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Which Era Is Your Favourite One For Collecting British Coins And Why?

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 Posted 08/07/2021  06:04 am Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Poll Question
Just out of fun and interest, which era of British coinage is your favourite for collecting and why.

I mean most of us will collect multiple eras, but which one do you seem to like the coins of the most.

I am doing anything sinister like harvesting data, just to see what makes us all tick.

PS the dates are quite arbitrary, I know not many coins were being minted between 410AD and 600AD. You explain in a post too if you like about mini eras (eg Charles I and Middle saxon pennies etc) if you like!

I have divvied up the Georgian era as 1816 was the big sea change to machine made coins of all denominations from the milled coins of the earlier period.

Poll Choices
  Ancient British/Celtic coins (To 50AD)
  Roman era coins (43AD - 410AD)
  Saxon era coins (410AD - 1066AD)
  Early Medieval (1066AD - 1300s)
  Later Medieval (1300s - 1500s)
  Tudor (1485 - 1603)
  Stuart (1603 - 1714)
  Early Georgian (1714 - 1815)
  Later Georgian, Regency (1816 - 1837)
  Victorian (1837 - 1901)
  Sterling 20th century (1901 - 1967)
  Early Decimal (1968 - 1990s)
  Modern Decimal (2000s - now)
  Not really a period person, more denomination or type of coins
  Multiple periods that can't be contained in this poll

Loving Halfcrowns. British and Commonwealth coins 1750 - 1950 and anything Kiwi.
If it's round, shiny and silvery I will love it.
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New Zealand
3189 Posts
 Posted 08/07/2021  06:20 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
My first choice is Victorian for 2 reasons.

1. It was the era of beautiful coin types like Gothic Florins and the "Old Head" coinage designs like the Shilling to Halfcrown and it gave us beautiful pieces like the Gothic crown along with evergreens like the Britannia bronze bun head coins.

2. It was the colonial period in my native New Zealand and coins of the Victorian era were circulating here in droves. They were part of our early commerce. Often a Victorian penny or Halfcrown in my collection was probably used in New Zealand some time before 1933 and likely 1920 when they debased the silver (Another reason to like Victorian coins = real metal content).

Other eras I am fond of are the Regency era, Early Georgian and Stuart along with the 20th century before decimalisation (The coins of Kings Edward and George V are getting up there with Victoria).

Clarification on periods


Ancient period - This includes coins minted in the continent that ended up in Britain and those made by British tribes, also any Roman Republican and early Julio Claudian pieces used before 43AD. I know the earliest coins were 2nd century BC Belgian and Gaulish ones and British coins probably only started around 100 - 80BC.

Roman period - Includes coins minted in Britain and those in other parts of the Roman empire used in Britain.

Saxon - Includes everything from 7th century Sceattas and Thyrmsas up to Pennies of Edward the Confessor along with Viking coins and foreign stuff used in Britain like Raedwalds hoard of coins at Sutton Hoo.

Medieval - I did 2 periods as the early one is mostly pennies and their fractions up to around 1350. I know there were one offs like Gold pennies and Edward I's groat - but later Medieval is the era of groats, nobles, ryals etc. I went into the 1500s as some of the coins up to early Henry VIII still look more medieval than Tudor/Renaissance style.

Stuart - I should have divided it into 2 period or even 3 (2 periods to 1662 and after it), 3 periods (to 1641, Civil War and Commonwealth and then post 1662 milled coins), but 15 options limited it and it gets complicated. Essentially the early years of Charles II (1660s) saw the big change to milled coins and the guinea system.

Late Georgian Regency - Really you could include Victoria young head types in these as they had lower mintages and the machines used to make them were more basic than post 1870s coinage. The 1870s was the big change to higher mintages and a more industrial output servicing the large empire of that era.

20th century predecimal - again a huge period that could have been broken down, but again lack of space - I empathise comparing Edward VII florins with those cupronickel 1951 ones of George VI is unfair - but I wanted to salute the earlies over the laties.

