Object Detail

Paperweight with George III (1760-1820) halfpenny, 1806.
This Georgian coin is sealed within a glass paperweight, which produces a magnifying effect. It offers an example of the so called Soho Mint coinage, issued by Matthew Boulton's mint in Birmingham.
On the obverse is a robed laureate bust of King George III. From 1799 to 1807, the change in the reverse design transformed Britannia into a symbol of Britain's ever increasing maritime power, holding an olive branch and a trident, with a shield resting beside. A small ship lies in the left background.
On the obverse, the Latin inscription reads: GEORGIUS III DEI GRATIA REX, with the year below, 1806. This translates as: 'George III by the grace of God King'. The reverse quotes 'BRITANNIA', that is 'Britain'.
The shortage of small change was giving the country big problems at the time. Allegedly by 1780, only 8% of copper coins in circulation were genuine regal coins. The Royal Mint contracted Matthew Boulton to produce copper coinage in 1797 and the minting of halfpennies was outsourced to Birmingham to combat counterfeiting.
Collection Type
Date Made
dia 51mm (dia 2")
h 31.2mm (h 1 1/4")
w 169.95g (w 3/8lbs)
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Object Type