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    Unique Pattern Groat - Ex Carlyon-Britton

    AS37, Lot 143:

    Henry VIII. 1509-1547. AR groat (Unique pattern; Tournai die). 2.82 gm. 26 mm. First Coinage. 1509-1526. London. Crowned portcullis over T / Crowned portcullis i.m (lis in reverse forks). Profile crowned bust of Henry VII right; pellet in field behind head; HENRIC VIII DI GRA REX AGL Z FR; saltire stops; struck from a die originally prepared for Tournai groat / Long cross over shield, lis in forks; POSVI | DEV' x A | DIVTOR | E MEV; double saltire stop between E & M. S. 2316. N. 1762. Stewartby p. 437 (iii). Whitton, p 207 (iii) var. Good Extremely Fine.

    Ex Carlyon-Britton. Tag by C.B. describing issue. He considers this a unique pattern.

    Cf. BNJ Vol XXVIII (1955-57), p. 203 for R. Carlyon-Britton on this issue.

    This piece illustrated on plate XIII accompanying Whitton's article in The British Numismatic Journal, 1950. Whitton notes "It may justly be called a trial piece."

    Ex Motcomb (Morton and Eden, 2016).

    Tournai, one of Belgium’s oldest cities, sits about fifty miles southwest of Brussels, its history reflecting the forces that flowed back and forth across Europe for centuries. For a while, it was claimed by Henry VIII. England captured it in 1513 in one in the series of Renaissance or Italian Wars. In 1518 the Treaty of London returned the city to French rule.

    During those few years of occupancy, English style groats with a Gothic T mintmark were issued at Tournai, though the dies were made at the Tower of London. Few have survived and decent examples show up infrequently.

    This group of three coins represents the changeover in coinage and proposed subsequent use of the dies. R. Carlyon-Britton, a major collector and scholar of British coins in the middle of the 20th century, published an article in the 1955-1957 analyzing the re-use of Tournai dies for English issues by overstriking the mintmarks with a portcullis.

    Carlyon-Britton considered one of the pieces listed here a pattern. The reverse has a lis in each of the forks and he considered it unique. Whitton agrees calling it “a trial piece.” Stewartby comments that the trefoils may have been to discriminate the Tournai issue from regular Tower issues.

    Carlyon-Britton notes that the other coin is known by only one or two other additional examples. Stewartby notes that these coins with an overstruck mintmark are “very rare” but does not address Carlyon-Britton’s numbers.

    Such definitive collections as Murdoch and Lockett did not have examples of these overstruck mintmark pieces.

    Lot 337 below: The English came back to Tournai beginning with a seventy day siege by the Duke of Marlborough in late June, 1709 during the War of Spanish Succession. The city issued an emergency square siege coinage with the image of Marechal de Surville, city commander.

  2. In cart, not held Being held Reserved in cart Sold Purchased Watching  
    AS37, Lot 278:

    IRELAND. Charles I. 1625-1649. AR siege twopence. .93 gm. 14 mm. Ormonde Siege coinage. (1643). C ◆ R crowned, ◆ in the field left. Crown; left arch touches inner circle; C: thicker lines, top serif curves outward, lower part ends in a blunt point. R: thicker lines, extended leg does not cross inner circle, ends in a curve / II, small D above, all within inner circle; thick numerals, slightly out-of line with one another, small D above; all within inner circle. S. 6550. D&F 311. Very Fine; well centered on a generous flan; slight roughness; overall attractive and very rare.

    Purchased during a visit to Seaby in the 1990s.

    Arguably one of the finest known; the piece in the 2000 Millenial sale (Whytes) has been heavily scored on the obverse; the Lockett piece is very small with the arches of the crown reaching the edge of the coin on what is essentially an undersized flan. Among the few other examples I found offered in the last decade this one combines the best centering and completeness of detail as much or more than any other including the Stack's Tallent piece (April 2008) which sold for $4000. That piece was partly struck off the flan and the obverse crown was cruder.

    The Ormonde Siege Coinage of 1643-1644

    Royalist issue in Ireland during The Great Rebellion

    Why so many varieties and next to no efforts to classify the types? I have been puzzling over this ever since we began working with Bruce Ormond’s collection. You can see the result—awkward efforts to describe die varieties for the pieces listed in this sale.

    Compared to most other British coin series, little has been written about this extensive Irish issue.

    • James Simon in his Essay (Dublin, 1810) devotes a bit over a half page to the issue commenting that “It appears…that his majesty still designed to restore the royal mint in Dublin, but that it was prevented by the troubles in England.” After listing the denominations he quotes a 1743 publication that “About one hundred and twenty thousand pounds worth of plate was coined at this time.” The amount of coinage minted and the great variety of dies suggest that the dies had short lives.

    • Lindsay in his 1839 Coinage of Ireland devotes one brief paragraph to the series.

    • The Spink Standard Catalog, Coins of Scotland, Ireland and the Islands… gives the series two thirds of one page, a single line introduction, a list of one each of the denominations and, at the bottom in small print, a single line note: “For varieties, see Aquilla Smith, ‘On the Ormonde Money.’ PRSAI (1854)

    This series shows great variation in the size and nature of each of the main elements of the coin. I have gone through a substantial number of images of Ormonde pieces and can see why no one (apparently) has ever done any kind of die study. If you look up the Aquilla Smith article you will see a single page of drawn images related to the series but no effort to create a listing of variations.

    I have spent hours reviewing images of Ormonde pieces that have been offered over the past few years. At best, the parameters I have come up with are general: are the design elements thick or thin, small or tall, within or breaching the inner circle, punctuated or not. Is the placement of the elements in relation to one another centered (or “plumb”). There are broken dies, and many uneven strikes.

    The variation is fascinating in itself and like much else in the Irish series, it speaks volumes about life and the Irish economy at the time. The collection offered here was put together by a descendant of the original Ormonde. In addition to representing all the denominations (including the extremely rare twopence), the group gives you an introduction to the variety of dies and strikings in the series.

    Ormonde weight standards (just under Tower standards):

    Crown: (456 grn) 29.55 gm Half crown: (228 grn) 14.8 gm Shilling: (91.2 grn) 5.9 gm Sixpence: (45.6 gr) 2.95 gm Groat: (30.4 grn) 1.97 gm Threepence: (22.2 grn)1.43 gm Twopence: (15.2 grn) .98 gm


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