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 >>
The new 2018 Proof Sovereign has been released today, but you may only have days to own one. Let me tell you why…
We’re in the golden age of the Proof Sovereign. In 2017, the UK Proof Sovereign, issued to mark 200 years of the Sovereign, sold out at The Royal Mint in just 4 weeks, and in July, this year, the entire mintage of Piedfort Sovereigns sold out on its FIRST DAY of issue.
First ever one-year-only mintmark
Next year Her Majesty the Queen will celebrate the 65th anniversary of her coronation, becoming the first British monarch ever to do so. So to mark the anniversary, the Proof Sovereign features a special one-year-only mintmark for the very first time.
One-year-only mintmarks are only applied to coins for the most significant events and anniversaries and this is certainly an important one. In fact, it’s unlikely we’ll ever see a Royal anniversary as significant as this in our lifetimes.
22 Carat Gold Pedigree
The 2018 Sovereign is minted from 22 Carat Gold and it is this historical pedigree that makes the coin so admired and sought-after around the world.
It is also one of the finest examples of British craftsmanship. The exceptional ‘proof’ finish is the result of the coin being struck up to 4 times using specially polished dies.
The time and effort required to produce the frosted relief and mirrored background of the coin is why a proof finish is considered the pinnacle of the mint-masters art – and the most sought-after by collectors.
And with an edition limit of just 10,500 worldwide – the same edition limit as last year’s sell-out Proof Sovereign – the 2018 Gold Proof Sovereign has all the elements to be the most collectable gold coin of the year.
If you’re interested…
You can secure the 2018 Gold Proof Sovereign now, but you’ll have to act quickly.
Today I’d like to tell you the story behind my all-time favourite British coins – the Cartwheel Pennies. Not only are they the heaviest and largest coins ever issued for circulation, they were also issued for ONE-YEAR-ONLY. Here’s the story…
Throughout the 18th century silver prices increased, which resulted in a substantial decrease in the amount of silver pennies that were being minted. This led to a lack of small change and businesses were finding it difficult to pay their employees with the current coinage.
Subsequently, a trend began where independent Mints started striking copper half penny and penny tokens. Most of these tokens were being minted at the ‘Soho Mint’ in Birmingham, which was actually the very first Mint to be powered by Steam.
Whilst this was not legitimate money it solved the issue and it took off – companies all over Britain were ordering personalised tokens.
However, the ‘solution’ meant there was a problem…
The British Government had lost control of the coinage. In an attempt to regain control, they instructed Soho Mint to strike 480 tonnes of copper pennies and 20 tonnes of copper twopences. These were to be the first regal British coins of the denominations to be made of copper, and the very first official British coins to be struck using steam power.
8 times heavier than today’s 1p and 2p coins
The coins were large! In fact, the 1 pence weighed an incredible 1oz and the 2 pence weighed 2oz – that’s the same weight as a Mars Bar and almost 8 times heavier than the current 1p and 2p coins. At that size, it’s hard to believe these ever jangled in the pocket of our ancestors!
The coins weighed so much becauses they were struck in pure copper and their intrinsic value corresponded to their actual face value. Their design was simple – a portrait of the monarch at the time, King George III on the obverse and Britannia on the reverse.
The dramatic size of these coins and their unusually wide raised rim is why they became known as ‘Cartwheel’ pennies.
Issued for one-year-only
The ‘Cartwheel’ pennies were designed this way to prevent counterfeiting, but their size and weight made them cumbersome and unwieldy. They were immediately unpopular with the public as people didn’t like carrying them around – the two-pence was an INCH and three-quarters in diameter and a quarter inch thick. There were soon calls for them to be discontinued and shortly after, the coins were redesigned.
Due to the rise in the price of copper, the intrinsic value of the coins soon exceeded their face value and subsequently the majority of these coins were melted down.
This meant, the coins were issued for one-year-only, which automatically makes them two of the must-have modern coins and key coins in any British collection.
If you’re interested…
We have been able to source a small number of sets containing the original 200 year old ‘Cartwheel’ coins – the two pence and the penny. They come presented in a deluxe presentation case with an accompanying Certificate of Authenticity. They really are key must-have coins in any British collection.