Yossi Dotan submitted this question about pairs of coins of different denominations that can be confused by merchants. Can anyone help?
An item in Richard Giedroyc's column "World Coin Clinic" in the June 2016 issue of World Coin News told about the
Barmaid's Grief: "The story is likely an urban legend, but allegedly this is the British double florin of 1887 to 1890. The
denomination was supposedly confused with the contemporary crown, with barmaids giving improper change for drinks. The value of the double
florin was four shillings, while the crown was valued at five shillings. The two coins are similar in diameter. Although it makes a good
story it is doubtful this ever took place. The reverse of the double florin depicts heraldry, while the reverse of the crown depicts St.
George slaying a dragon."
The story reminded me of an 1826-dated British coin in my collection which I got forty years ago, when I was a beginning collector of
world coins. The only catalog I had at the time was Yeoman's Catalog of Modern World Coins which listed coins only from 1850, so
I took the coin to a coin shop. The dealer not just told me that the silver coin without denomination was a sixpence, but also pointed out
its yellowish color. He explained that this indicated that the coin had been gold plated, so that it could be tendered as payment in a dark
pub, passing for a half sovereign which had a similar size.
Both the sixpence and the half sovereign featured the king on the obverse and heraldry on the reverse, and none of them bore a
denomination. However, there was a vast difference in their value, a sixpence equalling ½ shilling and a half sovereign 10 shillings.
Attached is the image of my coin, KM-698, which was issued in 1826-1829. These were the last years in which the sixpence was struck
without denomination. Later issues clearly state the denomination.
I wonder whether there are other coins that are candidates for the moniker "barmaid's grief."
Well, in the U.S. there was the so-called "Racketeer Nickel", the 1883 Liberty Head nickel lacking the word "Cents"
that could be goldplated to look like a $5 gold piece. There must be other examples of this happening. Can anyone help? -Editor
To read the complete article, see:
1883 5C No CENTS (Regular Strike) (www.pcgscoinfacts.com/Coin/Detail/3841)
THE BOOK BAZARRE
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Wayne Homren, Editor
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