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Skidmore, Copper Halfpenny, 1796 (unlisted die pair)

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Skidmore, Copper Halfpenny, 1796, obv A shield of arms between branches. DEALER IN COINS MEDALS &c. within a circle. Around the perimeter SKIDMORE . 123 . HIGH . HOLBORN . LONDON., rev A man standing facing left, fettered and a padlock on his mouth. Around the perimeter A . FREE . BORN . BRITION . OF 1796, edge SKIDMORE HOLBORN LONDON  (D&H unlisted)

Lightly toned, gem uncirculated. Exceptionally rare, if not unique. No other specimen traced.

This die pair presents a bit of a conundrum. D&H clearly lists Middlesex 518 as having this obverse paired with a reverse of a FREE-BORN ENGLISHMAN and this reverse is plated on p.152. Atkins 398 is given by D&H as an additional citation (Atkins, p.114, no. 398). Atkins also lists a FREE-BORN ENGLISHMAN as a reverse die. Cokayne notes an example of Atkins 398 in his posession although this specific example has not re-surfaced. It is possible that Atkins was in error, conflating the FREE-BORN ENGLISHMAN die with the FREE . BORN . BRITON die, an error that may have been repeated by D&H. And, it is possible that Cokayne was in error, as well. However, the liklihood that this is the case is somewhat suspect in that Cokayne was quite meticulous in his attributions and does note an 'Atkins 398bis' although this is DH Middlesex 519 with the DUKE OF YORK reverse. My sense is that this is a previously unbublished die pair, although it is clearly possible that Cokayne, Atkins, and D&H were all in error and that this is, in fact, DH Middlesex 518 with the incorrect die being plated.

Provenance: A H Baldwin & Sons

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