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1797 "Cartwheel" twopenence

£42.00

Obv: GEORGIUS III REX , George III bust facing right.
Rev: BRITANNIA 1797 , Britannia seated, with shield, facing left, holding olive branch and trident.
Heavy edge bruising.
Diameter: 41mm. Weight: 56 grams

The twopence is remarkable in a number of respects. It is the only pre-decimal base metal coin of this denomination, and it was struck bearing only one date. The coin had a most innovative design. It was inordinately large and thick, in order to fit Matthew Boulton's requirements to intrinsic value. It was one of the heaviest regular British coins ever struck, heavier than the five guinea piece. It has subsequently become known as the "Cartwheel Twopence". Because of its weight, it became very susceptible to edge damage, the pressure on the sharp rim when dropped on the floor being several tons per square inch. The incuse lettering around the broad rim on both sides was intended to foil counterfeiters as well as being a means to reducing wear on the legend. Much of this coinage was melted down around 1800 when the price of copper increased. By 1805, the intrinsic value of the metal exceeded the face value by about 30%.

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