JimmyD's Blog

05 Oct 2018

The possibilities for discovery...

Coins | JimmyD

On a visit to the Huntington Library today to view the conservation work being done on Gainsborough's The Blue Boy, I discovered a small exhibit I don't remember seeing before. The silver cylinder is called a Counter Box, and normally held silver disks with the likenesses of the king and queen. It is thought the disks were used in games of chance. According to the exhibit, it is highly unusual to find one containing silver coins. The coins were minted in the 16th century during the reign of Edward VI (1537 - 1553) of England.

Needles to say, I need to do more research into the coins, as well as the "Counter Box" (perhaps the subject of another blog!). But for today, it was just nice to be reminded, once again, of the infinite possibilities for discovery our hobby affords us.

Update: My research on these coins so far has been fascinating. I have established, I think, that they are all shillings of Edward VI and minted between the late 1540s, when Edward became king, and the early 1550s. There is, of course, the Tudor Rose, and the XII barely visible on a couple coins on the obverse indicate value. They were minted at both the Tower of London mint and Southwark; I believe the Tower coins are identified by the letter “y” on some of the coins, but not sure yet. Fascinating stuff.



Level 5

Nice pics!


Level 6

Thanks for an interesting blog and great photo!

Jonas's Coins

Level 5

I would never expect a library to have an exhibit on Coins.. The coins in the exhibit appear to be in very good condition, infact, When I first saw the photo I thought they were fake.


Level 4

The Huntington is actually more a museum than a library, although it does have a world-class research and antiquarian library (Gutenberg Bible, a Shakespeare First Folio, etc.). Not heavy on numismatics, though.


Level 6

Nice find. Looking forward to your findings.

They look like they were hammered, and have the curious design close to that of old mexican pesos. I am curious yo see the blog with more information.


Level 6

I'd love to see that in person. A real piece of coinage history.


Level 7

That's what it looks like. Those coins if there real were hammered. That's the way they made them. I have never seen one before. Thanks for the story and information and the great shot. Mike


Level 4

The coins do look a little washed out - and I thought it was a little strange that a museum curator would treat them the way they are in this exhibit - but they’re usually pretty good at pointing out when an article is “representative”

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