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Coins from the Boulton & Watt Family Holdings

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collection of Bill McKivor,


A bit of explanation is needed as pertains to the coinage section. Peck, in his book "English Copper, Tin, and Bronze coins in the British Museum" (1960) made many judgments as to what was a "late Soho" restrike, and what was not. The dies went to Taylor, a coin dealer, who made his own "restrikes" from original and re-worked Soho dies that came to his hands after the closing of the Soho mint. Peck's conclusions as to what might have been struck by Taylor were based on much study, and cannot be put off lightly. However, Peck himself admits in his book, on page 229, that he at one time had all of his findings finalized -- only to have information come to light that moved some of the supposedly "Taylor" pieces back to Soho.

Many of the pieces that he lists as being "Taylor strikes" came to me from the Boulton family, in tissue wrap -- which was also used to wrap many of the medals and tokens I have received from them that easily date back to the 1820-30 period and before. Thus, I am taking a bit of liberty saying that the pieces below are "late Soho" strikes, when Peck says that some of them were not. The fact is simple -- they came from the Boulton family holdings.

The question is simple -- was Peck wrong, or did the Boultons somehow get a group of pieces from Taylor? The tissue wraps speak 1830's, the coins, via Peck, speak 1862 or later -- the biggest mystery being that Peck lists them only in Bronzed Copper in most cases, whereas only a couple of the pieces in the Boulton family holdings were bronzed. Most are in unbronzed copper, and are not listed thus, in Peck, or anywhere. Research has begun.

UPDATE -- May 2006. Sometimes the possible answer to a question floats right in front of one's eyes and it cannot be seen. Peck, in Appendix 10, mentions the visit of Matthew Piers Watt Boulton, the grandson of Matthew Boulton, to Taylor's shop---where he was "amused" watching Taylor remove old Soho dies from the fat in which they had been stored. It does appear that they were friends. Later in the appendix it is mentioned that the pieces struck by Taylor were limited, and were rare, about 18 of each being struck. The final line, however holds what might be the key to the above discussion, as it says that "Mr. Boulton will most likely not sell his" -- which implies that Taylor had given or sold Boulton some of his wares. This would explain how the present day Boulton came to have Taylor restrikes, and of course he would have believed they were all earlier pieces just as the tokens and medals released certainly were. Thus the coinage pictured may be Taylor pieces after all -- but the other undeniable fact is that they were held from new by the Boultons. Odd things happen. -- PLEASE NOTE, SOME OF THE COINS ARE IN MY COLLECTION, AND OTHERS SHALL BE FOR SALE. PLEASE INQUIRE AS TO WHICH ARE AVAILABLE ON ANY GIVEN DATE.

Photography by Eric Holcomb
click on photos to enlarge

The above Coin is a pattern piece, a later restrike of one of the first pieces produced by Steam Presses. It was designed by Droz, and used to present the King with an example of what could be produced in an attempt to gain a coinage contract. No contract was given, but some of these patterns remain. The originals are quite a bit thinner than the restrikes. Peck 1007, and very rare. This example, wrapped in its original tissue, is from the Boulton family holdings.

The two pieces shown above are patterns. The piece on the left is a pattern cartwheel penny of 1797, Peck 1142, Britannia wearing a plumed helmet, with olive branches on the reverse rim. The piece on the right, with the King wearing a crown, is a pattern halfpenny of 1799. Listed as Peck 1258, but in copper, and not bronzed. Both came with their original paper wrappers, and were in the Boulton family holdings.

The two pieces shown above are: On the left, Peck 1319, a 1805 farthing with the word "Britannianum" on the reverse. The piece on the right is a Peck 1278, a 1799 farthing in the original shells of issue. Both came from the Boulton family holdings with tissue wrappers.

The Bermuda Penny, dated 1793. SOLD. A lovely example, struck by the Soho Mint, and in a original paper wrapper. From the Boulton family holdings. A late Soho Restrike of a very popular issue. The reverse is a transitional one not used by Taylor.

The above examples of the 1790 Droz halfpenny from the Boulton Family holdings. Top left, Peck 989, Top right Peck 989, Bottom Peck 991. All came with tissue wrappers.

