George III Sixpence
My previous blog was about busy, busy Grant Maxwell, an administrator on Detecting Scotland.
I highlight another one of his finds, this time because of its rarity. He started out detecting with a Minelab CTX 3030 and is still using it about eight years later.
He said: “The sixpence was the first find on a Detecting Scotland dig. When I cleaned the coin at home I found a couple of oddities.”
In a twist to what we usually read when detectorists find something rather different, we learn that the coin was Grant’s first find at the rally and he discovered it after he’d only taken a few steps whilst walking away from the car! A clean-up back at home revealed a couple of oddities that made the coin not your usual 1816 sixpence.
One of the most important parts of any British coin’s design is its portrait of the monarch at the time, and there wasn’t anything unusual there. The date on the coin tells us when it was minted and this was when David noticed the first oddity – the shape of the first ‘1’ in ‘1816’ was most unusual! There are two views here with different lighting. Have you ever seen one like this before? Grant thinks that he may have picked up ‘more than he bargained for’ with his first signal.
If you look carefully at some coins, preferably with a magnifying glass if your eyesight is like mine, you can usually see the designer’s initials. But this coin had what appears to be the counter-stamped with initials that could be GB or GR, unless you know different.
Counter- stamping, for many reasons, was quite prevalent in the 19th century, but not always easy to identify. Generally, coins werestamped to advertise a business, to make a political statement or as personal identification. Maybe it was a kind of ‘test’ mark, showing that the coin was genuine. I’m no expert. Perhaps someone can provide a more valid explanation. And now for something completely different.
Somalia’s Crazy-Shaped 3D Coins
In 2008, Somalia issued the first 3-D coins to commemorate geometric shapes in mathematics: from left to right, the Pyramid, the Cube, the Orb, the Cylinder, and the Cone. The coins, made of copper nickel and silver-plated, have a denomination of 1 dollar, and bear the Coat of Arms of Somalia. The coins proved so popular with collectors that the set was re-issued in 2014.
I always thought of pirates when Somalia was mentioned, but now I shall also think of their extremely unique coins. But there’s more! Somalian ‘coins’ come in various sizes, shapes and colours. Some are car-shaped, some, bike-shaped and others guitar-shaped!
Somalia released a sports car series in 2010. The multi-coloured guitar coins were produced in 2012, and a collection of international map coins in 2013. Can you guess what the guitars commemorated? There are more strange examples like cars and motorcycles etcetera that really challenge the idea of what a coin is and how it should look.
Blame the Pirates?
A guy who once participated in anti-piracy operations in the area, tells me that the ‘coins’ were NOT minted by the Somalian government, but are simply souvenir badges manufactured in South-East Asia that were shipped to Europe. Somali pirates took them from captured cargo ships and for some reason decided to use them as tribal coins. Tribe chiefs had no assets to print or mint the real money, so they adapted these badges as money. These ‘coins’ are minted by private mints and sold to gullible collectors. They are (I understand) legal tender, but do not actually circulate.
There you go. So, its not really an official money but just some weird tribe stuff. I admit that I don’t understand the whole story. The situation in Somalia is, well, strange, and has little resemblance to what we understand by government. This BBC report may give you some idea. The shilling has been the currency of parts of Somalia since 1921.
Somali Shilling Depreciation
In September 2020 the Somalia shilling to US dollar exchange rate rose from 34,000 to 42,000 Somalian Shillings (SoSH) per US dollar, an increase of 24 percent. At the end of November 2020, it reached a record high of 46,000 SoSh per US dollar. See HERE about plans to rescue the situation.
I’m going off on a tangent here. The Somalian situation is difficult to fathom out. If you need more information, please contact Mr Google. Wishful thinking on my part, but I may have whetted somebody’s appetite for more. Politics not my scene.