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 Post subject: Glossary
PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 5:18 pm 
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This article was not posted by Brian & Mo' but moved from old forum.

"I have been detecting for just over two years now and in that time I have come across many words that were unfamiliar to be - I just didn't understand what they meant in 'detecting' terms. Sometimes I asked but mostly I went on the Net or checked in the dictionary. I suppose I didn't want to show my ignorance. Silly, really. What follows is several words and terms that could form the basis of a glossary to which terms may be added. I do hope that what I have said is correct. So, here goes - these are the meanings as far as I understand them . . . " ..... Submitted by former member - Saaby



AIR TEST
A test performed by moving various sized metal samples beneath the metal detector searchcoil to check the detector's features and target response. This test is not an accurate indicator of ground depth penetration capability.

Angel
Gold coin equal to one-third of a pound, introduced by Edward IV in 1465 and minted regularly until the middle of Charles I's reign. Its name was derived from the obverse design, showing St Michael slaying a dragon.
Bawbee Scottish coin introduced by James V in 1538 and last minted in the reign of William II (III of England). Originally made of billon, an alloy of 25% silver and 75% copper, it was equal to six Scottish pence or one English halfpenny.

ANNULAR
Annular (complete circle) brooches were the most popular style of brooch for most of the Middle Ages. Simple annulars were used to pin shirt openings, and to support hose. Any annular brooch could be used functionally, to hand a purse or a rosary. Decorative annulars also revealed status.

Bodle
Scottish copper coin worth one-sixth of an English penny, minted between 1642 and 1697.

Bonnet Piece
The Bonnet Piece, a variety of Scottish gold ducat, depicted James V of Scotland wearing a flat bonnet. Bonnet pieces, issued in 1539 and 1540, were the first coins of the British Isles to bear a date.

Breeches Money
Nickname given to the gold and silver coins minted during the Commonwealth period, 1649-1660. Their reverse design shows the English cross of St George and the Irish harp on two conjoined shields. The resultant shape was similar to that of the baggy breeches worn by men at the time. Broad Term originally used for a hammered gold coin worth 20 shillings, originally called a Unite.

Bull Head
Nickname given to the portrait of George III on the halfcrowns minted in 1816 and 1817. The portrait, by the engraver Benedetto Pistrucci, showed the King's head from behind his right shoulder, emphasising his heavy features and giving him a thick neck like that of a bull. Halfcrowns with a smaller and more flattering portrait were introduced during 1817.

Bun Head
Nickname given to the portrait of Queen Victoria on the bronze coins issued between 1860 and 1894. These showed the Queen with her hair gathered in a 'bun' at the back of her head.

Cartwheel
Nickname given to the large penny and twopenny coins minted by Matthew Boulton in 1797 at his 'manufactory' at Soho, Birmingham. The pennies contained one ounce of copper and the twopences two ounces, so that their metal content was equivalent to their face value.

CHAPE
[F., a churchman's cope, a cover, a chape, fr. L. cappa.]
1. The piece by which an object is attached to something, as the frog of a scabbard or the metal loop at the back of a buckle by which it is fastened to a strap.
2. The transverse guard of a sword or dagger.
3. The metal plate or tip which protects the end of a scabbard, belt, etc.

Churchill Crown
The 5 shilling (25p) coin issued in 1965 in honour of Sir Winston Churchill. The reverse featured a portrait of the stateman in the siren-suit he wore during the Second World War.

Communion Token
A token, usually of lead, pewter or white metal, issued in Scotland and in some Scottish communities elsewhere and overseas to indicate that a Presbyterian church-goer was to be admitted to the communion service. The tokens usually bore the name of the church by which they were issued, a Biblical text and sometimes the name of the minister.

Copper Nose
Nickname given to the silver coins issued during the last years of Henry VIII's reign and for a few years after his death in 1547. The coins were so debased, containing about 75% copper to 25% silver, that when they became worn the copper tinge was clearly visible. As the coins bore a full-face or three-quarter face portrait of the King, the copper showed most plainly on the most prominent feature of the design, his nose.

