The previous three notes published on the BNS blog highlighted several series of non-contemporary white-metal late 18th century tokens. Essentially all were found to be cast or struck copies, made using moulds or dies created from genuine tokens. At the 2022 Token Congress five further specimens were brought for analysis by Jeff Rock and Merfyn Williams. These are presented here and fit nicely into the groups presented previously, reconfirming there was a small number of prolific counterfeiters of white metal 18th century tokens, mostly in the early 20th century.
A Contemporary Counterfeit of an Edward the Confessor Pyramids Penny of Wulfgar of London – Gary Oddie
The coin described here is an unusual class XVb (head facing left) pyramids type penny of Edward the Confessor. The metal appears base, and XRF analysis confirms just 28% silver. The piece is likely a contemporary counterfeit and has a provenance from L.A. Lawrence by private treaty in 1902-3 and then the Lord Grantley sale of 1944. Lawrence had seen a second example, which has not yet been traced.
The Heworth 1812 Hoard: A Cold Case Reconsidered – Hugh Pagan
A fresh look at the Heworth hoard of 1812, a hoard of early nineteenth century forgeries purporting to be coins of the seventh century Northumbrian king Ecgfrith (670-685).
A Counterfeit 1928 Australian Shilling – Gary Oddie
This note will describe a very successful counterfeiting operation that took place in Australia in the early 1930s. The counterfeit shillings, dated 1928, were of such high quality that they could be deposited directly into banks, from where they made it into circulation. The quantities involved were so large that the banks noticed the accumulation in their vaults and an investigation began. The counterfeits were being manufactured in China from good silver and imported to Australia by a Sydney businessman, where they were exchanged for notes. The silver bullion prices at the time meant there would be a profit, not counting production and shipping costs, of about 9½d per shilling. Following the trial, three Chinese men and their families were asked to leave Australia and not to return.
An Unusual Counterfeit Charles I 1b2 Shilling, mm Heart – Gary Oddie
This note presents a detailed analysis of a recently acquired Charles I shilling. It’s weight was suspiciously low and the colour not quite right. XRF analysis reveals a low silver content and the density confirms the alloy to be almost pure copper. Apart from the curious alloy it is an exceptional cast copy of a coin that is a die duplicate of Brooker 434. Unless any compelling evidence of more recent manufacture is found, e.g., the discovery of more identical specimens or further analysis reveals unexpected metals, I am inclined to consider this to be of near-contemporary manufacture. Also see:
In The Groove – Security Edges and Contemporary Counterfeiting in British West Africa and Nigeria – Gary Oddie
The official coinage of British West Africa has been well documented and catalogued. This note focusses on the prevalence of contemporary counterfeiting in British West Africa of the silver, tin-brass, and nickel-brass coins and the later white metal counterfeits of the cupro-nickel coins of the British Protectorate of Nigeria.
Arthur Mangy, Goldsmith: Clipper and Counterfeiter? – Gary Oddie
This note is about a recently (re)discovered short article, from 1899, giving a full description of the trial of the Leeds goldsmith, Arthur Mangy, for counterfeiting. On a first read of the main text, something about the trial didn’t seem quite correct. A second read and working through the original footnotes revealed that the original authors also had reservations about the judicial process. Mangy was tried on the evidence of a single accomplice who had turned King’s evidence, but whose testimony was later discredited. The counterfeiting and clipping was taking place at the time of the Great Recoinage and Mangy was alleged to be buying clippings from full hammered coins and debasing the silver before striking counterfeit milled shillings of Charles II. During the trial there is evidence of attempted witness nobbling by the accused, as well as the controller of the York Mint being surreptitiously called in to act as a witness for the defence. Mangy was tried on
read more Arthur Mangy, Goldsmith: Clipper and Counterfeiter? – Gary Oddie
A Contemporary Counterfeit 1681 Twopence – Gary Oddie
This note presents a very unusual and easily overlooked counterfeit of a small silver milled coin.
Charles I Counterfeit Shillings – Connecting the York, Oxford and one of the Tower Types – Gary Oddie
A previous note presented a few contemporary counterfeit shillings of Charles I. (Link). These either displayed the EBOR mint signature or showed a declaration type similar to the official Oxford Issues. Punch links suggested connections between the different types. Recently the British Museum has photographed and uploaded its Charles I counterfeit shillings. This note presents eight of the BM pieces and fits them into the previous scheme and also adds a counterfeit Tower issue shilling mm tun. Punch links now allow all of the counterfeits described in the two notes to be divided into two groups suggesting just one or two workshops produced them all.
XRF Analysis of Coins in Slabs etc – Gary Oddie
Measuring the metal composition of a coin using X-ray Fluorescence can be useful in identifying counterfeits. This note presents data testing a portable XRF machine on coins in various plastic holders, including a slab. Using the machine’s built-in interpretation shows that very thin plastic films lead to good results, but anything thicker than about 0.1mm produces questionable results and a 1.66mm slab wall is likely to be incorrect.