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
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.
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
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…
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 >>
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
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.
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.
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 >>
Four new Beatrix Potter 50p silver coins have been revealed by The Royal Mint. Flopsy Bunny, the Tailor of Gloucester, and Mrs Tittlemouse all feature for the first time on UK coinage – whilst Peter Rabbit returns for the third year in a row.
The four coins issued last year by The Royal Mint created a collecting storm when 30,000 Peter Rabbit Silver 50p’s sold out in just ONE day, making it the fastest selling and most popular Silver UK 50p coin EVER.
And now they’re issuing BRAND NEW designs for 2018.
Here’s a first look at the new silver coins, with details of when they are available…
2018 Peter Rabbit 50p
Back by popular demand is everyone’s favourite bunny – Peter Rabbit.
Probably Beatrix Potter’s most familiar character, the Peter Rabbit Silver 50p, which features the cheeky Rabbit eating carrots from Mr. Mcgregor’s garden, is bound to be incredibly sought-after.
2018 Flopsy Bunny 50p
This silver 50p, due to be released in March, pictures the loveable Flopsy Bunny – who, with thanks to her family, manages to narrowly avoid Mr. McGregor’s capture and later get revenge.
2018 the Tailor of Gloucester 50p
Available in April, the Tailor of Gloucester Silver 50p features the original illustration from the front cover of Beatrix Potter’s book. A charming tale of a grateful mouse who after being saved from a ferocious cat, goes onto repay his savior, a tailor, by working on and completing, the tailors waistcoat.
All four coins have been struck to a fine ‘proof finish.’ It really brings the designs to life – and is often referred to as ‘the collector’s favourite’ due the high level of craftsmanship required to achieve the result.
2018 Mrs Tittlemouse 50p
The last coin to be made available in May introduces another of Beatrix Potter’s creations, Mrs Tittlemouse. The charming tale focuses on Mrs Tittlemouse, a tidy little mouse who struggles to keep her home from being invaded by messy insects. The illustration featured on the coin is taken from the original front cover.
I’m sure you’ll agree, these four coins are the perfect continuation of the series, and really capture the nostalgic charm of Beatrix Potter’s original stories.
But if there’s one lesson you can take from last year, make sure you get yours early – before they sell out!
If you’re interested…
You can secure the Peter Rabbit 2018 Silver 50p today, click here for more information >>