CROTAL BELL.
Small spherical bell. 15th-early 19th century. Put on stock animals, horses and some pets so they could be easily found (this is for pre-enclosure rough common grazing). They were also used for decoration and for the pleasure of hearing something other than the wind in the trees and birdsong ('rings on her fingers, bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes'.
Great topic well done for raising it BUT !!! Croatal bell I was led to believe it was mainly used on sheep? and the much larger tennis ball type were called rumbler bells used on large animals ?? Willy Muffit
I do believe that Crotal bells were also worn by men of the cloth on sashes around their torso's to ward off evil spirits HairyTidge

Crown
The first English crown was a gold coin introduced by Henry VIII in 1526 and valued at 4s 6d (22.5p). Gold crowns were last minted during the first few year of Charles II's reign, but silver crowns had been introduced in 1551, as part of the coinage reforms initiated under Edward VI. Since the introduction of decimal currency in 1971 the 25p commemorative coins have replaced the crown.

DENARIUS
The denarius was the main silver coin, in fact the main denomination, of the Roman Republic. Under the Empire, Augustus controlled the minting of the gold and silver denominations, and the denarius continued. Under Nero the weight and fineness of the denarius dropped, and this cost-cutting practice was continued under successive emperor. By the reign of Caracalla, the denarius was about 40% silver, and the new antoninianus was introduced. The denarius continued, but was gradually phased out, first becoming bronze, and then disappearing after serving the Romans for almost 400 years.

Dollar
Spanish-American 8-real piece overstruck with an oval countermark by the Bank of England from 1797 to counteract the chronic shortage of silver. Because of counterfeiting, an octagonal countermark was substituted in 1799; from 1804 the dollars were completely restruck into Bank of England Five Shilling Dollars.

Double-Florin
A silver coin introduced in 1887 as a step towards decimalisation of the currency. Equal to two florins (20p), the coins were easily confused with the crowns (25p), which measured only 2.75mm more. The double-florin was discontinued in 1890.

DUMP
. . . as used in the term 'Dump Halfpenny'
. . . The glut of copper coinage was sufficient that there was no need to produce any copper halfpennies during the reign of Queen Anne (1701-1714). Soon after the accession of King George I (1714-1727) the surplus of copper coins was used up, and in 1717 a new contract was signed and a Royal Warrant issued for the production of a new halfpenny. The halfpennies struck in 1717 and 1718 looked slightly odd as they were smaller, thicker and somewhat lighter than the previous issues, weighing 9.4 - 10.3 grams with a diameter of 25-27 millimetres, but they were well-struck with high-relief features of the right-facing head of King George and the inscription GEORGIVS REX on the obverse, and Britannia with the inscription BRITANNIA and the date in the exergue beneath Britannia. The 1717-18 issue is known as the dump halfpenny. For the 1719-1724 issue the size of the coin was increased to 26-29 millimetres, though with the same weight of metal as before.
As was mentioned on a previous thread...the definition from Webster's 1913 Dictionary seems to explain why the 1717-18 issue is known as the dump halfpenny.
Dump\, n. A thick, ill-shapen piece; a clumsy leaden counter used by boys in playing chuck farthing. [Eng.]
Dave-in-Oz

Farthing
In Anglo-Saxon and Norman times it was common practice to obtain small change by cutting silver pennies into halves or quarters. The latter were known as farthings, from the Anglo-Saxon feorthing, meaning a fourth part. Round silver farthings were introduced in England by Edward I in 1279. By the 16th century the rise in the price of silver had made the minting of farthings uneconomic and they were discontinued during Edward VI's time. Farthings were re-introduced as copper coins, manufactured under licence for James I, and as regal coins for Charles II in 1672. From 1860 farthings were made of bronze and the last were issued in 1956, by which time they had lost virtually all their purchasing power; the coin was demonetised in 1960.

Florin
First minted in Florence in 1252 as a gold coin, the Florin derives its name from the Italian fiorino, or lily flower, on its reverse. In 1344 it was introduced in England as a gold coin tariffed at six shillings (30p), but was never re-issued. The first English silver florins (10p) were issued for general circulation in 1849, as a replacement for the halfcrown as a step towards a decimal currency.

GILT BRONZE
with a coating of gold applied in leaf form.

Godless Florin
The traditional inscription, DEI GRATIA FID DEF ('by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith') was omitted from the design of the silver florins (10p) issued in 1849. Described by many contemporary clergy as 'Godless' or 'Graceless', the coins were replaced in 1851 by Gothic Florins to a revised design that included the inscription.

