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Letters and symbols on early milled silver

31 posts in this topic

I am putting together a very brief summary of what these symbols mean, but having searched around on-line for a while I am missing a few snippets of information. Chris's summary (on this site, link below) is excellent, but can anyone fill in the following gaps for me?

http://www.predecimal.com/p8milled.php

  • What does the * in E* Anne 1707-08 shillings signify?
  • What does the semee of hearts on George III 1787 shillings and sixpences denote (or the absence of same?)?

Thanks for any help!

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Coins 728x90

I am putting together a very brief summary of what these symbols mean, but having searched around on-line for a while I am missing a few snippets of information. Chris's summary (on this site, link below) is excellent, but can anyone fill in the following gaps for me?

http://www.predecimal.com/p8milled.php

  • What does the * in E* Anne 1707-08 shillings signify?
  • What does the semee of hearts on George III 1787 shillings and sixpences denote (or the absence of same?)?

Thanks for any help!

Oh and the castle that sometimes accompanies the elephant below??

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The 'E' indicates the coin (Queen Anne silver) was made at the Edinburgh mint.

The so called semee of hearts concerns the German arms of the King. Some have tiny hearts in the background, others don't.

And the Elephant and Castle is also a mint mark.

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I am putting together a very brief summary of what these symbols mean, but having searched around on-line for a while I am missing a few snippets of information. Chris's summary (on this site, link below) is excellent, but can anyone fill in the following gaps for me?

http://www.predecimal.com/p8milled.php

  • What does the * in E* Anne 1707-08 shillings signify?
  • What does the semee of hearts on George III 1787 shillings and sixpences denote (or the absence of same?)?

Thanks for any help!

I suspect the first has some relevance, the second not. You get with hearts coins that have a very small, but visible trace of hearts (I have one available if anyone is interested). The implication being that it is due to a worn punch in some instances, or just a punch without the hearts added.

In the case of the first point, I have never seen anything written about the star, but the most obvious reason would be to differentiate between the chief engraver at Edinburgh, James Clerk, and his assistant Joseph Cave. Taking the coins, the most obvious thing is that the crowns and halfcrowns have an E mark only and you would expect them to be the work of the Chief Engraver. That would then make the E* coins attributable to Joseph Cave. E* is rarer than E which would agree as the assistant usually engraves the reverses, though this isn't guaranteed. The 'Edinburgh bust' punch was probably made by James Clerk as the Treasury Papers for 1711 list the two of them making a shilling and sixpence obverse and reverse and puncheons for small coins.

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The 'E' indicates the coin (Queen Anne silver) was made at the Edinburgh mint.

The so called semee of hearts concerns the German arms of the King. Some have tiny hearts in the background, others don't.

And the Elephant and Castle is also a mint mark.

Thanks Chris, I was wondering if the asterix or castle symbols signified anything specifically?

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The 'E' indicates the coin (Queen Anne silver) was made at the Edinburgh mint.

The so called semee of hearts concerns the German arms of the King. Some have tiny hearts in the background, others don't.

And the Elephant and Castle is also a mint mark.

Thanks Chris, I was wondering if the asterix or castle symbols signified anything specifically?

I understand the castle was the mark of the Company of Royal Adventurers Trading to Africa (the Africa Company) whose gold was used to make the coins. The company collapsed in 1667 and its facilities were merged with those of the Gambia Merchants' Company to form the new Royal African Company. Whose mark was the elephant and castle. Hence coins after 1675 bear the castle (howdah) as well.

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I have both Shilling and Sixpence with E* Shilling being in Poor grade, but the * being quite visible, the Sixpence being in better grade. I think John Stephenson also has a Shilling with E*. I'm sure he told me that it was to do with the engraver, but i've never seen anything written about why the * is on the coins either.

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From BNJ Vol. 74, 2004 p.89 (H.E. Manville and P.P. Gaspar: The 1787 shilling):

"When the semée omission was discovered about half-way through the production of shillings and sixpences, six 'hearts' (actually more like check-marks) were quietly added to individual dies by hand - along with the harp strings and one or two small punchings - such as the Westphalian horse in the Hanoverian arms. Thus there are two major types of the Bank's 1787 shillings and sixpences, known as 'without semée' or 'without hearts' and 'with semée' or 'with hearts', so there is a sequence. And this should not be a surprise since the inclusion of the semée is surely a question of right or wrong, not an opinon of taste. A correct representation of the Royal Arms requires its presence and what we have is almost certainly a corrected error."

