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1806 Bahamas Proof Penny





Coin Details

Origin/Country: Bahamas
Item Description: 1/2P 1806 BAH.
Full Grade: NGC PF 65 BN
Owner: coinsandmedals

Set Details

Custom Sets: What comes next? You've been freed. Do you know how hard it is to lead?
Competitive Sets: This coin is not competing in any sets.
Research: NGC Coin Explorer

Owner Comments:

There was unlikely a busier year for the Soho Mint than 1806, as it included the production of both English and Irish contracts that resulted in millions of coins. Nonetheless, Boulton still managed to churn out a relatively small order of copper coinage intended to circulate in the Bahamas. This project was placed on the back burner by all those involved for several years but did not gain traction until 1805. As Doty (1998) notes, the timing could not have been worse. At the time, the Soho mint was amid preparations for another issue of British coinage, the pressure of which was further compounded by the Irish coinage contract. There is little doubt that Boulton must have felt under pressure, which explains why he opted to use the obverse die for the British Halfpenny to strike the Bahamas Penny. In total, 120,317 Bahamas Pennies shipped on November 11th, 1806 (Doty, 1998).

Obverse: George III is depicted 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 contained within a thin raised rim and beaded border reads as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. with the date, 1806, appearing at the bottom below the bust. This is all contained within a beaded border and slightly raised rim.

Reverse: Supposedly, the reverse design is meant to commemorate Captain Wodes Roger’s victory over the pirates in 1717. No matter the intent, the reserve is very attractive. It depicts a three-masted ship at sail adoring British flags at either end. The sails are full, and the underlying seas are rough giving the impression of an active scene. In the background, a ship can be seen at either end of the main three-masted vessel. An island appears on the horizon in the distant background. This entire scene appears above a sharp horizontal exergue line, beneath which appears the legend EXPULSIS PIRATIS RESTITUTA COMMERCIA in three lines. The legend translates to PIRATES DEFEATED COMMERCE RESTORED. The word BAHAMA appears centered and immediately above the entire scene. This is all contained within a beaded border and slightly raised rim.

Edge: Assume to be engrailed

Notes: Doty (1998) notes that a small number of proofs and restrikes are known to exist, but he provides very little additional information. Relative to the coins struck at the Soho Mint, there is very little readily available information on the Bahamas Pennies. Pridmore provides some information but falls short of painting a full picture and some of the details he provided have proven inaccurate. Nonetheless, Doty’s statement stands – proof and restrikes do exist. These can typically be distinguished by the remnants of die rust found on the restrikes. To my knowledge, all the restrikes have a plain edge, whereas the original proof strikes have an engrailed edge. One of the more frustrating facts is that it appears both major grading services started encapsulating these pieces before they had a firm grasp on what they were. For instance, this coin is graded by NGC as an 1806 Bahamas Halfpenny. No such coin exists. Of course, it might have been a mechanical error, but they also did not list the edge type on the label. Unfortunately, this piece was graded before they switched to the edge view holder. The lack of die rust makes me assume this is an original proof with an engrailed edge. This assumption is further supported by the notes made by Peck when discussing P-1366. This is a particularly well-preserved example, and very deserving of its gem status. As is the case with many coins in older holders, the plastic is marred with many scratches which sadly show up in the pictures.

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