A Die Study of Victorian Shillings Dated 1865. Part 1 – Validating the Statistical Methods – Gary Oddie

For some years the equations proposed by Warren Esty have been used to estimate the number of dies used to strike a particular issue or coinage. The equations are used to give point estimates of the number of dies and the coverage and also 95% confidence limits on these numbers. However, the equations are based on assumptions, and as reasonable as they are, it is still only a model, and therefore the question has often been asked “do you believe the results?”The acquisition of an 1865 shilling with the die number 102 (a rarity according to specialist collectors) led to the realisation that a study of the die numbered coinage can be used to test the statistical models. This is simply because we know what the answer is, as the dies are all numbered.A virtual collection of 184 shillings dated 1865 was gathered and used to systematically test the statistical methods with increasing sample size. This confirms that the equations

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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.

A Punch for the Octagonal Countermark of 1804 – Gary Oddie

Several years ago, the author acquired an octagonal punch suspected to have been used by counterfeiters to create countermarked dollars similar to the official Bank of England issues of 1804. The punch was tested on soft metals and a genuine dollar. Close inspection revealed a very small, and previously un-noticed, mark in the folds of the drapery. This mark is not present on the Maundy penny bust. Inspection of several genuine octagonal countermarked dollars reveals this mark to be present and suggests that this is an official punch.

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).