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JohnConduitt

Weight of Stuart and Georgian coppers

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Is the weight (or indeed flan diameter) of any importance with early copper coins? I'm specifically thinking about Charles II and George I, but any copper of that era.

With silver, if the weight varies even by 0.1g I believe you're meant to hear alarm bells, but a 1675 Charles II farthing seems to be able to be anywhere between 5 and 6.5g, while a 1717 George I dump halfpenny can be two whole grams different to another on a flan ranging from 25 to 28mm.

Are there standard weights and tolerances? Does this make it impossible to distinguish a good forgery from the not-brilliantly-struck originals?

Thank you

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If you have a look at Peck (English Copper, Tin and Bronze Coins in the British Museum) you will see weight ranges provided. Coins outside these ranges are typically treated as mint errors, and can be worth a premium, especially for William III copper. 

The only reign you typically get good quality forgeries for is Anne, and most of these are either casts or electrotypes, so either look rough and porous, or have a seam/filing on the edge. 

I've never seen a good quality forgery of a Charles II or George I bronze; it would be very difficult to emulate the poor quality surfaces, strike and slightly irregular blanks well, and not really worth the effort given the low prices these coins achieve in top grade - there are better targets for the forger.

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OK great, thank you very much, I'll have a look. Yes I suppose while £1,000 for a George I copper halfpenny sounds a lot, you'd be better off forging a James II tin farthing for £3,500!

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32 minutes ago, JohnConduitt said:

OK great, thank you very much, I'll have a look. Yes I suppose while £1,000 for a George I copper halfpenny sounds a lot, you'd be better off forging a James II tin farthing for £3,500!

In practice I've never seen a forgery of one of those either, difficult with the corrosion and the copper plug, no-one sane would buy a unprovenanced "clean" example. I'd guess it would be much easier to make a quality forgery of e.g. an 18th century American cent or English civil war siege pieces, which in practice are issues you have to be careful with. 

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In the days before collars were used, milled coinage was typically of slightly varying diameter and not necessarily regular. Excess force applied in the strike or a softer blank than usual could lead to a spread flan.

e.g. here's a G3 halfpenny with a lot wrong. The diameter is 31.0-31.5mm as opposed to the quoted 28.5 - 30mm. The obverse legend has OR over O. Only the weight at 9.43g is within the right ballpark.

c740 1773 halfpenny spread flan - Copy.jpg

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On 4/28/2020 at 11:08 PM, Rob said:

In the days before collars were used, milled coinage was typically of slightly varying diameter and not necessarily regular. Excess force applied in the strike or a softer blank than usual could lead to a spread flan.

e.g. here's a G3 halfpenny with a lot wrong. The diameter is 31.0-31.5mm as opposed to the quoted 28.5 - 30mm. The obverse legend has OR over O. Only the weight at 9.43g is within the right ballpark.

c740 1773 halfpenny spread flan - Copy.jpg

The more I look at this coin the more seems wrong with it ! What's up the with the apparently raised marks to the right of Britannia (and the S shaped mark after BRITAN) - die damage ? 

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47 minutes ago, JLS said:

The more I look at this coin the more seems wrong with it ! What's up the with the apparently raised marks to the right of Britannia (and the S shaped mark after BRITAN) - die damage ? 

There are a few rust spots on the die, which is what I presume you can see to the right of Britannia. The S after BRITAN is ink. The reverse has a number of ink marks, two lines of which read BASING HOUSE which given it is written normally, the best assumption I can make is that it was due to the coin being under a piece of paper which was porous enough to allow the ink to pass through. Other ink marks appear on the obverse. Sam... is above the head and there are parallel lines by GI and something else (C?) by the ties.

Basing House was a mansion that was besieged by Parliament three times in the Civil War, the final successful attempt at its capture came in the siege of August-October 1645. There's a Wiki page here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basing_House

If the above is true, it therefore seems likely that this coin was once in the possession of someone doing research or writing an article about the siege, but no numismatic paper springs to mind.

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On 4/28/2020 at 9:22 PM, JLS said:

In practice I've never seen a forgery of one of those either, difficult with the corrosion and the copper plug, no-one sane would buy a unprovenanced "clean" example. I'd guess it would be much easier to make a quality forgery of e.g. an 18th century American cent or English civil war siege pieces, which in practice are issues you have to be careful with. 

I've got a James II tin farthing forgery - so amateurish that that N's are back to front ie the die sinker forgot that the lettering reverses on the actual coin.

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Large flan farthings of george III are quite common - I dont think quality control was very good back then....

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The flans for charles II farthings were surplied from sweden so it probably was not the royal mints fault they were a bit over - still its careless and must have cost the swedish compay that provided them loads - it was rhe last time they were used 1679 I think.

yummy coin by the way

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