GOLD GILT
A term seen far too often in detecting magazines. A ridiculous, though persistent descriptive error that seems afflict even the most learned of detectorist writing. It is a contradiction in terms, no-one has ever been found guilty of gilding gold!

Gothic Crown
Name given to the crowns (25p) minted in 1846, 1847 and 1853, showing a portrait of Queen Victoria wearing a crown and elaborately embroidered dress by William Wyon. The legends used an early English 'Gothic' style of lettering, reflecting the Gothic revival in art and architecture.

Groat
A silver coin worth fourpence, introduced in 1279 by Edward I. Its name was derived from its French counterpart, the gros tournois, which had been first minted at Tours in the 1250s. Although not popular at first because it represented too large a sum to be convenient for the poorer classes, the groat was re-issued in 1351 by Edward III and minted regularly until 1662. In 1836 the denomination was revived, only to be dropped after 1855.

GROUND FISHING
A slang term for metal detecting - very descriptive and a new one on me!

Guinea
Gold coin introduced in 1663 as a 20-shilling piece (£1) and originally known as a Guinea pound because much of the gold for minting it was brought from the Guinea coast of West Africa. Its value fluctuated with the price of gold until it was finally fixed at 21 shillings (£1.05) in 1717. The guinea was last minted in 1813.

GUN MONEY
Gun metal (90%copper 10% tin), obtained from old cannons. Due to a silver shortage. Used for Irish coins by James II 1689-90.
Name given to coins minted in Ireland in 1689 and 1690 during the abortive attempt of James II to regain his throne from William III. Lacking gold and silver with which to pay his troops, James ordered coins to be minted of copper, brass and gun-metal in values of sixpence (2.5p), shilling (5p), halfcrown (12.5p) and crown (25p). They were to be redeemed at face value for gold and silver coins after James had defeated the usurper William. To ensure that the redemption should be organised equitably, the gun money coins were inscribed with the month as well as the year of their issue. After the defeat of James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, William ordered the gun money to be accepted at the value of its metal content, so that the crown was valued at one penny, the halfcrown at three-farthings and the shillings and sixpences at a farthing each.

Halfcrown
Introduced as a gold coin by Henry VIII and minted regularly until the reign of James I. The halfcrown (12.5p) was also minted in silver by Edward VI and survived until it was demonetised in 1970, preparatory to the introduction of decimal currency.

Half-Farthing
A small copper coin intended for use in sorry Lanka (the former Ceylon) but made legal tender in Great Britain in 1842. As currency, the coin was discontinued in 1856.

Halfpenny
Minted as a silver coin by a few Viking and Saxon kings, but not a regular feature of the English coinage until the reign of Edward I. As the price of silver rose, the halfpennies became so small as to be a nuisance in circulation, those of Charles I measuring only 10mm. The first regal copper coins were minted in 1672 and the coin survived into the decimal era as a circulating medium until 1983.

Hardhead
A billon coin first struck under Mary Queen of Scots, it served as small change, with a value of a penny-halfpenny. Sometimes also known as a lion, owing to the reverse design of a lion rampant.

Hat Piece
Circulated by James VI of Scotland, this gold coin worth 80 Scottish shillings took its name from the very tall hat worn by the King in the obverse portrait.

Helm
Edward III gold quarter-florin, the obverse of which depic ted a helmet surmounted by a lion.

HOD HILL TYPE BROOCH
So named after the Iron age/Roman site in south Somerset where several similar brooches were found.

Jeton
A counter or token used in games or, during medieval times, as a means of calculating sums of money on the chequered boards used at the Exchequer.
Counters or gaming tokens made for export to European countries, particularly from the latter part of the 17th century, often had the titles and portraits of the reigning monarchs. Hanns Krauwinckel II and his contemporaries also produced jetons depicting mythical and biblical scenes, and the inscriptions are many and varied. These are, however, less common than the normal reckoning counters. The vast number of jetons found in this country, particularly those found on the foreshore of the Thames, testify to their widespread use in Britain.

Jubilee Head
The portrait of Queen Victoria designed by Sir Joseph Boehm for the gold and silver coins issued in 1887 to mark her Golden Jubilee. Although dignified and life-like, the portrait was criticised because the Queen was wearing a disproportionately small crown perched precariously on her head. The Jubilee Head was replaced in 1893 by the Veiled Head.

