It is hard to imagine a scandal taking place today where the political leaders of our country are arrested for causing the financial markets to crash. But that is exactly what happened when the ‘South Sea Bubble’ burst.
The ‘South Sea Bubble’ was a political and financial scandal that led to the arrests of leading members of Parliament and the near collapse of the stock market. From this turmoil one of the 18th Century’s most interesting coins was produced. Let me tell you how it happened…
The South Sea Bubble
The South Sea Company at the heart of the scandal was a trading company with a monopoly on trade in South America. The company was heavily linked with the government of the day, and a number of MPs owned large shares in the company.
Because of their shares in the company, members of the government began using phoney insider information to convince investors of the huge potential in South American trade, and therefore the profitability of the South Sea Company.
However, once investors realised that there was insider trading taking place, the company’s share price collapsed causing a catastrophic loss of money and property.
Frantic bankers and members of the gentry who had lost their life savings stormed Parliament and the Riot Act was read to restore order. An enquiry found that more than 500 members of Parliament had been involved in the crash and the Chancellor of the Exchequer was imprisoned.
The South Sea Company Shilling
On the brink of collapse, the South Sea Company luckily stumbled across a horde of silver in Indonesia and sold the precious metal to The Royal Mint.
The silver was minted into coins in 1723 with distinctive ‘SS’ and ‘C’ notations on the reverse. The proceeds from this silver helped enable the South Sea Company to recover from the scandal and ultimately continue operating for another century.
The shillings struck with this silver are now almost 300 years old and are a relic of a financial and political disaster which shook the whole country.
If you’re interested…
Historic silver issues are extremely difficult to source, however we have a small stock of just 50 South Sea Shillings available for collectors. Click here to find out more >>
When it comes to identifying the very finest quality silver coins, few, if any, can match an Australian ‘Kangaroo’. Precision made, eye-catching and struck from 999/1000 Pure Silver, they’re usually snapped up on sight. And now three of the most exciting new issues have been brought together in an exclusive limited edition set…
Why has the Kangaroo become such an important design?
When the famous marsupial is engraved onto an Australian legal tender coin it becomes a hallmark of quality. Rather like the British Sovereign is a benchmark for gold coins, the Kangaroo signifies that your coin is from a trusted source and has been produced to an exceptional standard.
Because of this, the ‘Kangaroo’ has such an international following, and has become one of the most prominent and internationally respected names on the market. Collectors worldwide buy these Australian coins for their quality, design and craftsmanship.
Three unique finishes brought together in one exclusive limited edition set
Now, three of the most exciting examples of the ‘Kangaroo’ you can buy have been brought together in one limited edition set.
The 2017 Australian Kangaroo Numismatic Set brings together the traditional bullion silver coin with the extremely sought-after high relief proof issue and the unusual gilded proof edition. Each coin boasts a full ounce of fine silver and demonstrate some of the finest minting techniques in the market.
Here’s a bit more about what makes each coin in the set so special:
The first coin in the set is the traditional bullion coin, struck by The Perth Mint to a frosted finish, it contrasts superbly with the reflective and raised parts of the design, giving an unusual three tone relief.
Then second coin is The Perth Mint’s high-relief proof finish $1 coin. This remarkable technique strikes the design onto a concave blank, allowing for the engraving to stand tall – more like a sculpture than a coin.
The final coin is the stunning gilded silver proof coin that features the Australian kangaroo carefully picked out in brilliant 24 carat gold.
All three coins share a similar heritage, but demonstrate distinctive approaches to coin design.
If you’re interested…
You can be one of just 250 collectors to own The Australian Kangaroo Set.
The coins will come complete in a Deluxe Wooden Presentation Case, ready to display, with a Certificate of Authenticity, attesting to its precious metal content and edition limit.
Each is individually encapsulated, perfect to keep them in pristine condition for your future generations to enjoy and appreciate. These coins are extremely popular, and with an edition limit of just 250, stock won’t last for long.
English mathematician, astronomer, and physicist, Sir Isaac Newton is one of the most famous scientists of all time. He is renowned for producing the single most influential book on physics ever written, The Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, but not many people know that discovering why apples fell from trees and changing the way we understand the universe were not the only problems he dealt with…
Newton and the Counterfeiter
In 1695, The Royal Mint discovered that a large number of the UK’s circulating coins were fake. In fact, 10% of England’s coinage was known to be phony. Unable to keep up with the increasing intelligent counterfeiting methods they turned to England’s ‘brightest mind’ for help.
Sir Isaac Newton was appointed warden of The Royal Mint, with a sole purpose of enforcing laws against counterfeiting.
Most counterfeits were easy targets for Newton, but one man in particular kept eluding his grasp – William Chaloner.
Chaloner was a nail maker by trade but found a more worthwhile application for molten metals. The counterfeiter’s self-made wealth enabled him to pose in a way that matched his intellect.
Newton wanted nothing more than to finish Chaloner. He went into full detective-mode.
Newton constructed a strong case, using his network of informants and spies around London in a systematic way to form a complete representation of Chaloner’s actions. He even went undercover himself to obtain evidence from witnesses at pubs around the city. By the time the trial came, he had gathered eight witnesses.
The treason charge stuck – on March 3rd 1699, William Chaloner was sentenced to hang.
Later that year, Newton was made the Master of the Mint, a position he would hold until his death in 1727.
Master of the Mint
Newton took up his duties with effect from Christmas Day 1699. Immediately his active involvement in the affairs of The Royal Mint became undoubtable, he took the role very seriously before retiring from his duties at Cambridge in 1701.
He survived the political upheavals of those distressing times and in 1705 he was knighted by Queen Anne, making him just the second scientist ever to be knighted.
The first gold standard
During his role as Master of the Mint, Sir Isaac Newton wrote a report to the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury, as a result the relationship between gold and silver coins was forever changed by Royal proclamation at the end of 1717. It forbid the exchange of gold Guineas for more than 21 silver shillings. This meant that silver coins were being used to pay for imports, subsequently Britain saw a silver shortage – effectively moving the country from the silver standard to its first gold standard.
His Legacy to our coinage
As a result of Newton’s vision, coins struck by The Royal Mint remain unrivalled in their accuracy and purity. He helped to make Britain’s currency one of the most respected and admired in the world. As one of the most famous figures to ever hold the role of Master of the Mint and author of the single most influential book on physics ever written it is entirely appropriate he is celebrated on a UK coin.
If you’re interested…
A brand new UK 50p coin has just been issued by The Royal Mint to commemorate the 375th anniversary of Sir Isaac Newton’s birth and his outstanding legacy.
You can own one today.