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.

The “Tercentenary” of the South Sea Company “SSC” silver coins approaches.   Where the silver came from and how it got here – Graham Birch

Almost exactly three hundred years ago In October or early November 1722, the South Sea Company’s flagship merchant trading vessel – the Royal George – slipped its moorings in Cartagena – in what is now Colombia – and set sail for Falmouth. She was on the return leg of her maiden voyage and was carrying a fabulously rich cargo including around one million “pieces of eight” as well as other high value goods such as cochineal and indigo…

Some Thoughts on the Ellerby Hoard – Weights of the Ellerby Hoard Guineas – Graham Birch

The Ellerby Hoard has featured in the news recently due to the recent (October 7th) Spink auction in London where the coins reached a “hammer price” of £628,000 for all the lots, with the final purchase price including fees calculated at £754,000. The hoard was found in 2019 when a couple renovating their 18th-century property in the village of Ellerby, near Hull, made the discovery of a lifetime beneath the kitchen floor. Buried inside a small cup were over 260 gold coins from the 17th and 18th centuries, dating from the reigns of King James I through to King George I. This article provides some interesting insights based on an analysis of the coin weights.

Tracing The Elusive 1775 Pattern Shilling – Gary Oddie

This note brings to an end a long search for a specimen of the 1775 pattern shilling of George III. Listed as R4 or R5, regular (5-10 year) sightings at auction or sale were anticipated, however this assumption caused the author to be looking in the wrong places all along. Embarrassingly, two specimens have been found in captivity (Royal Mint Museum and British Museum) and in identifying their provenances a third specimen has been identified and is possibly still in the wild (ex Hyman Montagu).

Numismatic Graffiti – End the BBC Monopoly – Fight for Free Radio – Gary Oddie

The chance find of two bronze pennies with political graffiti added in white tipp-ex brought back vague memories of pirate radio in the North Sea. I was too young for the original story to register properly, but I do recall the navy raids on the transmitter ships in 1989. Ironically, the subsequent litigation confirmed that pirate radio had been ended by government piracy. The graffiti can be dated to sometime after 19 February 1967 with the formation of the Free Radio Association and its headline message ‘FIGHT FOR FREE RADIO’.

Counterfeit Shillings of George III 1816-1820 (iii) Metallurgy – Gary Oddie

The previous notes have presented details of the reference collection of counterfeit shillings of George III dated 1816-1820 and a description of the pieces in terms of the appearance of the metal. This note will present a few typical pieces from each group along with a few outliers and determine the metals using XRF analysis. The results confirm the three main groups of counterfeits; (1) ‘tin’ based, (2) the ‘copper alloys, brass and copper’ pieces and (3) the ‘silver’ pieces that are genuine coins. Two odd-coloured silver pieces have been found to contain significant amounts of nickel, a metal not used in coinage applications until after the 1850s. Many of the pieces show traces of mercury (200-500ppm) likely from previous silvering, though is only just above the Limit of Detection using this XRF machine. Those pieces with complete silvering show the highest mercury contents (>3000ppm) suggesting the silvering was created using evaporation of a mercury-silver amalgam.