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Where Did This Circulate? 1804 George III Bank Of England 5 Shillings Token

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Valued Member
United States
116 Posts
 Posted 06/07/2021  4:17 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add newguy22 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I have here a pretty worn example of a silver 1804 George III Bank of England 5 shillings token. Researching online tells me that these coins were originally Spanish American 8 reales coins overstruck with the portrait of George III to compensate for a lack of coinage in Britain at the time. Pieces were struck from 1804-1811 with all examples dated 1804. Most pieces would be withdrawn from circulation by 1817-1818.

Being that my example is pretty worn (G-VG at best), I'm curious to know if these coins had circulated in other parts of the world at the time. I've read on a few forum posts on other websites claiming that many of these coins found their way into South Africa during the early 19th century through trade and struggle for British influence in the region. Would coins like these have been common on trading ships traveling to different colonial outposts back in the day?
Pillar of the Community
United Kingdom
592 Posts
 Posted 06/07/2021  5:38 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Hogarth to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Heavens, I've never seen such a worn example!
Yes, you pretty much have it covered, currency in the UK until the recoinage of 1816 after which they were pulled from circulation.
New Member
United Kingdom
10 Posts
 Posted 06/07/2021  7:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JohnConduitt to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Yes I think they would've reached the colonies. As you note, at that time (before Waterloo), coins were hard to come by even in Britain. That's why this coin exists at all - a 'dollar' minted in desperation by the Bank of England, not the paralysed Royal Mint, over a Spanish 8 reales because that was their only source of silver.

In the colonies, coins were even scarcer, so any coin - at that time worth it's face value in gold, silver or bronze - would've been better than nothing, perhaps even after it was withdrawn in its originating country. Australia had a long list of foreign coins they considered legal tender, but I doubt people limited themselves to those. British coins, like Spanish, were most used because you could trust they contained the right amount of precious metal - even 1 penny cartwheels contained 1 penny of bronze. Calculating the exchange rate for all these currencies was easier when you could go by weight.
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United Kingdom
629 Posts
 Posted 06/08/2021  04:00 am  Show Profile   Check PaddyB's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add PaddyB to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
A minor correction - the Cartwheel penny, along with all the British AE denominations up to 1860, were Copper, not Bronze.
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