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1788 G. Britain ½ Penny Gilt Pattern P-965 Skinner Collection





Coin Details

Item Description: 1/2P 1788 G.britain P-965 GILT PATTERN
Full Grade: NGC PF 35
Owner: coinsandmedals

Owner Comments:

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.

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