Jeffrey P. LaPlante writes:
I find it difficult to believe that the Thruppence referred to by Darrell Lewis could in fact be Maundy money, you see Maundy money is given by the Sovereign of England to poor folks as alms, it comes from the word mandatum and refers to Christ who said "If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done unto you."
Mandatum is the derivation of the word "Maundy", and the Royal Maundy service evolved from Jesus' command to his disciples it was at first paid out in the form of food and clothing but the receivers of said generosity used to sell the food and clothing and so little bags of specially minted coins were given as alms to the selected poor folks.
In 1841 each recipient was given a set of four coins a One pence, Two Pence, Three Pence, and Four Pence silver coin. These coin sets had cases and usually were not meant to be spent, there is a great photo of the cases located here:
and more information than Darrell could ever want here:
As I said most of these coins were kept together as sets and the money was usually never spent and it is very rare.
Martin Purdy writes:
I'm intrigued by the "Maundy 3d" question, and still can't quite follow why identifying the coin as Maundy or not should have any bearing on the identification of the human remains as Leichhardt's. 1841 3ds were struck in quantity, are not scarce, and being intended for "Colonial use" would likely have been found in the Australian colonies seven years later anyway.
As far as I am aware there is nothing to distinguish the two types apart from the finish, which as your writer notes would be impossible to distinguish because of the amount of wear. Ordinary silver 3ds were commonly (and erroneously) nicknamed "Maundy 3ds", which might have led to the term being applied when the coin was first identified.
Surely if a bright, new Maundy 3d had come into Leichhardt's possession (how?) in England in 1841 and been retained as a keepsake, it would have been carefully wrapped or otherwise well looked after, and not suffered the sort of wear attributable to several years of heavy circulation.
For the record, one of my old COIN Year Books records 2574 Maundy sets being produced in 1841, with the mintage of the circulating version "unrecorded".
Just my 3d worth, anyway :-)
Philip Mernick writes:
There certainly would be no way of distinguishing a Maundy coin from a circulation issue after 100+ years of burial!
If nobody comes up with the number issued for circulation I can ask the Royal Mint if they have it.
Thanks for everyone's assistance. I summarized our answers below in bold.
From Darrell Lewis' original query:
A book the dealer showed me (Coins of England & the United Kingdom - Spink, 2008) said that there were 'ordinary' threepences issued in 1841, 'for Colonial use only'. If all this is correct, then the threepence found at the 'skeleton' site, being quite worn, could not reliably be identified as a Maundy threepence and all the speculation about a possible connection with Leichhardt is completely misplaced.
I would like to find an expert who can tell me whether in 1841:
A) ordinary threepences definitely were produced?
B) If they were, was the design of the Maundy and the ordinary threepence identical?
Only the finish distinguishes the two types of pieces. The finish is lost from a heavily circulated piece, so in that case there is no way to tell.
C) How many 1841 Maundy threepences were struck?
They were struck in quantity, are not scarce, and being intended for "Colonial use" would likely have been found in the Australian colonies.
The number struck was not recorded, but as noted the circulation pieces are not rare.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
QUERY: THE 1841 MAUNDY THREEPENCE
Wayne Homren, Editor
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