LA TENE BROOCH
This early Roman brooch is distinct because of its single-piece construction. It is simple in form and sturdy. The brooch consists of a slightly arched bow, flat in section, with decorative rectangular box. The bronze is worked to a narrow foot and turned slightly forward. It is made flat behind in order to serve as the catchplate. At the top of the brooch, this same single piece of wire is coiled around four times to the right, wrapped under the head of the brooch, coiled around four times to the left, and then wrapped straight down. It is sharpened at the end and serves as the pin. La Tene III type brooches are generally small and simple with minimal decoration. They were extremely popular around the 1st Century BC-AD and identified today as what must have been the 'common man's' brooch in antiquity.

Laurel
James I's laurel wreath crown gives rise to this term for his third coinage sovereign or unite.

Leopard
Name given to the gold half-florin of Edward III, whose obverse shows a facing lion, known heraldically as a leopard.

Lima
Inscribed below the portrait of George II on gold and silver coins minted in 1745 and 1746 to indicate that the bullion used had been captured from Spanish ships bringing it from the American colonies. The choice of the name Lima is puzzling, as little of the bullion appears to have come from Peru, but it may have been a suitably short word to include in the design of the coins.

Lion
First struck by Prince Edward, the silver denier of the Anglo-Gallic series earned its name from the lion passant guardant present in the arms of Aquitaine. A Scottish gold coin issued up to 1589 was known as a lion-noble.

Long Cross Penny
To deter unscrupulous people from snipping slivers of metal from the edge of silver pennies, Henry III ordered the arms of the cross on the reverse of the coins to be extended to the edge of the design - hence the long cross penny.

Maundy Money
The small silver coins, 1p, 2p, 3p and 4p, which are specially minted for distribution to elderly men and women at a service on Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, in Easter Week. The ceremony commemorates Christ's act of humility in washing the feet of his disciples before the Last Supper and his order, or mandatum, to them to do likewise. King John is the first English monarch recorded as having participated in a Maundy ceremony when he distributed silver pennies to thirteen poor men at Rochester in 1213. After James II had performed the ceremony in 1685 later monarchs were reluctant to observe the tradition, leaving the task to the Lord High Almoner. In 1932 George V became the first monarch for well over 200 years to distribute Maundy money in person. The number of recipients is determined by the age of the monarch, one man and one woman being selected for each year of the monarch's age. Although Maundy coins are legal tender and some were used as such in the 19th century, their present-day numismatic and curiosity value ensures they do not circulate.

Merk
A colloquial derivation of mark, these were used as money of account in England and their value was fixed at 13s 4d (66.5p), two-thirds of a pound. Merks and double-merks, silver coins emanating from Scotland, eventually also became known as thistle half-dollars and thistle dollars, on account of the thistle in the reverse design.

Military Guinea
Name given to the guineas minted for George III in 1813. As an economy measure during the Napoleonic Wars, the minting of guineas was discontinued after 1799, the coins being replaced by banknotes. In 1813 gold was needed to pay the British forces serving under Wellington in Spain and Portugal. The 1813 guineas were specially minted for this purpose and were the last issue of this denomination.

Mint-mark
The initial, name or device included in the design of a coin to indicate when, where or by whom it had been minted. During the reign of Elizabeth I, for instance, some 30 different mint-marks can be found, including a star, a portcullis, a bell and a woolpack. Between 1871 and 1932 branches of the Royal Mint in British possessions overseas produced gold coins on which the following mint-marks may be found: M (Melbourne) S (Sydney), P (Perth), I (Bombay), C (Ottawa) and SA (Pretoria). Other well known mint-marks are SOHO, on the copper coins minted by Matthew Boulton; H, on coins minted by Ralph Heaton & Sons at the Birmingham Mint, and KN on coins minted by the Kings Norton Metal Co, Birmingham.

NIELLO
Niello is a method of decorating metal objects using engraving techniques. An alloy of silver, copper, lead, and sulfur is rubbed into an engraved pattern on silver or gold and then fired. Darkened areas remain in the crevices after the object is polished. This technique was commonly used in Europe until the Renaissance, but it was rarely utilized afterwards. It was known in Kiev in the tenth to the thirteenth centuries and revived in Russia in thec sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Niello remained in use throughout the imperial period, although silversmiths most often employed it in Moscow or in provincial centres.

