1797 Near Mint Cartwheel George III 2 Pence Coin


A stunning extra fine to near mint, example of the iconic George III 1797 Cartwheel copper 2 Pence Coin.

The coin is famous for being the heaviest coin in British general circulation. On one side, is the head of George III, facing right and wearing a wreath, together with the words GEORGIUS III.D:G.REX. On the lowest fold of the drapery at the base of the effigy is the initial K, indicating that the design is the work of the German engraver Kuchler. On the other side (also engraved by Kuchler), is the seated figure of Britannia, together with the word BRITANNIA and the date 1797. The letters are incuse and have been placed on a broad raised rim, in an attempt to prevent undue wear and lessen the risk of counterfeiting. Given that they were made of copper, surviving examples tend to have large amounts of wear.

The coins were not struck by the Royal Mint, but by Matthew Boulton at his private Soho Mint in Birmingham, and the name of the mint can, in fact, be seen on the coins just below Britannia’s shield. They were made legal tender for amounts of up to one shilling and it was specified that the Twopence should weigh 2 ounces. The object of making them so heavy was that their intrinsic value should correspond as nearly as possible to their face value, given that there was a general mistrust in the value of the British currency.

Size: 41 mm (1 5/8 inch)
Weight: 56 g