The four coins above are as follows: Top left Peck 1049, a pattern halfpenny dated 1795 by Kuchler. Top right Peck 1142, a 1797 pattern penny. Bottom left Peck 1148, 1797 pattern penny, and bottom right Peck 1258, patern halfpenny with a crowned king. The coin at bottom right was photographed through a "slab" and it is reproduced at the bottom. It is a Peck 1258, not a Peck 1260. This piece SOLD. All are from the Boulton Family Holdings and came with tissue wrappers.

The two coins above are as follows: Top left Peck 1260, 1799 halfpenny. Top right Peck 1260 (another). Both are from the Boulton Family Holdings and came with tissue wrappers.

From top left, Peck 1281, a farthing of 1799. Top Right Peck 1384, a halfpenny of 1807. Bottom left, Peck 1404, farthing of 1806, bottom right Peck 1405 farthing, 1806. Please note bottom row, date and most obverse legends double entered. All are from the Boulton Family Holdings and came with tissue wrappers.
As research is ongoing, input of any kind is welcome. Some of these coins will be for sale.

New Acquisitions from the Boulton family, 2007

Well, here we go again!! Another small grouping of coins were found, and I have purchased most of them. Some are quite interesting. At every turn the Boulton's insist that "this is the last group", but to the present they have found a few more every couple of years. I have been fortunate to have been able to purchase many of them.

Above -- On the left, another Bermuda penny, dated 1793. Identical with the one listed above, with the transitional reverse not used by Taylor. thus this one pictured is late Soho. SOLD The next piece is interesting. Late Soho, it was struck in 1820 in an attempt to gain a coinage contract from Brazil. It is a concoction featuring Hercules with a bundle of sticks on the obverse, a design originally done by Dupre prior to 1791, and the reverse a shield pattern by Kuchler, done in 1798. It was made to show Brazil the quality of the work, and not to sell the pattern used. The Royal arms on the reverse still claims the throne of France, something dropped after 1801. It is very rare, and the only one known in shells with an inscribed wrapper by the Boultons. $5500, Sterling, 2750.

Above: With shells and inscribed wrapper a proof 10 Cash coin of 1808 from India. this piece is absolutely new in every way with full luster. SOLD.

Above: A 1794 Bombay one Pice (SOLD). The second piece is a 1798 Sumatra 2 Kepings, slightly dampstained. Both came in tissue wrap.

Above: some Irish coins were included this time. The above, from the top pair, as follows -- a 1805 Irish penny, with shells and inscribed wrapper. Superb bronzed specimen. The bottom row a Irish farthing of 1806, slightly dampstained, with shells and inscribed wrap.

Above: A pair of Irish halfpennies of 1805, both as new but slightly dampstained.

Above: Peck 61. This is a pattern halfpence, 1797, from Taylor. Wonderful color, but it has some scratches below the chin on the obverse to and into the rim. Very rare item. There is no actual halfpenny of this type produced in 1797.

Above: Taylor restrikes (Peck 71, all) of the pattern farthing for 1797. No farthing coins were produced in 1797, but Soho, and later Taylor, produced patterns for them. All four are very nice examples. All are rare, and to find four of the same type in any collection is unusual.

Above: Peck 1075. this Penny is a Soho Mint pattern striking, small lettering around the rims. Quite interestingly, it has many file marks on the broad flat rims, which are adjustment marks. Most likely one of the first of this die off the press, and Boulton took it home. Being a small lettering type, it is an early piece. Pristine condition, with adjustment marks.

Above: A pair of Peck 1148 Penny restrikes -- 1797 cartwheels, by Taylor. Both in very nice condition.

Above: A 1790 pattern halfpenny, by Droz, done later by Taylor. Peck 997. Nice coin.

Above: Peck 1277 pattern farthing, 1799, by Taylor.

Above: A Peck 1258, pattern halfpenny of 1799 with the King wearing a crown. The next piece is a Peck 1260, pattern halfpenny of 1799, with no crown. Both are superb examples, and both are Taylor.

Above: Pattern Penny restrike by Taylor, dated 1805, reverse reading "Britaniarum". No actual coinage was produced as such.

Above: Peck 1328 pattern penny, 1806. In shells and inscribed wrapper. SOLD.

Above: Peck 1397, in shells and inscribed wrapper. SOLD.

To be added ... P-1370 and P-1281.

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