NIGHT HAWKING
A 'Night Hawk' is a person who detects farm land, scheduled site or ancient monument - in fact anywhere where he can find coins and artifacts. This is usually done at night WITHOUT PERMISSION, leaving holes unfilled and causing damage to property for profit. These people give metal dectorists bad publicity. The ironic thing is that if these people were to try and obtain permission for land like the rest of us they could find coins and artifacts of the same quality without breaking the law.

Noble
Gold coin introduced in 1344 by Edward III. It was valued at 6s 8d (33.5p), one third of a pound, which for many years remained the standard fee for the professional services of a lawyer. The noble was replaced by the gold angel in 1465.

NON-FERROUS
Not of iron. Metals of the precious class (i.e., gold, silver, copper, etc.)

Obsidional Money
Coins minted for the garrison of a besieged town. Refers particularly to those issued during the Civil War for the Royalist forces besieged in Carlisle, Newark, Pontefract and Scarborough. Similar emergency coins were also minted in Ireland, among them James II's gun money.

PALSTAVE AXE
A typical axe of the Middle Bronze Age.

PAPAL BULLA
A papal bulla was a decorated lead seal used to secure documents (a bull) sent out by the pope in rome. Each seal was decorated with a die which gave the information on which pope had issued the bull. metal mark.
Lead is a metal commonly employed during the Medieval period for making the seal dies used for sealing documents with wax impressions. There is however one type of seal that is actually made of a round flan of lead. They are known as Papal Bullae (singular bulla) - so named because they were attached to Papal documents or Bulls. They were sent from the offices of the Pope in Rome and the seal signified that the document was issued with the Pope's authority.
The bulla was impressed over a coloured silk lace or hemp cord, which was used to attach the seal to the document.
The earliest recorded Papal bulla found in England is that of Innocent II (1130-1143AD). Ceejay.

PARCEL GILT
A term applied to an object that is gilded in part.

PENANNULAR AND ZOOMORPHIC
The penannular, or open ring brooch, was a Roman and Celtic type of clothing fastener. Although much older in origin, penannulars begin to appear in significant numbers in Britain around 200 AD and quickly gained widespread popularity. By 800 AD the simple utilitarian Roman style had given way to a uniquely Celtic one, decorated with geometric and zoomorphic (animal form) designs, done in enamel, stones, granulation, and filigree wire work, and anything else the artist could think of. The penannular was the origin of some of the later styles of medieval brooches, including the closed ring brooch and the heart shaped love brooch.

Penny
Based on the Roman denarius, the English penny was a silver coin introduced during the 8th century by Heaberht and Ecgberht, two little known Anglo-Saxon Kings of Kent. It was popularised by the powerful King Offa of Mercia. Because of the rising price of silver and the need for a greater number of coins as trade and commerce increased, the silver penny was steadily reduced in size. The pennies of Elizabeth I were only about one-third the weight of those of William the Conqueror, and the metal was much debased. The first regal copper pennies were not issued until 1797; the silver penny survives in Maundy money.

Pistole
Struck from African gold in the reign of William II (III of England), the pistole and half-pistole were worth £12 and £6 respectively in Scotland. Charles I also issued a gold pistole in the Irish money of necessity series. The origin of the name is uncertain, but may have evolved from the Spanish pistola, a metal plate.

Plack
A Scottish billon coin debased drastically over the years and left virtually worthless, its name has found its way into a proverbial expression meaning 'to the last farthing'. The word takes its name from the French plaque, meaning disk or plate.

POTIN
How were Celtic Potin coins made?
The cast coins from southeast Britain were produced by pouring molten alloy into a set of moulds, which were broken apart when the metal had cooled. The breaks were not always neat and often parts of the sprue the joining portion between the coins remain attached to the coin.
These coins are traditionally known as potins, from the French term for a bronze alloy with a high (above 25%) tin content; cast bronze is perhaps a better description . . .

Pound
Originated as a weight, the amount of silver needed to mint 240 pennies. It was introduced as a coin, the gold pound sovereign, during the reign of Henry VII. The present sovereign is the successor of this coin, although a large silver pound was minted as a temporary measure during the Civil War because of a shortage of gold.

Proof
A coin minted from specially polished dies which give it a mirror-like finish. Proof coins are not intended for circulation and are sold to collectors at much higher prices than the normal coins. Sets of British proof coins have been minted regularly since 1826.

