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.
The Royal Mint has confirmed the release of the LOWEST EVER edition limit for a Silver Proof Piedfort £5 Coin.
This release marks HRH the Duke of Edinburgh’s record-breaking 70 years of service to Her Majesty the Queen and the United Kingdom and comes on the heels of the standard £5 Silver Proof’s 24 hour recent sell out.
Piedfort coins are the pinnacle for serious collectors. Struck on superior double-thickness blanks finished to the very highest proof standard, they are always popular and usually sell-out at the Mint quickly upon release.
Importantly, it coin has been strictly limited to just 1,250 pieces worldwide, a tiny amount, especially when you consider the popularity of the other specifications. In fact, it’s actually the lowest EVER edition limit for a UK £5 Piedfort coin.
We expect a full sell-out. And fast.
The UK Prince Philip Silver Piedfort will be available from 10th November but can be pre-ordered now.
If you’re interested…
On the 20th November, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh will celebrate their Platinum Wedding Anniversary – that’s an incredible 70 years of marriage and a first in British royal history. To mark this important milestone, The Royal Mint has released a brand new £5 coin in tribute to the longest marriage in royal history.
The obverse features a special double portrait of the royal couple by sculptor Etienne Millner. The traditional design depicts Her Majesty wearing a royal coronet and Prince Philip shown in the supporting position of a royal consort.
Two reverse designs
Artist John Bergdahl has created two reverse designs, the equestrian design and the double shield design.
The first design depicts Her Majesty and Prince Philip at the Trooping the Colour. The Queen is riding her favourite horse Burmese.
Over the years, designs that feature mounted figures have become a traditional way to mark important royal occasions, such as the Golden and Diamond Jubilee £5 Coins…
The second design, the double shield, was inspired by the official programme of events for state occasions at the time that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh were married. It comprises double arms which depict the heraldic lineage of both families at the time of their union.
Available in precious metal and base metal, here’s your guide to the new 2017 United Kingdom Platinum Wedding Anniversary £5 coin range.
Perfect Quality. Very Affordable.
The Royal Mint is releasing a brilliant uncirculated base metal version of the Platinum Wedding Anniversary £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.
Precious metal content – struck from 925/1000 Sterling Silver
Strictly Limited Edition – just 15,000 coins. The Sapphire Jubilee Silver £5 with an edition limit of 8,000 sold out in just one week. This one looks to sell out quickly too.
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.
The Gold Standard
For the ultimate limited edition, a Gold Proof coin has also been issued. Struck in 22 carat Gold, just 1,250 individual coins have been authorised for release.
If you’re interested …
You can own one of the special Collector Edition UK Platinum Wedding Anniversary Coins today.