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1797 G. Britain 2 Pence P-1077 Skinner Collection





Coin Details

Origin/Country: GREAT BRITAIN 1707-1815
Item Description: 2P 1797SOHO G.britain
Full Grade: NGC MS 63 BN
Owner: coinsandmedals

Owner Comments:

The 1797 Twopence is one of the most iconic British copper coins that ever circulated. Beyond these monsters' impressive size and weight, they depict a significant period in the Soho Mint's history. As noted in the set write-up, these coins nearly destroyed the machinery at the Soho Mint and, to some extent, reshaped the way Boulton approached the minting of future contracts. The issues presented even gave rise to the second Soho Mint. To truly appreciate these coins, you must first be able to hold one in your hands. These things were over 40 mm wide, 5 mm thick, and weighed two ounces. Just imagine carrying a sack full of these to the grocery store! There is little wonder why they not immediately popular in commerce but enjoy a coveted spot among British copper collectors. Nice uncirculated examples can be found with some ease, but more often than not, they are marred with significant contact marks, rim bumps, uneven color, and weak strikes. In my experience, it is easy enough to find an example that excels in one of these areas but usually falls short in others. I would suggest being selective, but be aware that premium coins in the 63, 64, or 65 range will command intense premiums. Because of this, the past selling prices for mediocre examples can be safely disregarded. In other words, premium examples tend to draw a lot of attention and a lot of bids. Be prepared to get into a bidding war. Currency strike twopence are listed by peck as scarce.

Obverse: obverse portrays the draped bust of George III facing right. The wreath has ten leaves and four berries of equal size tied with a riband of 2 loops and one loose end. A small forked hair curl faintly 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 followed by ·: on the lowest fold of the drapery. The legend GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. is contained within the sizeable broad rim. This particular example is free of any significant die cracks, and the legend stops included are all free of obstructions. This example is remarkably free of distracting contact marks, and beyond a minor edge bump at seven, the obverse is pristine.

Reverse: The reverse portrays Britannia seated left. Her right arm is extended to the left, holding an olive branch with 11 leaves, all attached. The bottom leaf is noticeably thicker, and nearly appears doubled. 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 two rows of waves. Under the right side of the shield is a rock with SOHO. In raised letters (note there is no stop after Soho). The most extreme wave-crest on the right points to the "H" in Soho. The three-masted warship bears a Union flag at the stern and a smaller indistinguishable flag at the bow. The legend BRITANNIA. occurs within a sizeable broad rim, with the date "1797" appearing at the bottom. A large cud appears at the base of the "9" and the second "7" of the date. A faint but noticeable die crack bisects the nine and travels through the seven continuing in the middle of the rim until ending almost level with the top of the smaller rocks behind Britannia. Like the obverse, this side of the coin is free of any major contact marks.

Edge: Plain

Notes: I have viewed hundreds of these coins in mint state (both graded and raw) over the years, and more often than not, they are marred with significant contact marks, rim bumps, uneven color, and weak strikes. In my experience, it is easy enough to find an example that excels in one of these areas but usually falls short in others. I took my time to find an example with minimal contact marks/rim bumps, even color, and a solid strike. This is one of the nicest Twopence pieces that I have come across. There are a handful of minor contact marks on the obverse (e.g., on his throat, in the field in front of his drapery, on the rim between the "E" and "X"), none of which are distracting on a relatively heavy 40mm coin. The color and strike are sublime for the series, and except for an insignificant rim bump at 7 o'clock, the edges are smooth as can be. Looking over the NGC census, the average uncirculated grade for this series is MS-63 (42 in this grade; 11 at PCGS), but in my opinion, there isn't anything ordinary about this particular example. I think this coin would be a premium example in a 64 holder (24 in this grade; 6 at PCGS), and I thought it had a strong chance at a 65 (only 3 with none higher; 1 at PCGS ditto). I may disagree with the number on the label, but I am proud to have this coin in my collection. Although not denoted with a separate variety number by Peck, this piece has equal sized berries on the obverse wreath, which more scarce than the variation with the smaller lower berry.

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