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From BNJ Vol. 74, 2004 p.89 (H.E. Manville and P.P. Gaspar: The 1787 shilling):

"When the semée omission was discovered about half-way through the production of shillings and sixpences, six 'hearts' (actually more like check-marks) were quietly added to individual dies by hand - along with the harp strings and one or two small punchings - such as the Westphalian horse in the Hanoverian arms. Thus there are two major types of the Bank's 1787 shillings and sixpences, known as 'without semée' or 'without hearts' and 'with semée' or 'with hearts', so there is a sequence. And this should not be a surprise since the inclusion of the semée is surely a question of right or wrong, not an opinon of taste. A correct representation of the Royal Arms requires its presence and what we have is almost certainly a corrected error."

Thanks everyone, great input, I'm really interested in this stuff!

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From BNJ Vol. 74, 2004 p.89 (H.E. Manville and P.P. Gaspar: The 1787 shilling):

"When the semée omission was discovered about half-way through the production of shillings and sixpences, six 'hearts' (actually more like check-marks) were quietly added to individual dies by hand - along with the harp strings and one or two small punchings - such as the Westphalian horse in the Hanoverian arms. Thus there are two major types of the Bank's 1787 shillings and sixpences, known as 'without semée' or 'without hearts' and 'with semée' or 'with hearts', so there is a sequence. And this should not be a surprise since the inclusion of the semée is surely a question of right or wrong, not an opinon of taste. A correct representation of the Royal Arms requires its presence and what we have is almost certainly a corrected error."

Thanks everyone, great input, I'm really interested in this stuff!

BTW is it correct to assume that the with/without hearts coins are as common as each other, so all things being equal, for a similar condition coin, the value would be the same either way? Or is one of variety considered more desirable than the other? Pre-1816 silver is really outside of my main area of knowledge (not that I'm an expert on even the post-1816 coinage...), but I've started to take an interest in the earlier Georgian silver recently, I guess I should really get hold of a copy of "English Silver Coinage"....

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From BNJ Vol. 74, 2004 p.89 (H.E. Manville and P.P. Gaspar: The 1787 shilling):

"When the semée omission was discovered about half-way through the production of shillings and sixpences, six 'hearts' (actually more like check-marks) were quietly added to individual dies by hand - along with the harp strings and one or two small punchings - such as the Westphalian horse in the Hanoverian arms. Thus there are two major types of the Bank's 1787 shillings and sixpences, known as 'without semée' or 'without hearts' and 'with semée' or 'with hearts', so there is a sequence. And this should not be a surprise since the inclusion of the semée is surely a question of right or wrong, not an opinon of taste. A correct representation of the Royal Arms requires its presence and what we have is almost certainly a corrected error."

Thanks everyone, great input, I'm really interested in this stuff!

BTW is it correct to assume that the with/without hearts coins are as common as each other, so all things being equal, for a similar condition coin, the value would be the same either way? Or is one of variety considered more desirable than the other? Pre-1816 silver is really outside of my main area of knowledge (not that I'm an expert on even the post-1816 coinage...), but I've started to take an interest in the earlier Georgian silver recently, I guess I should really get hold of a copy of "English Silver Coinage"....

In my price guides they are valued the same pretty much

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No disrepect but the are all as common as lambs droppings in April.As can be said of 1758 shillings,1754 farthings (not the 4/0) and 1853 farthings ( the incuse are rarer).Just avoid.I also have obtained over 10 1720 farthings

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ahh yes mintmarks.

is E* and E both edinburgh?

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E and E* are both Edinburfg Scott, the E* being the rarer of the 2 same coins

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E and E* are both Edinburfg Scott, the E* being the rarer of the 2 same coins

Yeah, it's like A and A* at exams. The As are getting so common everyone wants an A* now. :P

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E and E* are both Edinburfg Scott, the E* being the rarer of the 2 same coins

Yeah, it's like A and A* at exams. The As are getting so common everyone GETS an A* now. :P

Sorry Tom, I had to correct you...