Early and late decimal, early could be the large size 5p, 10p and 50p coins and when most commems stopped at the crowns and the Proof sets. The late 1990s saw the rise of all the high priced commem coins, the silly proof sets and now the gimmick stuff like coins for the Who and Paul Maccartney along with popular bullion and royal theme coins like the Queen's beasts. I think you can all see how in the 70s and 80s, very little extra came out compared to the 2000s and 2010s.
Loving Halfcrowns. British and Commonwealth coins 1750 - 1950 and anything Kiwi.
If it's round, shiny and silvery I will love it.
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5390 Posts
 Posted 08/07/2021  09:44 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add kanga to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
WHEN I collected British coins (and that was 20 or more years ago) I limited myself to the KGVI era.
I was also collecting postage stamps from that era.
And in both cases it was the GB and BC.
I had about gotten to about the 90+% completion level in both cases.
Not surprisingly that last 10% was mostly high value items such as the 1941 Hong Kong cent.

All of the stamps are gone now.
And all the coins are gone now except those dated 1941.
I kept those as part of my birth year set.
Describe it as if there were no picture.
Picture it as if there were no description.
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United Kingdom
147 Posts
 Posted 08/07/2021  11:18 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JohnConduitt to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
This is a very difficult question, not least because I collect all of them! To choose, I've had to do a fair bit of rationalisation of something that is actually more emotive, but never mind.

I would love to collect more Pre-Roman ('Celtic') coins. Sometimes the coins are all we know about the rulers. I have a few, but they're so expensive in any sort of good condition.

The same is true of the Saxons. They had beautiful, mysterious designs, but it's not quite the same when you're used to collecting monarchs that fit into a timeline, and you get Saxon coins with descriptions like 'Saltire Standard Type 70'.

Series O Type 40 Sceata, 710-760

Wessex. Silver, 1.05g (S 807B). Ex Tony Abramson.

I love the Georgian era, specifically George III, because the mess he made of the coinage gave rise to all sorts of oddities and unofficial issues. But I don't go much for milled coinage simply because it's seems to be more about a grade rather than the coin, which is a bit tedious if you collect for the history rather than investment.

This 1804 dollar wouldn't even get a grade. One reason is the test cut. But the test cut is far more interesting than cartwheel lustre. It represents history - coinage was scarce and highly counterfeited, so people resorted to test cuts, just as the Vikings and ancient Greeks did. It shows someone from the time actually used it. And how attractive can a 'MS-70' George III coin be with his ugly mug on it anyway?

George III Dollar, 1804

Soho Mint, Birmingham. Silver (on a flattened Spanish 8 reales), 41mm, 27g (S 3768).

The period I collect most is Roman. You learn history through the coins and they're often cheap. Best of all, this was a period with a lot of hoarding. You can get coins found where someone left them 2000 years ago.

I collect any Roman coins found in Britain, which go all the way from the Roman Republic to siliquas of the 400s. Of course there were Roman mints in Britain too, and I'm working my way through a set of emperors with coins from London.

Antoninus Pius As with Britannia, 154-155

Rome or maybe even Britain. Bronze, 8.63g. Britannia seated on rock, resting head on hand (RIC III, 934).

But my favourite coins, this week at least, are those of the Stuarts. I don't even like the Stuarts as monarchs, but their history is intriguing and their coinage seems to be more directly linked to their tribulations than at any other period.

There are the farthings of James I and Charles I, which were England's first copper and bimetallic coins. There are Anne's coins made from silver captured from the Spanish Treasure Fleet at Vigo Bay, at the height of the Piracy Age. Charles II reintroduced both milled coinage and Britannia. The Stuarts experimented with tin coins to help the Cornish mines. James II produced his 'gunmoney' to pay for his failed attempt to retake the crown.

Best of all, there was the English Civil War. Not that I'm a fan of war, but it really made for interesting coinage. Parliament took over the London mint, and Charles I set up mints wherever he happened to be, often with loyal moneyers from the London mint. The coins tell the story of the war.

Hoarding even began in earnest once more, so we can again experience the thrill of collecting coins hastily abandoned by someone in the midst of history actually happening and untouched ever since.

