Colin Hawksley

1797 George III copper “Cartwheel” twopence 

I now have both the penny and twopence, just received the twopence today. I can’t get over the size, weight and thickness! Also, I’m not quite sure how to store it/display it. I don’t think it will fit in any standard cardboard coin flip. 


Its amazing to me that the edge knocks can have such an effect on the value, to me it gives the coin so much character and in saying so, I think I got a pretty good deal. 

Found some interesting background information: 

Affectionately known as ‘Cartwheels’ because of their large size and weight, the 2oz copper twopence coin is significant in being the first coin (along with the 1 oz copper penny) to be produced using Matthew Boulton’s steam powered coining press (also I believe its the first coin to have “incused” legends; pressed in rather than raised as a result from the steam press.) The coins contained exactly two ounces (avoirdupois) of copper making them ideal as substitutes for weights in measuring produce, a task for which they were intentionally designed.

As a multiple weight of a One Ounce Copper Coin, this 2 Ounce coin was given a value of 4 pence by Governor King throughout the infant colony of New South Wales, in his proclamation of 1800.

In 1797, during the reign of George III, the Cartwheel Twopence piece was struck by Matthew Boulton at the Soho Mint.

This is by far the largest base metal coin issued in the UK, weighing two ounces (56.7 g) and measuring 41 mm diameter and 5 mm thick. On the obverse is a portrait of George III facing right, with the inscription GEORGIUS III D G REX, while the reverse shows Britannia seated facing left, holding an olive branch and trident, with BRITANNIA above and 1797 below. I am grateful to Jeff for the images.

The weight means that the coin is very susceptable to edge knocks.

The coin was found to be too heavy for regular use, and no more copper or bronze twopence coins were struck until decimalisation in 1971.

There are many late strikes made by Matthew Boulton in a variety of metals, and further ones made by W.J.Taylor when he bought the dies in 1848. I believe that the chief way these later issues can be distinguished is by marks resulting from die corrosion. He also produced a pattern or patterns dated 1805 with a different design.

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