Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

King George III Farmer George

4 June 1738 – 29 January 1820
What a stunning portrait of George.  The third king from the family of Electors of Hanover.  His great-grandfather spoke no English at all, except perhaps enough to order his dinner.  This George however was born in England, and spoke English as his first language. 
George had a large family, had a colony named for him..Georgia...strangely founded after the revolution, and went completely MAD for long periods, producing crisis after crisis.  The eldest son stood in waiting for the job and was often on the verge of taking the regent's position, but George always recovered, till finally he descended into near complete madness and his son became Regent permanently in 1810 till George's death.
 He was the longest ruling monarch till this time at over 59 years.  Known generally as Farmer George because of his interest in agriculture.  He suffered from Pophyria, producing oddly colored urine when he had a bout with the disease.  Some speculate that this might have been the illness inherited from Henry V's wife Catherine of Valois.
  George lost the colonies in America, or perhaps Parliament did. 
There is much "to do" about the German make up of the royal family...Hanover from the Georges, and Saxe-Coburg from Albert and Victoria, but in truth, the entire nation is fairly German from the Angles and Saxons in the early years and some of the Vikings...and English is actually a form of Low German if one is classifying them by descent.  The prejudice came to a head during the two World Wars when Germany was the aggressor.  Of course the Battenburg family became Mountbatten, and the Saxe- Coburg family became Windsor, taken from the much loved castle in central England.  By this time, the German has been watered down with the Queen mother, daughter of the Earl of Strathmore, Diana, a Spencer, and now Kate.
This is not the most spectacular coin, but I already have a George III coin.  I was having a bit of trouble getting a photo.  It is quite small and  a Maundy coin.  About Maundy coins.  They are coins passed out at church services on Maundy Thursday by the sovereign.  They are usually in sets, but often turn up as singles.  I also have been spending a lot of money on coins, So, I decided to cool it a bit and perhaps replace this later.  Still you get a sense of the beauty of the coin, especially on the reverse.  I will keep an eye out for a better one, and I am hoping for a 1776 date...Much as I like England, or in this case Great Britain or the United Kingdom, I still like that date, even if it did drive George MAD every time it was mentioned.

This 1797 penny was under $25.00.

This silver George III Crown of 1819 was a bit under $65.00

This George III 1797 copper  Two Pence coin was $41.00.
Here is a lesson for you to profit from.  This coin looked so nice in the brochure, but it was sold by someone who was either very crafty or someone who was very dumb.  I thought: "my what nice condition that coin is in."  But when I opened it up, it was obvious that something was not right.  It had been lacquered at some point in its life...well...back it goes
Well, That makes a total of four George III coins including the one I do not have the photo of.  It was just that good deals kept coming up, and each one was a better coin.  If they had been more expensive,  and if they had each been better coins, I would have stopped with the second...but...what a boob I am.
I don't even have any particularly like George III...I guess it must be that I like the movie,
"The Madness of King George"

Friday, June 26, 2015

Queen Victoria

24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901
For Victorian England, I would think that this reverse is spectacularly NEKKED.
There are several profiles of Victoria, from her very long reign, but I really like this one with the tiny crown that was made just for her.  I
t also matches the photo above from seven years earlier.
This 1889 five Shillings or one Crown was about $37.00

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

King George V

I know, I already had George V but I like sixpence, and I especially like the reverse design.  I am an acorn fanatic in art.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

King Edward VIII or Why Marry Such an Ugly Woman?

Edward VIII, the uncle of the present queen, was king from January 20 to December 11 of 1936.
I really have nothing kind to say about him.  Suspected of being a Nazi sympathizer, suspected of entertaining the possibility of a coup to take the throne back with Hitler's help...I saw the interview of the Duke and Duchess on TV in 1970(I think)..she treated him like a little lap dog...What an idiot he was!
I have not treated any of the other monarchs' consorts in any way in this blog, but I think this is a good place to make an exception.  Wallis was no beauty as far as I can see.  Perhaps she had a personal magnetism.  A funny line from the movie: The King's Speech has the future Queen Elizabeth, the queen mother, saying, "she evidently uses skills she learned in a brothel in Shanghai".....just a paraphrase mind you, do not quote me.
Anyway, I have never seen a picture that made me think she was worth losing a throne for until today.  Perhaps her looks were just unfortunate because of the fashions of the times...Although I do not see how that could be argued about the fashions for the rest of the century.  Anyway here she is:
Anyway, other than 8 gold coins minted as proofs, there were no coins in circulation in the UK with his face on them.  He departed from tradition and faced in the same direction as his father on the coins, because he did not want his "BAD SIDE" on the coin.
Here is a silver sovereign marked Newfoundland; a fantasy coin minted with his head on it but produced in the 1980s. 

