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John Wilkinson Halfpenny; A 20th Century USA Fabrication?


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British Numismatic Society: 48(1978) 117-118.

 

WilkinsonFake-vert.jpg

So is this token of mine an example of the only 'genuine' USA struck John Wilkinson's Halfpenny token minted, post 1947, by the Osborne Coinage Company using a copy of a genuine 1790 Vulcan reverse and a newly designed & engraved obverse? I have seen another example of this oddity but there does not seem to be too many of them around. If I ever decide to sell it, could I list it as an American token?

 

It might even be worth more than a genuine Wilky!!!

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very interesting and intriguing find you have there. I'd try to get hold of a copy of Dalton and Hamer's reference work as first port of call just to make absolutely sure your token is not noted as a variant by them....unlikely as that may appear to be.

 

Excuse my ignorance on this area but were the original tokens somehow issued for general circulation as coinage in the USA? if so I can understand why `copies' (0r fakes) would be generated. Otherwise i'm struggling to see why this particular token would be selected for attention some considerable number of decades after its first appearance to the world in England.

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Hi Ian, I am fortunate in having a copy of D & H and this is definitely not listed.

 

I am also baffled as to why this was produced. The unifaced reverse first made from a genuine Vulcan owned by the Masons is strange enough but to design and engrave an original obverse die seems doubly strange. I have had this token for a few years & knew it was unlisted but knew nothing about it being a modern USA fake. I only found the article yesterday, quite a surprise I must say.

 

The Wilkinsons were not circulated in the US.

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I took the first part of the story re the unifaced reverse as accurate but studying the images in D & H the reverse is also a modern die(not an exact copy of any of the 1790 Vulcans), all the 1790 Vulcans have a small 7 & a large 9 in the date, this reverse, has them the same size.

 

The Osborne Coinage Company had a minting machine for producing transit tokens from sheets of metal(not blanks), the sheets would be struck and the tokens punched/stamped from the sheet, leaving the reverse of the token square edged & the obverse with a rounded edge. This Vulcan has a square edge on the reverse and a rounded obverse edge as if it has been stamped from a sheet, not being struck using a blank in a collar.

 

One up on Ebay now http://www.ebay.com/...=item3a807cf8db

 

The rounded obverse edge & the squared reverse edge plus the date number sizes are easy to spot.

 

Looks like I do have a 'genuine USA fake' :shock: at least it is not a Chinese fake ;)

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.........if the one on ebay sells for a decent price (ie it finds a market), we might very well start seeing genuine Chinese copies of the USA fake in the not too distant future.

 

You do seem to come across interesting pieces with great regularity. Good sleuthing and a sharp eye on your part.

 

All power to you!!

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Wow! I obtained one of these in a bulk acquisition of Conders maybe 20-30 years ago, and my inability to find it in D&H despite many attempts has been "bothering" me ever since. It's been in my box of unknowns for years, so I REALLY appreciate this research, Constanius! This is an outcome I never would have foreseen in a million years! BTW, the thing about this piece that always made it seem a little "off" to me was the uniformity and precision of the lettering in the obverse legend, chiefly in comparison against the dozen or so other Wilksinson token varieties I have, not to mention against the plate coins in D&H. Thank you for the find!!!

 

Tom

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You do seem to come across interesting pieces with great regularity. Good sleuthing and a sharp eye on your part.

All power to you!!

 

I do enjoy the research but to receive such praise from you Ian is especially rewarding!

It's been in my box of unknowns for years, so I REALLY appreciate this research, Constanius!........ Thank you for the find!!!

Tom

My pleasure to have been, indirectly, of help to you Tom. Thanks for letting me know, many people post an item seeking info on it & when you provide it they never even bother to post a reply of thanks.

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