The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 24, Number 10, March 7, 2021, Article 26


Further to the earlier E-Sylum article on Imitation Guineas and Half-Guineas, author Martin Warburton has submitted this note on the companion publication listing. Thank you! -Editor

TO HANOVER counters satirize the Duke of Cumberland's ‘departure' to Hanover. Although British monarchs from George I were also rulers of Hanover, Queen Victoria was barred under Salic law from succeeding to the Kingdom of Hanover, so the succession went to the nearest male heir, the unpopular Ernest Augustus, Duke of Cumberland.

The counters depict the Duke riding past a dragon (parodying St. George and the dragon) with the legend To Hanover.

The obverse usually depicts a young head portrait of Queen Victoria facing left with legends such as Victoria Queen of Great Britain, H.M.G.M. Queen Victoria, Victoria Regina etc. In a few cases the manufacturer's initials appear on the truncation. The counters are usually dated from 1837 to 1869 with only a few dated after that. Most of those dated after 1840 probably indicate the actual date of issue. A significant number have a fictitious date of 1830 and many of these, including those with the mis-spelling Quen, were made by the Nuremberg firm L C Lauer. In addition, some unusual and advertising pieces exist.

The vast majority of the To Hanover counters are sovereign size with only about ten per cent half sovereign size. The half sovereign denomination was served by another popular series of counters at the time, the Prince of Wales Model counters (see below).

However, To Hanover counters bore some similarity to gold sovereigns, especially after the reintroduction of the George and dragon reverse in 1871. This led to many prosecutions both in respect of their manufacture and for passing them as gold coins to unsuspecting victims. It was not, however, illegal to sell them (for an innocent purpose) until the Counterfeit Medal Act of 1883. This prevented the sale of "Medals" resembling current coin and led to the re-appearance of the spade guinea series of counters (see the article on imitation guineas in E-Sylum 29 November 2020).

To Hanvoer counters

PRINCE OF WALES MODEL SOVEREIGN & HALF SOVEREIGN counters were first issued shortly after Edward, first son of Queen Victoria, became Prince of Wales in late 1842, a month after his christening. He held the title of Prince of Wales for 59 years before ascending the throne as Edward VII in 1901.

The counters were extremely popular and continued to be issued by various manufacturers until the 1870's. About 150 varieties of the Prince of Wales Model counters are known and about ninety per cent are half sovereign size; to complement the ninety per cent of sovereign sized To Hanover counters.

The normal obverse is a young head portrait of Queen Victoria with legends such as Victoria Regina or variations of Victoria Queen of Great Britain.

There are three main reverse types -

Prince of Wales counter reverse types

1. The Prince of Wales emblem of three plumes and a coronet enclosed by a garter inscribed Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense with no outer legend.

2. Three plumes and a coronet with a ribbon on either side inscribed Ich and Dien, enclosed by a crowned circular frame. The circular frame is usually made up of two or three concentric circles with seven or eight ornaments or blocks. The outer legend is The Prince Of Wales Model (Half) SovRN.

3. The Prince of Wales on horseback enclosed by a crowned garter inscribed ICH DIEN, with outer legend of The Prince Of Wales Model (Half) SovRN

As with To Hanover counters, the Counterfeit Medal Act of 1883 effectively put an end to the sale of Prince of Wales counters.

To Hanover and Prince of Wales Counters boom cover An illustrated checklist of both To Hanover and Prince of Wales counters was published in 2014 by Galata Print in the UK: - ‘To Hanover & Prince of Wales Counters' by Martin R Warburton & W Bryce Neilson.

For more information, or to order, see
To Hanover & Prince of Wales Counters. A Checklist of Imitation Sovereigns and their Fractions (

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:

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Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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