Coins

Discover the coins that built the British Empire

The East India Company is living proof of Sir Walter Raleigh’s (1614) prophetic words: “whosoever commands the sea, commands the trade, whosoever commands the trade of the world commands the riches of the world and consequently the world itself,” as they rapidly became a trading force to be reckoned with.

And coins were one of the key ways the company managed trade across the globe.

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At its peak the EIC was single-handedly responsible for half the world’s trade, including cotton, silk, spices, opium and tea.

Remarkably, the East India Company is still trading today. And they have just authorised a set of limited edition Gold coins paying tribute to the most important coins in their history.

Here is the story behind the coins…

EIC 2019 Empire Collection Gold Proof Nine Coin Set Blog Images - Discover the coins that built the British Empire

Portcullis Money – 1601 (Throughout the Empire)

Ordered by Queen Elizabeth I to facilitate increased commerce on behalf of the British Crown and to compete against the widely used Spanish Real. These were the first coins issued for the British Empire outside of England’s normal coinage.

The Cartwheel Penny – 1797 (Australia)

The Cartwheel Penny was the first British coin to be exported to Australian Colonies. It was introduced to help curb Britain’s chronic coin shortage which was impacting economic growth. Specially designed to prevent counterfeiting, and the thick rim and inscription led to the pennies being informally named ‘The Cartwheel Penny’.

The Elephant and Castle Guinea – 1663 (Throughout the Empire)

The guinea is regarded as the most successful trade coin, exponentially increasing British and local trade wherever it was introduced. This Guinea was the first British machine-struck coin, and adopted its name from where the gold was mined from.

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The Company Rupee – 1833 (India)

The Rupee is one of the world’s oldest systems of money. It was adopted by the East India Company upon its arrival in the East, and soon became one of the company’s most important coins and means for trade. In 1833 reforms to the Indian weights and measures led to coinage in India changing from the Sicca to the standard ‘Company Rupee’.

The Rix Dollar – 1821 (Sri Lanka)

Great Britain sought to develop Ceylon’s (Sri Lanka’s) economy and increase trade to and from Europe. As a part of this aim The Rix Dollar was struck specifically for use in Ceylon. Designed by Benedetto Pistrucci, who is also responsible for the now iconic rendition of St. George slaying the Dragon which features on British Sovereigns. 

The British Trade Dollar – 1839 (The Orient)

To facilitate the trade of their most lucrative commodities, namely tea and opium a trading post in Canton, China was established. During the Trade Wars Great Britain found itself having to rely more and more on its own silver coinage, and this paved the way for one of the most distinctive silver British coins in numismatic history to be struck: the British Trade Dollar.

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Hog Money – 1609 (Bermuda)

In order to develop Bermuda’s prosperous economy King James I granted permission to mint coins, which resulted in the issuing of Hog Money, inspired by the wild hogs previously introduced to the island, it’s the first English coin to be minted specifically for use in North America.

The St Helena Halfpenny – 1821 (St Helena)

In 1815 St Helena’s economy benefited from the arrival of the former French Emperor, Napoleon, during his second exile, as the famous prisoner brought with him an entourage of British troops, effectively doubling the islands population and prosperity. As the economy swelled, St Helena’s first local coins were introduced.

The Nova Scotia Penny – 1823 (Canada)

Prior to the Canadian Confederation in 1867 many provinces issued their own coinage. However in 1823, without seeking official approval from the Home Office, the province of Nova Scotia ordered the issuing of coins. The coins, issued in denominations of one pennies and halfpennies, contributed to the expansion of local commerce in Nova Scotia.

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The 2019 Empire Collection

For this exceptional 2019 issue collectors will be taken on a journey to the far flung corners of the world. Retracing the steps of the East India Company, to discover some of the most significant coins which have helped build an empire stretching across three centuries from 1600 to the Victorian Era.

Finished to an exceptionally high standard, the 2019 collection truly represents the global resonance of The East India Company and these significant coins. There is no doubt the 2019 Empire Collection is going to become a future collector priority.


If you are interested…

Out of a Worldwide edition limit of just 100 we have a small stock of the 2019 Empire Collection available. If you are interested in owning a set – please complete the form below and we will contact you directly.

