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Brit Tip #15

More die numbers and letters.

As I stated in the last tip, die numbers were common in Victorian sixpences, shillings and gothic florins. It turns out that there were other die number experiments performed earlier on the bun head Victorian bronze coinage. These are extremely rare and highly sought after.

The most famous die character experiments were done on 1862 halfpennies. A letter was placed to the left of the lighthouse. At present, the following are known to exist (source: Michael Gouby's fascinating report, The British Bronze Coinage, 1860-1869):
Die letter A - 20
Die letter B - 5?
Die letter C - 8?
Die letter A to right - 1

Another die number experiment was made on pennies dated 1863. The die number is found below the date. These are broken down as follows (again, Gouby's paper is the source for this info):
Number 1 - none known
Number 2 - 4 known
Number 3 - 3 known
Number 4 - 5 known
Number 5 - 1 known

The purpose of the experiments is not reliably known. Needless to say, given that these can probably be easily forged, it is imperative to have coins like this authenticated by a reliable third party.

Posted on CU 12/19/2003