When this was minted, people still expected coins to contain their face value in metal. This is why this 2d, known as the "cartwheel tuppence" weighed two ounces ( 2oz ). There was a cartwheel penny from the same year which weighed 1oz. Copper prices rose enormously during the Napoleonic wars, which led to the 1806/7 pennies being lighter. ( There was no 2d at this time as the size was unpopular ). It wasn't until the great recoinage of 1816 that society finally moved away from coins holding exact face value to being more like tokens of value.
I have heard of cartwheel 2d and 1d coins being used as kitchen and shop weights long after they ceased circulation, presumably because thrifty people realised they were cheaper than actually buying weights. I also visited an English windmill once where the 2d had been placed underneath a vertical axle, to ensure the axle turned smoothly. Being made of soft copper it had squashed to fit forming a bearing.
I came across something interesting regarding this coin, perhaps common knowledge and maybe commented upon before here, but I thought I'd post it anyway.
Matthew Boulton, whose Soho Mint was the contractor for the striking of the 1797 and 1799 copper issues, wrote:
"I intend that there shall be a coincidence between our Money, Weight, and Measures, by making 8 twopenny pieces 1 lb, and to measure 1 foot; 16 penny pieces 1 lb and 17 to measure 2 feet; 32 half-pence 1 lb, and 10 to measure 1 foot."
The 1799 farthing conformed to a like rationalization, at ¼ ounce apiece 64 weighing a pound, and with each an inch across, 12 of them thus comprising a foot.
Did anyone else take note of one of these twopence being found in this season's premiere of the History Channel's The Curse of Oak Island? It was located via metal detection about a foot underground on property recently cleared of many years overgrowth for the specific purpose of being so searched. I find it intriguing that one of these should have been lost in Nova Scotia apparently a very long time ago. I don't see that any still images of this artifact have yet been made available online, but from what I could see it appeared to have pretty much intact rims.
I just watched that yesterday evening. It was a nice find I thought. I actually wasn't expecting a coin to be dug up, I figured it would be another spike or some other trinket. So was a nice surprise to see a coin.
Quote: ...there are shed loads of modern re-strikes. I also believe the original dies were purchased and various types were produced during the 19C.
That brings us back to the as yet unanswered question I asked earlier in this thread. Are there identifiable characteristics whereby such later reproductions can be distinguished from the actual 1797 issue, particularly in any case(s) for which genuine dies were subsequently being employed?
Real nice one. Now you'll have to search around to find out all the varieties of this coin. I imagine there must be publications or you can check auctions where varieties would be noted.
I believe the coin found on Oak Island was the 1p not the 2p. I stopped my TV, got my 1p and 2p and placed it in my hand as they showed, and compared it to the screen shot. It was too thin and small to be the 2p. My wife, to whom I often talk about coins, agreed that it was not a 2p. Gary may be British and a metal-detector "expert", but he doesn't know British coins. (he didn't know immediately that an earlier find was a Charles I (c1670's) farthing by the obvious bust, tsktsk).