Charles I Siege Ninepence, 1645

Newark. Silver klippe (S 3144). Struck in the Royalist town of Newark, Nottinghamshire, in the middle of a siege, to pay for the army and their supplies. It was made from silver 'donated' by local Royalists to Charles I's cause. The flan was square as it was more easily made under the conditions of a siege - they just cut up the silverware.
Edited by JohnConduitt
08/07/2021 12:28 pm
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 Posted 08/07/2021  11:24 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Wow John - really great answer and some stunning coins of all those eras.
Loving Halfcrowns. British and Commonwealth coins 1750 - 1950 and anything Kiwi.
If it's round, shiny and silvery I will love it.
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United Kingdom
147 Posts
 Posted 08/07/2021  12:27 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JohnConduitt to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thank you. It's a good question to answer, as it highlights how many great British coins there are to collect from every era.
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United Kingdom
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 Posted 08/07/2021  1:17 pm  Show Profile   Check PaddyB's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add PaddyB to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I too cannot come up with a single answer to this query, and like JohnConduitt I do my best to collect all British coins. I have most of the milled coinage post 1816 in pretty decent condition and much of the milled back to 1656 in acceptable condition. I will take in anything that fills a gap or achieves an upgrade in these eras. My funds are focussed recently on the Saxon kings because the designs are so individual and they are so difficult to find in reasonable condition.
So:
1. Saxon because of the above and I yearn to have at least one of each monarch.
2. Milled from 1656 to 1816 (this cuts across several of the suggested categories) because these are the best designs in my view and I still have some gaps to fill.
3. Late Georgian, Regency and Victorian (1816 to 1901) because the designs are so good and upgrades are always pleasing.

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United Kingdom
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 Posted 08/07/2021  2:29 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JohnConduitt to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I have most of the milled coinage post 1816 in pretty decent condition and much of the milled back to 1656 in acceptable condition.


PaddyB, that sounds like quite a collection. When you say most coinage, what do you try to cover - denominations, years, varieties, commemoratives, maundy, gold etc? Even just one of every non-gold circulating denomination for each monarch would be incredibly impressive.
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 Posted 08/07/2021  3:43 pm  Show Profile   Check PaddyB's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add PaddyB to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks John.
My target has been one of every circulation milled denomination in every year produced - silver and copper/bronze, but not gold. I have gathered some varieties - mostly in the pennies/halfpennies/farthings area. I don't do Maundy, but I have got most of the threepences and fourpences pre-1800 as I treat those as circulation as I believe they were. I probably ought to extend to twopences and silver pennies pre-1800 too, but I rather lost enthusiasm for that series. I have included the fractional farthings, threehalfpences etc as I find them fascinating and have all of them now.
Decimal coinage - I used to keep right up to date, but recently the volume of commemoratives has put me off - particularly with the 5 coins.
Back to 1816 I am currently missing about 20 coins - the 1934 Crown is one, along with the scarcest Halfcrowns (1839 and 1841), florins (1854, 1863), shillings (1850, 1854), sixpences (1854, 1848) and most of the "colonial only" threepences.

I got to about this point about 10 years ago, and have been upgrading occasionally since then. To give myself something else to do I set about the hammered coins - just one of each monarch and I have all but two monarchs back to William I, and then 8 Saxon kings of Wessex/England before that.

So yes, quite a few! But adding anything new has become a rare event.

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 Posted 08/07/2021  5:08 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Hogarth to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
It's difficult for me to select from the list you've provided.
1603-1714 doesn't work as a category because while it may be a clear(ish) period in the history of the English monarchy it isn't in terms of numismatics (hammered, plus Commonwealth, plus the milled recoinage?). Early/later Georgian also don't work as selections. The recoinage under Boulton which began in the 1790s, in design and quality, has much more in common with the new coinage of 1816 than the issues of the earlier 18th century.
Anyway, what appeals to me, what has always appealed to me, is the early milled coinage of 1660 to 1820. I don't think I'll ever tire of the beauty, and in some cases beautiful simplicity, of some of those designs.
Edited by Hogarth
08/07/2021 6:03 pm
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United Kingdom
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 Posted 08/07/2021  6:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JohnConduitt to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That's pretty amazing, Paddy. I contemplated one of each denomination per monarch, but even that proved too daunting.

Yes I read somewhere that distinct Maundy money was struck from 1752. I made a note of it so I could avoid it!

I'm also going for one per monarch. I don't know what I'll do about Edward V. It's not even a simple task working out which coins are his - boar's head and sun/rose mintmarks or not.

