• When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

The Washington Liberty and Security Penny

15 posts in this topic

I just picked this one up.

I don't know much about them.

I believe they were minted in Birmingham by a company hoping for a coinage contract with the US, which was entirely unlikely for both, the reasons that a US Mint had already been established, and that President Washington did not want his image used in this fashion (too Monarchial sp?). This penny is undated, but was supposedly minted at least before 1795. I also believe they were actually used as money in the States, thus the AU condition of this specimen.

If anyone can clue me in more about them, I'd appreciate it.


The coin was not easy to image because there are so many scratches on the holder, especially the reverse.

The first set of photos were done manually (although autofocused) with white balance adjusted using a grey card under two reveal bulbs. As you can see, the holder scratches were focused on, but the color is pretty accurate. A dark chocolate brown with mint red in the recesses of the devices. Very nice patination.


The second set of photos were done using the same lighting conditions but a different camera setting (all automatic), so the pinkish hue of the reveal bulbs is more evident on the plastic in the background, but the focus is more on the actual coin and not the holder. The colors similarly affected.


The coin is actually quite beautiful. It's quite a large coin, very nice to look at. The surfaces are minimally granular in front of Washington's mouth and above his head. There are some scratches on his cheek. Actually, pretty well preserved for a coin that is over 200 year old!







Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is a nice looking coin Mike. I love to add interesting pieces like this to my collection as they really add interest and keep me looking.

Nice piece.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's quite a large coin


How big is it Mike? Hahaha. But seriously, it's about the size of a large cent or what? Reholdering may be worth it with such a nice coin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Winston, I think it's around 33 mm diameter and about 300+ grains in weight. Maybe somewhere in between the size of a large penny and a Morgan Dollar.

So it weighed more and was larger than a penny.



Liberty Cap Cents 28 millimeters; 208 grains == 13.5 grams,

reduced to 168 grains == 10.9 grams at the end of 1795


Classic Head Large Cent 28-29 mm; 168 grains == 10.89 grams


1836 Seated Liberty Dollar 39 mm; 416 grains == 27.0 grams

1840 Seated Liberty Dollar 38 mm; 412.5 grains == 26.73 grams


Morgan 38.1 mm; 26.73 grams


100 grains = 6.4799 grams

300 grains = 19.44 grams




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Superb piece Mike! 893applaud-thumb.gif One hefty hunk of copper! I'll have to look this one up at home and perhaps see what I can find in addition to your introduction. thumbsup2.gif



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Middlesex 243 probably struck around 1795. (The other similar varieties grouped with it are dated 1795 and 1796. It may even be much later. Many of the Washington tokens were actually struck in the 1820's) You are right about it being struck in England, and although it is cataloged under Middlesex it probably was produced at Birmingham in Warwickshire County. While a very few of these may have made it to the US and a couple might have made it into circulation here it is not very likely. Unfamiliar design, we had our own mint in operation, ungainly size, and no corresponding denomination to relate it to. These are also very scarce which means that they were more likely struck as a political token or medal for the small population of supporters of the US in England than as a medium of exchange. And considering the edge inscription the term "supporter" may even be brought into question depending on how you define the term Asylum. (Edge reads AN ASYLUM FOR THE OPPRESSED OF ALL NATIONS.) That edge also would tend to suggest a later coinage. In the last quarter of the 18th century the US was mainly populated by people of English decent or former Englishmen. It wasn't until later that we became more known as a destination for larger groups from other nations.


How big is it Mike? Hahaha. But seriously, it's about the size of a large cent or what?

Should a little larger than a half dollar. Weight would be close to one oz. About the same as a silver dollar.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Conder101, thanks for the info and your thoughts about this coin.

I found a source that says this, about the coin:

'This undated coin was mentioned in print by Samuel Birchall in 1796. It clearly dates to at least 1795 and may be earlier. Usually it is assigned as (1795) which should be taken as minted by 1795 rather than during that year.'


edited to add: I'm going to have to go into my attic to find my copy of breen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Think about it Mike, this piece of copper is a couple of hundred years old and minted on a screw press...yet it is an awesome design done in great detail and relief.

Compare this Washington portrait to that horrid design used on on modern coinage. Imagine what our pocket change would look like if we could mass produce coinage like this and still let the mint turn their little profit???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

cloud9.gifsweet and superb cloud9.gif


some important web sites for you my dear concerning this sweet sexy historical penny flowerred.gif








Undated (1795) Washington Liberty and Security penny. Breen-1254, Baker-30, D&H-243, Middlesex. MS-63 BN. "Asylum" edge. An attractive specimen with olive and gold toning highlights. Always popular as one of the largest and most handsome pieces associated with Washington during this era.


Weight: 302.4 grains. Diameter: 33.5 mm.


The edge is AN ASYLUM FOR THE OPPRESS'D OF ALL NATIONS, reflective of America as a refuge for displaced Frenchmen, Englishmen, and other European citizens during the era. Certain inscriptions on these and other tokens of the era, struck in England, are especially curious inasmuch as England was at war with the United States until 1781 (or the treaty date, 1783) and again 1812-1814.


From Stack's sale of May


Link to comment
Share on other sites

these photos are taken from the ncd.edu site

I think I should crack out this coin to photograph the edges, then get a new holder for it.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

most of the rest: 1702002-Baker-30_edge2.jpg


I think the edge writing...asylum for the opressed... is consistent with the whole idea of the pitt tokens which were I think minted in England by supporters of the colonies, mainly, William Pitt, which was minted in 1766. So the mentality was there to creat a coin like this. And of course I wouldn't be surprised that this wasn't all altruistic and the shipping of the Washinton Liberty and Security pennies or tokens over here in hopes, I would think of gaining popularity and perhaps influence with the powers that be, was not an unlikely gesture or attempt to influence politics.




Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to say, my attic is very cold, and there's quite a snowstorm today in CT.

I found my copy of Breen's encyclopedia. As I'm reading it, I'm thinking in the background, that from what I've heard, you have to take a lot of what he said with a grain of salt.


He says rumors got back to England that the US Mint was having problems, and 'likely to be abolished', so Kempson and Sons started making 'pence and halfpence' to 'keep their names' before the American authorities in hopes of a potential contract for making coins. He says that they exported 'considerable quantities' of their coins for circulation. At the same time he says that the really choice specimens 'mostly come out of British collections'.

Link to comment
Share on other sites