 Several commonwealth countries and colonies minted at least one coin before the idiot abdicated.
The gold proof coin and a small run of thruppence test coins, really do not fit into the category of English coins since they were never in circulation.  Of the proofs, 6 are in museums, and two are in private hands.  One of those recently sold for 516,000 pounds.
Ten thrupenny bits were minted as an experiment. 

 A 1936 East African five cent coin.  No image, but this is a circulated coin in Edward's name.  It does not qualify in the collection and nothing will unless I come up with half a million dollars, as it was not circulated in the UK.  This coin was under $17.00.
OK, so why am I getting so into this Edward VIII coin thing?  I guess is that it is so famous a crisis situation.  God knows I think the man an IDIOT...Have I said that before?   The man was an IDIOT...I guess it is more convincing in CAPS.
I am in the caps mode, why not continue.
Probably no image because of the possibility of offending Muslim people in India...Just a guess.

Edward VIII Papua New Guinea Penny marked ERI for Edward Rex Imperator.  It was about $12.00

Monday, June 22, 2015

King George VI

This is not my favorite royal portrait, pale colors, ill fitting garments like a restaurant uniform, and it looks like he is a porter holding back those unruly flags with a scepter.
14 December 1895 – 6 February 1952

These are both stock photos of the coin.  I need a better camera to get a good image of my own.  the obverse of these two photos is more the color of mine in real life.
George had a stammer to beat all stammers, did not want to be king, lived through particularly trying and discouraging times, and died quite young...This guy deserves a second portrait.
I  do not know why I am having such terrible luck with George's coins.  What looks a little bit like light and shadows, is really uneven patination.  Don't hate me but I may end up cleaning this one.  It is not a valuable coin, and by the time it becomes valuable in 600 years, no one will guess that I cleaned it.  Just my luck...in 600 years this will be the last one on  earth and some expert will say..."well, this one could have been valuable, but it was cleaned!".

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Queen Elizabeth II the Present Queen

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926

You can probabloy pick up a sixpence for a couple of dollars at any flea market, but this is a particularly clean one.  The vendor said that there was a little die crack from the P in Pence to the edge, but I cannot see it.  Otherwise, it looks perfect to me.  This was under $11.00 for a 1953, her coronation year. Sixpence are no longer made. I just love the rose for England, the thistle for Scotland, the clover for Northern Ireland and the leek for Wales.
What a time to have lived.  She has been queen for most of our lives.  Few remember GeorgeVI and certainly there are not many in their right mind enough to remember Edward(The Fool) VIII except as children.
There have been sweeping exciting, fear filled and fascinating centuries and reigns in the past thousand years, but I think that this queen's lifetime has to beat them all for sheer action and change.
When she was born, it was not uncommon for people to be riding and driving horses, certainly many in England used candles and oil lamps on a daily basis, and now it is almost fifty years since we first went to the moon...all the Dick Tracy comics have come true and gone far beyond.  She has virtually no power, but still she influences the world and is a center around which much of our sense of continuity revolves.  What a girl...Like her or hate her...what a girl! 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Side Collection

With the great expense of buying these hammered coins, it was always a question whether it was a thrill to get one of them or if it was a drag because of the expense.  I wanted to get more coins, but I needed something that was less of a drain.
My father was American, born in Massachusetts, but he spent many years in Canada after my grand-parents divorced.  In later years, when he had married and was living in the great metropolis of Littleton, Maine, he continued to go back to the Kars and Hatfield Point area of New Brunswick, to help out his sister and her family with hunting(literally) for food and work that was not possible for her and her youngish children.
So, Canadian coins were very much a part of his life, including the fact that Canadian coins were part of the daily scene in the State of Maine, especially where I grew up on the eastern border.
I decided to collect a penny for each of the years of my father's life as a gift for my sister.  He was born in 1908 and died in 1955.

