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Soho Mint - A World First!

Amid the considerable numbers of coins and tokens which Soho struck are the remnants and traces of a number of projects which, for whatever reason - and these were many and varied - didn't actually make it into full scale production. The evidence for these tends to be mostly found in the records - by definition there is not much metal to be found - but we must avoid the temptation to call them Soho's failures.

 

On the other hand, there is the Halsall Penny. This is very much an issued piece, but the question we can’t answer for certain is whether it was made by Matthew Boulton. It might have been, but that’s as far as we can go!

 

The early years of the United States saw a confused state of affairs with regard to currency. Some States issued their own, the Federal Government defined what the US coinage should be, but didn’t strike any, and there were large quantities of foreign coins in every day use. An opportunity for Matthew Boulton? Yes, but he was beaten at the political game. Chris Leather tells the story.

 

There is a story behind Matthew Boulton's declining of an order for a full set of coins, five silver and two copper, for the island of Antigua in 1806. We know what the pieces might have looked like from a description of what was wanted, but that is very nearly as far as it went. David Vice has researched what went on, and what didn't.

 

Most collectors who are interested in British Colonial Coinage will be familiar with the Barbados 'Pineapple' Pennies of 1788. The Krause and Mishler catalogue gives several varieties of these pieces, but the story is much more interesting than might be thought from reading the catalogue. Two actual and a third planned issue, no less. David Vice reviews the history.

 

A story which is not as well known as perhaps it should be is that of the Halsall Penny. Certainly it deserves its place as the first token of the Industrial Revolution, but possibly, just possibly, it might also be Matthew Boulton’s first venture into coining. Unfortunately, we may never know for sure. Chris Leather tells the story.

Coins for Antigua
Barbados Pineapples
The Halsall Penny

Murdock, Boulton & Watt are seen discussing their plans

in this memorial to be seen on Broad Street, Birmingham

American Cents