The Only Silver Coin Issue for Nearly Half of the British 18th Century

The “Northumberland” shilling is more a story of the energetic and influential Hugh Percy, an important figure in the court of George II, than it is of a lone silver coin issued in limited numbers—3000 or fewer—in the midst of a period of nearly a half century without any silver currency coming from the mint.
Percy’s influence carried over into the reign of George III, the 22 year old grandson of George II whose reign began in 1760. In 1763, early in this reign, Percy now the Earl of Northumberland, was appointed Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Soon after he arrived in Dublin he had a silver shilling with a portrait of the young George III struck, a reflection it seems of his remarkable influence when one considers the absence of silver minting during this period.
This is the only silver coin showing the young head of George III issued during an era where gold coinage was the only thing that kept mint workers occupied. The total mintage is estimated to be fewer than 3000, and all of these were shipped to Ireland where Percy handed them out. They were not distributed to the population generally, but were handed out piecemeal to friends, colleagues, and new acquaintances over a period of time.
The design of the coin was also special. The last shilling of George II in 1748 and the 1787 shilling of George III were both typical low relief examples of coins designed to be produced in quantity. This 1763 issue has a fuller face portrait of the young king that shows up with an appealing higher relief and definition reflecting the gold issues of the time. The same portrait was used for the gold issues early in George III’s reign.
Most of the coins that show up now show signs of limited use. “Choice mint state” is a description that applies to very few examples. “Good Very Fine” to “nearly Uncirculated” seems to encompass most of what is available to modern day collectors. Some time spent in pockets or being passed around as a curiosity or casually placed in a drawer as a memento is probably the best explanation for why we see the coins as we do now.
Lot 84 in this sale is a very pleasing example of the issue. The “AU58” grade indicates a coin with all the design present and just the loss of some original luster, reflecting just a bit of handling.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019


How Bidding Works


Davissons Ltd uses a soft close for its auctions, which means no lot closes until everyone is done bidding. Every time a bid is placed within the final 40 seconds of a lot closing, the timer is reset to 40 seconds. This continues until no bids are placed for 40 seconds, at which point the lot closes. There will never be more than one lot closing at once, as the next lot is not allowed to begin closing until the current lot closes.

To bid: enter your maximum bid into the text box, and click submit. Only round dollar amounts are accepted. You are then required to confirm your bid. Once confirmed, all bids are final. If you have placed a bid in error you must call during office hours and speak to one of us. If you are the current high bidder then it will display “Current High Bidder: YOU” If you are not the high bidder, or if you are not logged in, then the current high bidder will be identified by their 5 digit client ID. You may find your client ID under the Account tab.

Bids are reduced automatically, so feel free to bid your maximum and it will be reduced to one increment over the current high bid. If a user places a bid that is higher than necessary to be the current high bidder on the lot, the displayed bid will reflect one advance over the next lower bid. For example, if a user "A" places a bid of $120 on a lot which opens at $100, "A" will be winning that lot at $100. If another user "B" bids $110, the winning bidder will be "A" at $120, one advance over the supporting bid of $110. If user "B" in this example instead placed a bid at $120, then user "A" will still be winning at $120 because they placed that maximum bid value first.

Increments can be viewed here. The next bid will always be on the next increment, so if a user is winning a lot at $100, or $105, or $109, the next bid will still always be $110.

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