The Canadian penny has gone through a number of transformations, just as the American has.  We in the US have seen Steel pennies, Lincoln on the obverse, the Lincoln monument, Wands of wheat, Indian heads etc.

Here is Edward VII on a 1908 large penny.  These were made in this size till 1920, when both sizes of penny were available.
Edward pennies were available from 1902 to 1908.
Edward was Queen Victoria's son.  He was not considered a good candidate for king by Victoria, but once he was crowned, he turned in a very creditable, skillful and popular performance.
This time was popularly known as the Edwardian Age, much like Victoria's Victorian Age.  Cool, refined elegance in fashion and arts, unlike the rather florid and dark Victorian.
Look at "My Fair Lady" for an example of the style(interpreted in the 1960s) or "Upstairs Downstairs".(the first series). 
One might also get some sense of the time period in the "Anne of Green Gables"  books by Lucy Maude Montgomery.  Published in 1908, they really tell about the years immediately preceeding the subject Edwardian age, and perhaps the last in the series of books being more in this time period.   Traditional daily life did not change quickly, and you might argue that this lifestyle continued in rural places right up to the fifties in the Maritime Provinces of Canada.


In Canada, they change the coins with each sovereign; they have changed the size, sometimes two sizes at once and the design on the reverse has changed.
In the time period I am collecting, there have been four sovereigns.  In the early years Edward VII appeared...later came George V...then George VI and Elizabeth II.  Of course Edward (THE IDIOT) VIII was only king for a few months, and coins were not issued in that time.  There were coins issued in many of the commonwealth countries and colonies, but in England 8 proof coins were made, six are in museums, two are in the hands of collectors(one just sold for  516,000.00 pounds) and none went into circulation. 
There were also ten thrupenny bits made as an experiment.  I am not aware of any in Canada, though I have seen some from some fantasy coins of the provinces, like Newfoundland pictured below, but this one too, was a fantasy coin.  Those coins that were made featured Edward facing left.  The funny thing is that Edward chose to be depicted facing the same direction as his father.  The tradition was to do opposite directions in succeeding reigns.  He was concerned that he would be depicted using his BAD SIDE!!!!

Notice the variations in the maple leaves on these coins.

Here we have left the large cent behind and are using a cent the same size as a US penny.
Pennies from the mid 20s are quite expensive 1922, 24, 25, 26 can be a bit high, and 1923 can be through the roof as pennies go.
George said that he was always afraid of his father and that his children would also be afraid of him!  He famously changed the family name to Windsor, dropping all the German names and titles that Albert brought with him when he married Victoria.  He reigned from 1910 to 1936.  He was married to Princess Mary of Teck, a rather formidable woman, but they were completely devoted to each other.  His reign bridged the First World War, and his son was to bridge the second.


Here is the Edward VIII Newfoundland fantasy sovereign, obviously not a penny, but since this is one of the only examples of a coin circulated, real or otherwise from his reign, I thought I might as well include it as an illustration.  This one goes from $25 to $115.00.
He was king from January 20 to December 11 of 1937 but was never crowned.



So, here is George VI who became king on the abdication of his brother Edward (the IDIOT) VIII.  He is the father of Queen Elizabeth I and led a tragically short life after years of devoted service through World War II. 
George was depicted in the movie, "The King's Speech"  Never intended to be king, his speech impediments were never considered a great problem.  When the insanely popular Edward abdicated, Bertie(George) was completely unprepared, and overcame a number of issues including his stuttering.  He was never happy being king, and in the spotlight as he was.  The problems were greater as national and international media made him a household name, with pictures and recordings that were unknown on any scale for his predecessors.  They may have had faults, but I really admire this guy for doing the inspiring job he did, especially through the war years. 
He died in 1952, just months before I was born.


Here is the last one, 1955 Elizabeth I.  Canadian pennies are no longer made and are not in general circulation any more.
Elizabeth took up the throne in 1952 and reigns still at this writing.  She celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 2012, the same year that the pennies were discontinued.  Despite her Annis Horribilis, and many other media problems, she remains very popular even in her 90s.
The last pennies were minted in 2012.  You can find pennies that are copper plated zinc, and some that are copper plated Steel,  Obviously, the steel penny can be picked up by a magnet. The one in the picture above was for my father's death year at 47 years old.