Quarter-Farthing
Minted between 1839 and 1853 for use in sorry Lanka (the former Ceylon), where it was the equivalent of half a Cingalese doit.

Rider
Issued first under James III, this Scottish gold coin takes its name from the obverse design of the King riding a charger, apparently at some speed. James VI (I of England) also issued riders, but with a modified design showing the horse proceeding at a more leisurely pace.

RING PULL or PULL TAB
a metal ring which must be lifted to open a closed metal container, especially of drink. This is a commonly found item by detectorists and is usually welcomed with a few choice words. (see 'cartridge case').

Ryal
First issued as a gold coin worth 10 shillings (50p) by Edward IV in 1465, the ryal or rose-noble, with its design of the monarch in a ship, survived into the reign of James I. It was revalued at 15 shillings (75p) under Queen Mary, then to 16s 6d (82.5p) in 1612 when it became known as a spur ryal; the short-lived rose ryal of 30 shillings (£1.50), later 33 Shillings (£1.65) appeared alongside it from 1605 to 1617. Silver ryals were issued in Scotland under Mary Queen of Scots and later James VI (I of England).

Sceat
A small silver coin minted in the southern kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England during the late 7th and 8th centuries. In Northumbria the equivalent coin was the styca.
Coins had been used in Britain when it was part of the Roman empire, and even earlier, but after the departure of the Romans early in the 5th century and the invasions of the Anglo-Saxons from across the southern part of the North Sea, coins ceased to be used as money in England for nearly 200 years. Then the Saxons started to produce coins. Most of them were made of silver and they are called 'sceattas'. The word 'sceat' originally meant 'treasure' like the word 'skat' in Danish or 'skatt' in Norwegian and Swedish.

Shilling
Introduced as a silver coin worth twelve pence late in the reign of Henry VII and revived in the later years of Henry VIII's reign, the coin was at first known as a testoon, from the Italian testa and the Old French teste, meaning a head, because it bore a portrait of the King. After 1947 the shilling was made of cupro-nickel and it survives today as the 5 pence.

Short Cross Penny
Silver coin whose name derived from the small cross within a beaded circle on the reverse. Introduced in 1180 by Henry II, it was replaced by the long cross derivative in 1247.

SILVER GILT
Silver with a coating of gold applied in leaf form.

Sixpence
One of the new silver coins introduced by Edward VI in 1551 as part of a scheme to improve the coinage after the debasement which had taken place under his father, Henry VIII. The sixpence continued to be minted regularly right up to the introduction of decimalisation.

Sovereign
A gold coin introduced by Henry VII and so-called because its obverse had a portrait of the King seated on his throne. Although originally valued at 20 shillings, the sovereign later fluctuated in value, weight and fineness. It was superseded by the guinea in 1663 but was revived in 1817 during the extensive recoinage of that year. The sovereign is still minted as a current coin of legal tender.

Spade Guinea
Name given to the George III guineas minted between 1787 and 1799 because the shield on the reverse resembled a garden spade or the spade in a pack of cards. Many brass imitations were made in Victorian times for use as counters in card games.

SPINDLE WHORL
Spindle whorls were attached to a piece of wood and used for spinning fleece.
Spindle whorles most are NOT !! they are monastic fishing net weights all fish in lakes were food and they used these polo shaped lead weights often decorated in the trapping nets thats why there are so many around but of course some were used in spinning but think they are more plumb shape ? Cmon wot you reckon ?? Willy Muffit

STATER
Term used for any standard silver or gold coin of Ancient Greece.
Name given to the gold coins which circulated in southern England before the Roman occupation. The coins were crudely made copies of the gold and silver staters of ancient Greece, some featuring a portrait of Apollo or a chariot.

Styca
Contemporary with the silver sceat, the styca was a small coin of debased silver, later entirely of copper, which circulated in Northumbria. Some were minted by the archbishops of York.

TERRET RING
A terret ring was used to secure the reigns of chariot horses.

Testoon
From the Italian testa and the Old French teste, meaning head, this term was applied to coins which gave great importance to the head of the monarch. Because of its resemblance to such foreign coins, the shilling of Henry VII became known as a testoon.

Third-Farthing
A small copper, late bronze, coin minted for use in Malta between 1827 and 1913 to replace the grano, a local coin worth one-third of a British farthing.

