Posts by Matthew Sotheran

The political scandal that created the 18th century’s most interesting coin…

It is hard to imagine a scandal taking place today where the political leaders of our country are arrested for causing the financial markets to crash. But that is exactly what happened when the ‘South Sea Bubble’ burst.

The ‘South Sea Bubble’ was a political and financial scandal that led to the arrests of leading members of Parliament and the near collapse of the stock market. From this turmoil one of the 18th Century’s most interesting  coins was produced. Let me tell you how it happened…

The South Sea Bubble

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A trading label of the South Sea Company

The South Sea Company at the heart of the scandal was a trading company with a monopoly on trade in South America. The company was heavily linked with the government of the day, and a number of MPs owned large shares in the company.

Because of their shares in the company, members of the government began using phoney insider information to convince investors of the huge potential in South American trade, and therefore the profitability of the South Sea Company.

However, once investors realised that there was insider trading taking place, the company’s share price collapsed causing a catastrophic loss of money and property.

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Edward Matthew Ward’s depiction of the South Sea bubble (1846)

Frantic bankers and members of the gentry who had lost their life savings stormed Parliament and the Riot Act was read to restore order. An enquiry found that more than 500 members of Parliament had been involved in the crash and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was imprisoned.

 


The South Sea Company Shilling

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Reverse of the South Sea Shilling

On the brink of collapse, the South Sea Company luckily stumbled across a horde of silver in Indonesia and sold the precious metal to The Royal Mint.

The silver was minted into coins in 1723 with distinctive ‘SS’ and ‘C’ notations on the reverse. The proceeds from this silver helped enable the South Sea Company to recover from the scandal and ultimately continue operating for another century.

The shillings struck with this silver are now almost 300 years old and are a relic of a financial and political disaster which shook the whole country.


If you’re interested…

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UK 1723 George I South Sea Shilling Blog ob 300x200 - The political scandal that created the 18th century’s most interesting coin…

Historic silver issues are extremely difficult to source, however we have a small stock of just 50 South Sea Shillings available for collectors. Click here to find out more >>

The United Kingdom coin struck in New York

Today I would like to tell you a fascinating story about a very limited edition United Kingdom coin struck in New York almost 60 years ago.

It is extremely rare that United Kingdom coins are struck anywhere other than in the UK, however the New York Exhibition in 1960 presented a rare opportunity for The Royal Mint to take their minting expertise overseas.

New York Exhibition

Still struggling to recover from post-war austerity, the height of Great Britain as the dominant trading nation of the world seemed a distant memory in 1960.

Britain was desperate to revive its ability to trade internationally and so the New York Exhibition was organised to demonstrate the best of British manufacturing to the American market with the hope of increasing British exports to the United States.

The New York Exhibition Crown

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The 1960 New York Exhibition Crown

A brand new coin was struck for the occasion and although it was somewhat overlooked in Britain at the time, it stands out today as one of the most interesting Royal Mint coins ever struck.

That is because although just over a million New York Exhibition crowns were minted in the UK, a very small number were struck at the exhibition in New York so that visitors could see the best of British manufacturing before their own eyes.

This limited edition coin was minted especially for the visitors to the exhibition and only 70,000 coins were struck – that is less than 7% of the mintage of the ordinary circulation version!

Could I own a limited edition New York crown?

Although they were struck with a specially polished die, there were no special mintmarks on the coins struck in New York making them extremely difficult to distinguish from the ordinary uncirculated version.

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However, as the ordinary uncirculated coin was somewhat overlooked at the time in Britain it too has a surprisingly low mintage – less than a fifth of the 1953 Coronation Crown and less than 6% of the 1965 Churchill Crown.

Some of the unsold crowns minted at the exhibition were brought back to the UK by The Royal Mint, meaning that there are likely to be a small number of rare crown coins which were struck in New York buried in collections across the country.

This coin played a key role in boosting Britain’s trade relationship with the United States, and the fact that a very limited number were actually minted at the exhibition in New York makes it undoubtedly one of the most interesting UK coins of the 20th century.

