I have an English gold coin with two dates on it — the front side
dates 1862, and the back, 1837. What can you tell me about it?
Mineral Wells, W.Va.
To know with certainty, Mr. McClelland would need to have the
piece examined by an exonumia expert; however, the piece in question
appears likely, solely judging by the images, to be a 19th century
British gaming counter or token, often called a “Hanover Jack” or
If indeed authentic, this gaming counter isn’t composed of gold,
but more likely of brass or copper. As well, it is a privately
produced item, therefore not technically qualifying as a “coin” as is
usually struck by a governing authority to be accepted as legal tender.
The obverse side of the token, dated 1862, portrays Queen Victoria
and the legend victoria queen of great brit. The reverse shows a man
on horseback, a three-headed dragon, the date 1837 and the legend to hanover.
This piece, and others like it, has an interesting history as
explained in an article written by Frank G. Holstine for the February
1968 TAMS Journal (Vol. 8, No. 1), the official publication
of the Token and Medal Society.
Holstine writes: “The Kings of England, starting with George I,
were also Duke or King of Hanover and Elector in the Holy Roman
Empire. When Victoria became Queen in 1837, the German law did not
permit a woman on the throne of Hanover. Her uncle, Ernest Augustus,
Duke of Cumberland and fifth son of George III, became King of
Hanover. This is known as Salic Law.
“The To Hanover Tokens are said to represent the Duke of
Cumberland departing from England on horseback, riding over a one, two
or three headed dragon. The inscription ‘To Hanover’ appears above and
the coronation date, 1837, often appears in exergue. However, other
dates do appear in exergue.”
Holstine writes that the tokens were “... hoarded by people of
moderate means in the hope that they would become valuable in the
future. Nobility collected rare regal coins while the poor people were
able to collect only the tokens sold by the street-sellers at a cost
of a penny for four.”
Based upon the illustrations and descriptions provided by
Holstine’s article, McClelland’s piece (if authentic) looks similar to
the example listed as an “E-3” — with the obverse described as
“Straight nose; legend broken; large date, 1 in date nearly touches
truncation; 1862.” The reverse is described as having a “Long blunt
scabbard; sword tip even with top of crown; medium date centered; 1837.”
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