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E and E* are both Edinburfg Scott, the E* being the rarer of the 2 same coins

Yeah, it's like A and A* at exams. The As are getting so common everyone GETS an A* now. :P

Sorry Tom, I had to correct you...

I think Tom was talking about employers, university admissions, etc....

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E and E* are both Edinburfg Scott, the E* being the rarer of the 2 same coins

Yeah, it's like A and A* at exams. The As are getting so common everyone GETS an A* now. :P

Sorry Tom, I had to correct you...

I think Tom was talking about employers, university admissions, etc....

And I think Cerbera was making the point that exams have become much easier.... 23 years of continuously rising grades :D

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And I think Cerbera was making the point that exams have become much easier.... 23 years of continuously rising grades :D

:D

Indeed! Even only 12 years ago I slaved like a b*tch for two years to get my one A*, three As and some Bs and Cs (total 9 GCSEs)... so when I see kids on tele every august saying 'I got 73 A*s, but the exams are way harder than they used to be" I have to laugh!

Oh, and mine were in proper subjects like chemistry and physics as opposed to david beckham studies and mucking out a horse!

Edited by Cerbera100

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And I think Cerbera was making the point that exams have become much easier.... 23 years of continuously rising grades :D

:D

Indeed! Even only 12 years ago I slaved like a b*tch for two years to get my one A*, three As and some Bs and Cs (total 9 GCSEs)... so when I see kids on tele every august saying 'I got 73 A*s, but the exams are way harder than they used to be" I have to laugh!

Oh, and mine were in proper subjects like chemistry and physics as opposed to david beckham studies and mucking out a horse!

LOL Far be it for me to criticise the exams, since I have a daughter currently in the middle of A Levels and of course she deserves her grades, but yeah. Sitting exams in stages (which you can re-sit to boost your end score), not revisiting subjects already examined ... exams are certainly different these days.

And I can't help but feel that things have also changed on the university front. I got into London with a C,D and E and went on to work in medical research on the basis of my degree (a 3rd!) Now no decent university is offering many places for less than AAB and increasingly they want at least one A*. On that basis, pretty much none of the people I went to uni with would have even been offered a place ...

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Perhaps this is one of those cases where 'the gospel according to the Daily Mail' is correct. There is no reason to suppose that one generation should be any more intelligent than another and therefore the fact that the average for university entrance in 1972 was DDE and is now AAB (or whatever) would surely point towards grade inflation. No axe to grind, but it does seem like common sense.

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Perhaps this is one of those cases where 'the gospel according to the Daily Mail' is correct. There is no reason to suppose that one generation should be any more intelligent than another and therefore the fact that the average for university entrance in 1972 was DDE and is now AAB (or whatever) would surely point towards grade inflation. No axe to grind, but it does seem like common sense.

Especially when you think that Uni admission in 1972 was for 'the academic elite' (the top 10 - 20% of schoolkids) whereas now it's pretty close to 50%?

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Perhaps this is one of those cases where 'the gospel according to the Daily Mail' is correct. There is no reason to suppose that one generation should be any more intelligent than another and therefore the fact that the average for university entrance in 1972 was DDE and is now AAB (or whatever) would surely point towards grade inflation. No axe to grind, but it does seem like common sense.

Especially when you think that Uni admission in 1972 was for 'the academic elite' (the top 10 - 20% of schoolkids) whereas now it's pretty close to 50%?

My son is also just coming up to his AS's and the grading is so different now days. An A* seems to be anything above about 85%, christ that was a B when I was at school. He also complains that the schools are just sausage machines, I said yes ok but if you are in a que of 200 going for a job it's still the biggest sausage that gets the job.

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Agreed

My eldest has been advised A+ plus and she is so laid back with earning £9 hour (including tips).My kids really don't have a clue...I blame Grandma :)

Laptops,phones,Wii,Kindle all supplied plus lifts to any venue and the full use of my Ebay account.Love em all lets hope they get preggies soon and bugger off. B)

Edited by Peter

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Agreed

My eldest has been advised A+ plus and she is so laid back with earning £9 hour (including tips).My kids really don't have a clue...I blame Grandma :)

Laptops,phones,Wii,Kindle all supplied plus lifts to any venue and the full use of my Ebay account.Love em all lets hope they get preggies soon and bugger off. B)

Looking for volunteers? :lol:

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