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Thomas Spence or John Skidmore, Copper Halfpenny Mule, 1795 (D&H Northumberland 19)

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Thomas Spence or John Skidmore, Copper Halfpenny Mule, 1795 obv A man in a barge sailing. Around the perimeter * COALY X TYNE * Ex: 1795 ; rev An inscription in three lines THOS. SPENCE Sir THOS. MORE THOS. PAINE Around the perimeter * NOTED ADVOCATES FOR THE RIGHTS OF MAN *; edge SPENCE X DEALER X IN X COINS X LONDON X (Conder 271; 67, , Atkins 160; 19, D&H Northumberland 19)

The Newcastle Keel, or Coaly Tyne, die failed soon after it was put in use, and there are very few known examples of its perfect state. All of those are paired with Spence’s Slopseller Die (D&H Northumberland 4). After the die failed it was muled with six other dies - either by Spence or, more likely, by Skidmore - and all quite rare. There are no known interim states.

Typical die flaw; the reverse from a rusted die. Near gem, faded red and brown uncirculated. Rare.

Thomas Spence, (1750-1814), Newcastle schoolmaster and writer who moved to London in 1792, where he set up shop as a bookseller and became an active member of the London Corresponding Society. He allowed his home and shop to be used for meetings and, in May 1794, was arrested along with a dozen others, and remitted to Newgate Prison for his efforts. Upon release he entered the business of selling tokens,  publishing a handbill listing twenty obverse and twenty reverse dies that could be ordered paired in any combination, and authoring an early guide to the series, The Coin Collector's Companion in 1795. He issued and sold a variety of  tokens before quitting the business in late 1796.