8 Saxon kings is really good going, particularly if you're focusing on England and Wessex. That must be most of the kings that issued any serious volume of coins. I will aim to get back to Alfred, but before that I've gone for Mercia and Northumbria, the former because I collect coins from the London mint (which came under Mercia) and the latter because they're much easier!
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 Posted 08/07/2021  6:48 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add JohnConduitt to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
1603-1714 doesn't work as a category because while it may be a clear(ish) period in the history of the English monarchy it isn't in terms of numismatics (hammered, plus Commonwealth, plus the milled recoinage?). Early/later Georgian also don't work as selections. The recoinage under Boulton which began in the 1790s, in design and quality, has much more in common with the new coinage of 1816 than the issues of the earlier 18th century.

Yes there were always going to be problems with the dividing lines. You could quite easily just lump all Georgian coins together, not least because until Matthew Boulton turned up, The Royal Mint didn't produce much at all. Even the 1804 dollar I posted was struck by Boulton.

To me, the 1603-1714 category is more logical than it seems. The whole point of collecting this period is the revolution in numismatics accompanied by massive political upheaval. There was experimentation in both, fed by each other, much of which didn't work out.

As far as milled coins go, that experiment was revived under Charles I (with Nicholas Briot), again under Oliver Cromwell (with Thomas Simon, a Briot student) and finally under Charles II (with Thomas Simon again, and the Roettiers brothers). You could even argue for extending the category back to Eloye Mestrelle in 1562, who started it all, and whose coins have a lot more in common with Queen Anne's than Edward III's. And for much of this period, hammered coins were struck alongside the milled, sometimes engraved by the same designers.

So I would say the coinage from 1603-1714 fits together a lot better than the politics, not the other way around.
Edited by JohnConduitt
08/07/2021 7:06 pm
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 Posted 08/07/2021  9:13 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add oriole to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am most partial to the sterling era, during the eras of circulating silver, 1837-1946. That, and the large copper pennies, whether regal or tokens, the crown jewel being the 1797 2 pence monsters.
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 Posted 08/08/2021  02:58 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Princetane to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
John - I agree, designing periods to choose would never be easy and of course the ones chosen are probably biased on my part. The idea for them and the poll came from me listing another Late Victorian silver coin on the British acquisitions thread and then realising a pattern that most of my recent buys are coins of similar vintage (1880 - 1920).

I mainly collect Florins and Halfcrowns as I have only been serious since late 2019 and given I have a limited income, yet have brought some expensive and nice pieces like the Commonwealth and some Stuart era Halfcorwns along with Gothic Florins and a range of Australian and Fijian silver rarities- are still at the beginning of my journey.

At this stage it is a lot of Victorian and early 20th century coins as they are affordable in my income bracket and there is a fairly large supply of them. As I get more and more of them, I am now finding supplies are getting lower and I have started upgrading coins, but slowly as high grade coins before KGV are few and far between. By high grade I mean gVF and better generally.

I will probably branch into shillings and sixpences soon and even start looking at coins before the milled era. I think its just a matter of time and money before this happens.

Ideally I would like to have the lions share of post 1816 coinage, then post 1662 and finally start on the medieval stuff (Groats and pennies are not that easy to find in New Zealand, yet Late Georgian and Victorian coins are).

After the middle ages, I will then branch into the ancient and Saxon eras.
Loving Halfcrowns. British and Commonwealth coins 1750 - 1950 and anything Kiwi.
If it's round, shiny and silvery I will love it.
Edited by Princetane
08/08/2021 03:00 am
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 Posted 08/08/2021  7:59 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add vonigohcr to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I don't really collect eras but focus on types... I personally like large sized coins so I focus on pre-decimal Crowns, Double Florins and Cartwheels. I also have a thing for Sovereigns as that is what started me down this road over a half century ago when my grandfather gave me an uncirculated Sovereign from my birth year...

I recognize that being of modest means and also having moved to North America that this lifelong pursuit will unlikely culminate in a complete set, it is difficult to get hands on some of the more uncommon coins... regardless of condition at reasonable prices, but it is the hunt that satisfies
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 Posted 08/08/2021  9:06 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Sap to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
While I collect across all the eras in the poll, my "favourite" coins to collect are the Victorian-era coins, mainly for the reasons Princetane already highlighted: they are, in my opinion, the zenith of coin artistic design. For example, just grab any old "jubilee" halfcrown in a moderately good grade and look at it with high magnification. So much detail everywhere you look, it's like exploring another planet.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis
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