The use of coins in Britain dates back thousands of years to Celtic tribes who produced their own coins. Their currency was the gold Stater and the silver and bronze Unit's. Later during 43 A.D. the Romans began their conquest of England and brought their own coins. After the Romans we move on to the early and middle Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms. Each kingdom minted their own coins and they did so by placing precut thin metals blanks called planchets into coin dies. The lower die would be set into a block and then the top die would be hammered down, squeezing the planchet in between, imprinting it with the required design. These coins are referred to as hammered coins.
The period of use for hammered coins is from around 600 A.D. to 1662 A.D. when milled (machine minted) coins became the norm. The first milled coins in Britain were actually produced during Queen Elizabeth's reign in 1561 when a French moneyer called Eloye Mestrelle introduced his method of using a screw press which was powered by a horse. It is very similar to how some mills ground their grain so this method was nicknamed "mill money" and this is where we get the term milled coins. These coins were of superior quality but they soon lost favour as many workers were worried about losing their jobs due to the introduction of these "machines" and hammered coins were still faster to produce.
We don't see milled coins being produced again for circulation until the era of Oliver Cromwell. Some collectors focus on hammered coins other on milled, some on both. Milled coins offer a wide variety of choices and types to collect and many collections would take a lifetime to complete. The great thing about coin collecting is that you can choose the focus of your collection whether it be Pennies, Crowns, coins from Queen Victoria's era or just a mixture of nice coins.
The English silver coinage comprises: Crowns halfcrowns florins shillings sixpences threepences maundy sets Royal Mint proof sets.
Coins from the reign of Queen Victoria are very popular with collectors, especially Victorian silver. Some of the earlier Victorian coinage is rare: halfcrowns and shillings in particular. Gothic florins are in great demand, although these were not minted until later in the Victorian period, 1849 to be precise.
Hammered coins such as groats and long cross pennies can be bought for a reasonable cost considering their age, the main categories are:
Celtic Coins (c.100BC-c.100AD)
Anglo-Saxon Coins (c.600-1066)
Norman Coins (1066-1154)
Later Medieval (1154-1485)
Tudor Coins (1485-1603)
Stuart & Commonwealth Coins
Copper and bronze coinage comprises: pennies halfpence farthings fractional. Again very sought after by collectors of Victorian coins.
British coins are useful for silver investors as pre 1920 / pre 1947 silver can be bought readily on eBay - often at an advantageous price.
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