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Pence, Halfpence & Farthings

1860 - 1869



This 60 page book examines the production of the British bronze coinage; Pence , Halfpence & Farthings, from 1860 to 1869 - the first 10 years of the great British bronze re-coinage; part is from previously unrecorded documents, the remainder by careful deduction.

In fact, many collectors of this series are completely unaware that the Royal Mint during the first three years, from 1860 to 1863, subcontracted a large part of the work out to two other mints: the James Watt and the Ralph Heaton mints.

As there are but a few existing records for the Royal Mint during the 1860's it may never be completely know what happened during that early period of conversion, from copper to bronze.

This book attempts to separate out the various production figures of the three mints from 1860 to 1863, by denomination.

The production from 1864 to 1869 can only be those of the Royal Mint, as they were the sole producers.

A probable minting sequence is shown, in table form, for the 1864 to 1868 period, by denomination. This has been made possible by re-examining the importance of certain 'numbered' coins, of Royal Mint origin. The real reason for numbers to be scratched on the obverse of certain coins was discovered in 1982 by Graham Dyer, librarian and curator of the Royal Mint, and published in an excellent paper on the "Numbered strikings of Victorian Bronze Coins, 1860 - 1868". Since then it has been assumed that having discovered the reason for the 'numbered' coins this would be sufficient as there appeared to be nothing further that could be learnt from the numbers - that is until now!

The picture of the coin on the front of the book is of an 1866 halfpenny with the numbers '406' and '139' scratched on either side of the head. It is one of the 'numbered' coins, as well as being a new find!

A table gives all the known 'numbered' coins, together with their pedigree - showing which are in the British Museum collection and which are in private hands!

The small amount of documentary evidence regarding both the James Watt and Ralph Heaton mints gives us only a small glimpse into what was happening during that period - but are important ones.

The full accounts for the Royal Mint, from 1860 to 1869, are given, as are the combined production figures for the three mints.

The complex task of breaking these figures down by denomination from 1860 to 1863, for each of the mints, is shown in 8 progressive stages and how, for each, they have been deduced.

A final summary and analysis of production for the  1860 to 1863 period for each mint is then shown separately.

The book then concentrates on the Royal Mint production of bronze coins from 1863 to 1868; giving possible scenarios for their minting sequence, by denomination.

For 1864 to 1868 two tables, for each year's production, are given. The first shows the coins produced in that year but with the previous year's date. i.e. coins made in 1864 but dated 1863. The next table shows that year's production with that year's date. The 1869 production was included to complete the 1868 figures. These tables

The question "Why do we find overdated pence and halfpence of 1865 only from re-cut 1863 dies, whilst the overdated farthings are from only 1862 dies" - is addressed. 

An 'unofficial' accounts statement shows the probable true mintage figures by coin date rather than annual production - for each of the denominations; with some interesting results. These figures are also compared  to the quantity of pence, for the same period, in the Freeman collection - on a proportional basis.

The final part deals with "Which mint used What die" - giving reasoned argument. A subject hitherto considered impossible. This part also list all the die combinations so far found and gives a rarity count of known ' major key coins', for the pence, halfpence and farthings from 1860 to 1863 (as known by November 2000).

* On the 15 February 2005, a 4th edition of this book was released that included important information  about the minting of coins by Ralph Heaton & Sons for the Royal Mint in the 1860's. Also pictures and details of a possibly unique 1866 Italian 10 Centesimi coin over-struck on an 1860 penny (shown below). A four page study into why, where, how, when, etc. this penny could have been over-struck has been given.

** Due to THREE new 'numbered' coins being discovered over the past year and another Italian 10 Centesimi over-struck on an 1862 turning up I have produced a 5th edition (21 June 2006) to include all this new information - with additional pictures.

The 101/101 halfpence dated 1865 (date: 5 over 3) appeared to be completely outside the accepted numbering system of the Royal Mint. The 250/99 halfpence slotted into the numbering sequence without too much trouble. The 1863 farthing 201/6 appears to contradict Royal Mint mintage figures. However, after some lateral thinking explanations have been given for the 101/101 halfpence & 201/6 farthing. 



We have also produce a reference book and catalogue on The British Bronze Penny: 1860 - 1970. Click to see details.



The book is NOW available in two different formats:   

(1) As a 60 page paperback, A4 size, double sided on 160 gm paper. A colour plate on the front, as shown at the top of the page -  with a Perspex cover and slide edge binding. Now has a 153mm colour plate of the above 1863 farthing 201/6 coin on the inside title page.

Paperback (format 1)  Price..........13.50 

Postage & packing is extra (approximately 425 gm.) - As of 1 April 2017

INLAND postage 1st class Royal Mail 3.50
EUROPE postage Printed paper 7.50
WORLD postage Printed paper 10.00


(2) As a 60 page document, A4 size, double sided on 160 gm card & 4 side holes, as per paperback. A colour plate on the front and spine. Housed in a superior heavy duty presentation ring binder, stitched, with 4 metal corners.

Ring binder (format 2)  Price..........19.50 

Postage & packing extra (approximately 915 gm.) - As of 1 April 2017
INLAND postage 1st class Royal Mail 5.00
EUROPE postage Printed paper 10.50
WORLD postage Printed paper 16.00


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