 

The 100 year old tin that was delivered to ‘every sailor afloat and every soldier at the front’…

As they left for war in Autumn 1914, the soldiers, and the country, believed that it would all be over by Christmas of that year. We know now that the brutal conflict was to drag on for another 4 years, but Christmas 1914 became famous for being the first respite from the war

Many felt the need to show give a small token of appreciation to those who had put their lives on the line. And so, on 30th October 1914, Princess Mary launched her Christmas Gift fund. She asked the public: 

“I want you now to help me send a Christmas present from the whole nation to every sailor afloat and every soldier at the front.”

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Princess Mary embossed on the top of the tin

And they did. Her appeal was met with an enthusiastic response, eventually raising over £162,000 (an incredible sum at the time). This led to the memorable Princess Mary’s Gift Box. It was a beautiful embossed brass box, 128 x 84 x 30mm (5 x 3.3 x 1.2 inches), containing one ounce of pipe tobacco, 20 cigarettes, pipe, a tinder lighter, a Christmas card and a photo of Princess Mary.

On Christmas Day 1914 alone, almost 500,000 Christmas tins were distributed to British service personnel. The boxes were sent to “every sailor afloat and every soldier at the front” in accordance with Princess Mary’s wishes.

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‘Christmas 1914’ embossed on the tin – the date the tin was given to soldiers

A large number of these tins were subsequently damaged in the war, with many being blown apart by shells or rusting away in the wet conditions in the trench. However, the boxes that have survived are now distinctive mementoes of the war’s first Christmas.

They are also absolutely fascinating historic artefacts  – each tin is totally unique and may have even been there in the trenches 100 years ago protecting a young tommy’s keepsakes. They each tell their own story, and just looking at them you can see the small bits of damage, the smells and stains that tell the story of how they survived 100 years to remind us of the soldiers who suffered the extreme conditions of the Great War.

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The Princess Mary Christmas tin

As the end of the First World War Armistice Centenary year approaches, it is especially important to remember those soldiers who would have received one of these tins. It’s hard not to think about a young tommy, sitting in his trench on Christmas Day, opening his Princess Mary Christmas tin as carols drifted across No-Man’s Land. 


If you’re interested…

We have 50 genuine Christmas Tins available and ready to deliver for Christmas, with 5 coins all from 1918. But with such a limited number available you will need to be quick to own this ultimate Armistice Christmas gift…

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Click here to order yours now >>>

How the new AC/DC coins have sold out as quickly as an AC/DC concert…

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Back in 2008, legendary Australian rock band AC/DC announced their first stadium tour in eight years ­ to coincide with the release of their new ‘Black Ice’ album – it was aptly named the ‘Black Ice World Tour’. 

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Angus Young on the Black Ice Tour
(Image Credit: Weatherman90 at English Wikipedia)

It transpired that absence had only made the heart grow fonder and all 18 dates sold out in record time. In fact, unprecedented fan response forced additional shows in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Oakland.

Another sell out

Now, 10 years on, the band are celebrating another record sell out. Clearly the appetite for all things AC/DC related has only increased.

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Official AC/DC Black Ice Silver 2oz Coin

An officially licensed 2oz silver ‘Black Ice’ coin was issued and the worldwide edition limit of just 999 was completely sold out before the coin had even been released.

The coin design features the ‘Black Ice’ album cover artwork, combining selective colour, high relief created using state of the art smartminting and a stunning black proof finish.

AC/DC’s legendary ‘Black Ice’ album debuted at No.1 on album charts in 29 countries and has been certified Multi-Platinum in eight countries. It’s easy to see why this coin is in such demand.

Record breaking

Remarkably, another AC/DC coin, recently Issued by The Royal Australian Mint, sold out in less than 24 hours – that had an edition limit of 30,000! I cannot remember anything from this mint ever selling out so fast and amazingly this was only available to collectors in Australia and New Zealand.

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The SOLD OUT 2018 $5 Silver Nickel Plated Coloured Proof Coin 
(Image Credit: Royal Australian Mint)

This highlights the huge popularity but also the incredible scarcity of AC/DC commemorative coins around the world.


If you’re interested… 

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Official AC/DC Black Ice Silver 2oz Coin

We have ONLY 15 of these hugely sought after Official AC/DC Black Ice Silver 2oz Coin available for collectors.They are totally SOLD OUT at the mint, meaning we will not be able to source anymore. Don’t miss out on the collector’s coin of the year.

Click here to check out the BRAND NEW silver AC/DC coins now >>