another large die crack occurs at the tip of the bust to the rim design. The fields are a deep silvery gray with bright tones of neon blue.

Reverse: The reverse of this coin bears the legend “BANK TOKEN 1S. 6D. 1811” contained within an oak wreath. A total of 26 acorns are included within the wreath, with one large acorn appearing at the junction of the two branches. I am sure there are other diagnostics worthy of note, but I am not familiar enough with this type of coin to list them here. I will add this to my list of research topics and update this listing when I can.

Edge: Plain

Notes: I usually make a point only to pursue copper and bronze coinage, but I made an exception for this coin because of the fantastic toning on both sides. The pictures are a decent representation of the deep silvery-gray color of the fields; however, what the pictures fail to portray is the neon blue toning that compliments the fields and devices. This is one of only three silver coins in my entire collection if that provides any measure of the impression this coin made on me.

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