What comes next? You've been freed. Do you know how hard it is to lead?
1806 Bronzed Proof Farthing P-1388 Ex. Watt Jr. With Shells & Wrapper





Coin Details

Origin/Country: GREAT BRITAIN 1707-1815
Item Description: 1/4P 1806 G.britain JAMES WATT JR
Full Grade: NGC PF 66 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 Price Guide
NGC World Coin Census

Owner Comments:

I purchased this coin in 2023 from the collector who sold me the gilt-proof 1806 English Farthing from the Watt Jr. Collection. Much like its gilt counterpart, this coin is an absolute stunner. The unimpeachable two-centuries-old provenance along with the original silver-lined brass shells and hand inscribed wrapper make this a truly special piece. This coin is the epitome of originality and a strong testament to the quality and care exercised by the Soho Mint and James Watt Jr. as a collector.

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 attached and forms a perfect loop. 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 toothed border and is as follows: GEORGIUS III · D: G · REX. with the date “1806” appearing at the bottom below the bust. Although not designated as a cameo, this coin exhibits a high degree of contrast between the main devices and the deeply rich brown fields.

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 waved on top. Her right arm is extended, and her hand holds an olive branch with seven leaves and no berries. All of the leaves are attached to 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 BRITANNIA is contained within a thin outer rim and a toothed border (even spacing).

Edge: Grained

Notes: Although the collector that collector I bought these pieces from took very good care of them, it appears the dealer who sold them to her did not provide the same due diligence. The result is a fantastic coin stuck behind marred plastic. I experimented with a few techniques that provided decent enough images, but the scratched holder substantially detracts from the provided photographs. Nonetheless, I am overjoyed to have this coin in my collection. Oddly enough, it appeared as a single-item lot in the 2002 auction. Lot 348 is described as “late Soho bronzed proof farthing, 1806 (B.M.C. 1388), a few marks probably caused in striking, good extremely fine, in shells and inscribed paper wrapper” with a £40-60 estimate. It sold for over double the high estimate at a measly £140. I wish I had a time machine!

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