At first glace the coin in our picture, a beautiful one from respected eBay seller GK-Coins in London, looks like a normal Spanish 8 reales. And so it is, almost ...
The small indented feature at the center of the 'heads' side (really called the obverse side of a coin) is known as a countermark. The Bank of England needed more coins than they had on hand in the late 1700s and early 1800s, so they simply punched their countermarks into readily available Spanish coins. Many of the countermarks use the oval design shown, but there are other shapes also, including circles and rectangles with clipped corners.
This extremely long-lived series of coins actually starts even earlier and goes even later than our title indicates. We have attempted to group together all coins of the same design, the same material, approximately the same inscriptions, and the same weight and size unto this page.
The coins discussed here all have several things in common. One side (the obverse) features a shield of 4-fold or 2-fold arms with a center shield of Austria in the center. The other side (the reverse) features a seated Madonna holding a child, probably baby Jesus.
These are neat old coins from Denmark. They sport the portrait of Frederick VII, who ruled from 1848 to 1863.
4 SKILLING: 0.015 troy ounces silver
16 SKILLING: 0.063 ounces silver
1/2 RIGSDALER: 0.203 ounces silver
1 RIGSDALER: 0.406 ounces silver
2 RIGSDALER: 0.813 ounces silver
(Thanks, Jennifer, for your thorough description of your coin. I wish more of our requesters were like you!)
The PCGS Coin Guide has a blurb on these tokens, describing them as 'among the most interesting of all early American issues'.
They were struck in copper by Dr. Samuel Higley of Granby, Connecticut. Higley had a medical degree from Yale College, but also 'practiced blacksmithing and made many experiments in metallurgy. In 1727 he devised a practical method of producing steel.'
He produced these tokens to accommodate a local lack of small change denominations, but oddly enough, in addition to the denomination of 'III' meaning three pence, it bears the whimsical inscription of 'value me as you please'. What a great idea!
These modern coins are worth face value. The design with a duckbill platypus makes them interesting. When circulated, these coins are worth very little, less than $1 US dollar. Only coins that are fully uncirculated carry significant value, as follows:
FULLY UNCIRCULATED COINS:
1966: $10 US dollars approximate catalog value
Those are two patus, a weapon and pounding club used by the MÄori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, on the reverse side of this three pence coin. The obverse, or 'heads' side, has the British ruling monarch, since New Zealand is a parliamentary state of Great Britain.
These coins were minted in 50% pure silver between 1933 and 1946. After that it was non-precious copper-nickel.
The coin in our picture is in beautiful uncirculated condition, and CoinQuest thanks SivesaCoins, a respected eBay seller, for use of the photo. It's a beauty!
You know, GT, here at CoinQuest we are basically collectors at heart. This is why it irks me when governments issue coins and then purposefully limit production to drive prices up. That's what South Africa did with this nice-looking 2013 2 rand coin. Unfortunately, it happens all the time -- all countries do it. Yecch.
And in the advertisements for this coin, they even try to capitalize on Nelson Mandela's death by saying he lay in state inside the Union Building. Double yecch.
These are valuable coins. The one in our main picture (upper left) comes from Kuenker in Osnabruck where it sold for 1600 euros (about $1800 US dollars) during a 2013 auction. Values can go even higher.
worn: $400 US dollars approximate catalog value
average circulated: $700
well preserved: $2000
fully uncirculated: $5000
John Kapodistrias ruled the Greek Republic between 1828 and 1831. He issued several coins using the phoenix and cross design, with a wreath on the reverse. Only the phoenix denomination is silver. The lesser denominations are made of copper.