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The 1847 Medusa Reverse

By Michael Gouby (1 October 2018)

The Victorian copper penny series has been largely neglected from study or research as there was considered to be very little variation between the dies used. This is correct in that the case of the Victorian obverse die which appears to be identical in all aspects from the first in 1839 to the last used in 1860 which was in fact a re-cut die of 1859. i.e.1860 over 1859.

However, the same cannot be said about the reverse dies. After careful examination it was discovered that a number of different dies were engraved.

The primary purpose of this paper is to examine the differences between the reverse that is being identified, by me, as CP 1847 M (The Medusa reverse), which is a recently discovered reverse die and any other 1847 copper penny reverse. This paper will look at the differences between the reverse dies from 1839 to 1847 as the later dates would have no bearing on the uniqueness of the 1847 Medusa reverse. However, the shield differences on all Victorian copper penny reverses, including the 1853 to 1857 shields, are shown in chronological order for completeness of the series.

CP 1847 M (The 'Medusa' reverse)


Page 2 - Examines and shows the differences in the legend REG: & REG

Page 3 - Examines and shows the differences in the shields & floral design

Page 4 - Examines and shows the differences for Britannia, helmet, head & hair

Page 5 - Examines and shows the differences in Cape, Chain-mail & right shoulder

Page 6 - Examines and shows the differences in Britannia's right foot

Page 7 - Examines and shows the 'Medusa' insignia / medallion on Britannia's breast


Page 8 - Examines and shows the influence that Athena might have had on the medallion

Page 9 - The Use of a lion's head as an insignia on Britannia's chain-mail on copper pennies

                 The Lion with Britannia on a 1821 farthing


                 (picture by Rex Woods)

Page 10 - Examines and shows Britannia & lion medallion on 1825 to 1837 pennies

Page 11 - Examines and shows images of Britannia's various helmets, head, hair and bust

                   on copper pennies from 1839, 1841 x 2 & 1847 (Medusa)


                   CP 1839 P (Proof)    CP 1841 A - REG      CP 1841 B - REG:    CP 1847 M -Medusa

Page 12 - Examines and shows the 1841 & 1847 copper pennies with just REG legend

Page 13 - Examines and shows the various shield designs used between 1839 to 1860

Page 14 - In Conclusion

Page 15 - Repairs found on the reverse of the CP 1847 M  ("Medusa") copper penny

Page 16 & 17 - Library of known CP 1847 M - reverses. 12 examples known - 8 owners

                            With large images of all 12 coins (grade and individual reference)

Page 18 - The known history of each of the 12 CP 1847 M examples


This booklet is NOW available as a 18 page paperback, A4 size, double sided printing on 160 gm paper. All images are in colour, as per above shrunk images -  It has a clear Perspex cover and slide edge binding.

Paperback  Price..........7.50 

Postage & packing is extra (approximately 150 gm.) - As of 1 April 2023

INLAND postage 1st class Royal Mail    5.00 - Signed for

Prices for foreign postage are now extremely high but can be quoted for.

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