Third-Guinea
Introduced as a seven-shilling (35p) gold coin in 1797 because a shortage of silver made the minting of crowns and halfcrowns uneconomic. The coin was discontinued after 1813.

Three-Farthings
A small silver coin issued only during the reign of Elizabeth I.

Three-Halfpence
A small silver coin initially issued by Elizabeth I, then revived from 1834 to 1862 as a silver coin for use in the West Indies and other British colonies.

Threepence
Another of the new silver coins introduced by Edward VI in 1551. The silver threepence survives as part of Maundy money but, as a circulating coin, was superseded after 1944 by the twelve-sided brass threepence which had debuted in 1937. The brass threepence was demonetised in 1971.

Thrymsa
Meaning three, or one-third, thrymsas were of Merovingian and Byzantine origin and their designs were copied onto gold coins by the early Anglo-Saxons. Over time, their inscriptions became illegible and were replaced by runes. The thrymsa was eventually replaced by the silver sceat.

Token
An unofficial coin issued by a private citizen or a company, usually at a time when there was a shortage of legal tender coins. There have been three periods in British history when tokens, mainly of copper or brass, have been issued and circulated widely. The first occasion was from 1649 to 1672, when tokens, mostly halfpence and farthings, were issued by local tradesmen and some municipal corporations; they were declared illegal after the first regal copper halfpence and farthings were minted in 1672. The other two occasions followed the increase of trade and commerce caused by the Industrial Revolution. The Mint produced so little regal coinage that between 1787 and 1797 many tradesmen and manufacturers were forced to issue tokens in order to give change to their customers or pay their workforce. The shortage of regal coins was temporarily alleviated with Matthew Boulton's Cartwheel coins. By 1811 the shortage was again chronic and private tokens, including some in silver, again began to appear. These were declared illegal in 1817 and within a few years the Mint was providing sufficient low denomination coins to satisfy national need.

Turner
A copper variety of the Scottish twopence first issued under James I. The coins were later to become known as bodles.

Unicorn
Deriving its name from the obverse figure of a unicorn, these Scottish gold coins were initially struck in the reign of James III.

Unite
A type of sovereign minted initially for James I and so-called because it was inscribed with a Latin quotation from the Book of Exekial, FACIAM EOS IN GENTEM VNAM ('I will make them one nation') referring to the union of the English and Scottish crowns in 1603.

Veiled Head
The portrait of Queen Victoria on the coins minted between 1893 and the end of her reign in 1901. Designed by Sir Thomas Brock, the portrait shows her wearing a coronet over which was draped a long veil.

VESICA . . . as in 'Vesica Seal'
a pointed oval shaped seal. The shape of the Vesica Pisces is derived from the intersection of two circles. In Pagan times, this symbol was associated with the Goddess Venus, and represented female genitalia.
Not a lot of people know that.

Vigo
Inscribed below the portrait of Queen Anne on some gold and silver coins minted in 1702 and 1703 to indicate that the bullion used for these had been captured by Admiral Sir George Rooke during a naval raid on treasure ships in the Spanish port of Vigo.

Wire Money
Name given to the Maundy coins issued in 1792 because the figures denoting their value were unusually thin.

Wolsey's Groat
Name given to the silver groat or fourpence (2p) minted by Cardinal Wolsey while he was Archbishop of York. The ecclesiastical mints at Canterbury, Durham and York were permitted to issue small silver coins in denominations of a halfgroat, or twopence, a penny and a halfpenny. The ambitious Cardinal over-reached himself by having groats struck. These were of similar design to the regal groats of Henry VIII but with the addition of a cardinal's hat and the initials TW on the reverse. This infringement of the royal prerogative formed part of the case against Wolsey when he was charged with high treason.

Workhouse Token
Similar in scope and purpose to the ordinary token, but issued by local overseers of the poor. Birmingham, Bradford, Halesowen, Keighley and Sheffield were among the town where workhouse tokens were issued. In order to avoid hardship to people who had accepted the tokens, those of Birmingham and Sheffield were granted a six-year extension when other tokens were declared illegal in 1817.

Young Head
The portrait of Queen Victoria by William Wyon which was used on most of the coins minted for her between her accession in 1837 and the introduction of the 'bun' head on the bronze coins in 1860 and of the Jubilee head on the gold and silver coins in 1887.


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