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If you’re interested…

We are offering collectors the chance to own the New York Exhibition Crown struck in uncirculated condition (who knows, it might even be one of the rare coins that came back from New York!). To secure your New York Exhibition Crown for just £19.99 (+p&p), click here >>

New UK coin released celebrating the Four Generations of Royalty for first time ever

The Royal Mint has today announced the release of a coin that everyone has been anticipating since the moment HRH Prince George of Cambridge was born on 22nd July 2013 – a coin celebrating the four generations of royalty.

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2018 UK Four Generations of Royalty £5 coin

This is the first time that all four generations of royalty have been celebrated on a UK coin. The last time four generations of royalty were celebrated together was in 1894 under the reign of Queen Victoria.

2018 is an incredibly special year for the Royal family as they celebrate a variety of important milestones including the Queen’s 65th anniversary of her Coronation, the Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday and Prince George’s 5th birthday so it’s perfect timing for such a special coin issue!

Here’s everything you need to know about this important new release:

The stunning reverse features an original design by much-loved heraldic artist Timothy Noad, and ornately shows the initials of the current four generations, E, C, W, G, and represents the heritage of the House of Windsor.

The coin is available in several different finishes, all with varying edition limits that are likely to sell out quickly. Here’s your guide to the new 2018 Four Generations of Royalty coin range:

Perfect Quality. Very Affordable.

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UK 2018 Four Generations of Royalty CERTIFIED BU £5 coin

The Royal Mint is releasing a brilliant uncirculated base metal version of the Four Generations of Royalty £5 coin. These coins have been specially struck and carefully handled to ensure that they are free of scratches and chips found amongst circulating coins.

 

 

Known as Brilliant Uncirculated (BU), they are available for £13.00 in a Royal Mint Presentation Pack or £10.99 in a Change Checker Certified Brilliant Uncirculated Collector Card.

Silver Proof – the Collector’s Favourite.

The Silver Proof £5 coin is firmly established as the most sought-after coin amongst collectors because they have all the qualities that collectors really desire.

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UK 2018 Four Generations of Royalty Silver Proof £5 coin

  • Precious metal content– struck from 925/1000 Sterling Silver.
  • Strictly Limited Edition– just 5,000 coins. That’s 3,000 less than the Sapphire Jubilee £5 Silver Proof coin. That had a mintage of 8,000 and completely sold out at The Royal Mint.
  • The perfect Proof Finish– even better than Brilliant Uncirculated. Proof coins are struck several times using specially polished dies to create a flawless finish with a perfect mirrored background. The ultimate coin quality.

Double the thickness. More than twice as limited.

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UK 2018 Four Generations of Royalty Silver Proof Piedfort £5 coin

For silver collectors looking for something even more collectable, the double thickness Piedfort edition is the pinnacle of Royal Mint craftsmanship, they are twice the thickness and weight of a standard coin. They also have much lower edition limits than their standard silver counterparts.

 

There are just 2,000 Four Generations of Royalty £5 silver proof Piedfort’s – less than half the maximum mintage for the standard £5 silver proof.

The Gold Standard

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UK 2018 Four Generations of Royalty 1/4 oz Gold Proof coin

For the ultimate limited edition, you can own the Four Generations of Royalty in Gold proof. This has been issued in two specifications: the Gold Proof ¼ oz coin and the £5 Gold Proof coin.

The ¼ oz is struck from 24 Carat Gold and just 1,100 have been authorised for release.

The £5 is struck from 39.94g of 22 Carat Gold to a flawless proof finish. Only 500 will be issued – 250 LESS than the equivalent Sapphire Jubilee Gold £5 that completely sold out at the Mint in ONE WEEK.

Due to its very limited nature, we will contact you directly to discuss owning the Gold Proof £5 Coin if you are interested – please complete the form below:

If you’re interested …

Four Generations of Royalty All Coins 300x200 - New UK coin released celebrating the Four Generations of Royalty for first time everYou can own one of the special collector edition Four Generations of Royalty £5 coins today, click here to view the full range >>