Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Dead Dolphin ashore May 2016

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Private Haffenden

Most of my life I have been interested in the Thanet coastline being involved in activities like treasure hunting, beachcombing or just investigating the history. Through out the years I must have found many coins and tokens, something in the region of about 10,000 over a thirty year period. Many of the coins I found lost as loose change dating back to the George III period and I know all the hot spots on the North Thanet coastline where to find them, natural conditions taken into consideration of course .

Interesting as they may be they do not tell a story, other than the fact that they were lost in a certain period of history and the last person to hold the coin before I found it was the person who lost the coin. Some coins do have a interesting feature which has nothing to do with rarity of value, it is the way they have been personalized. This could be done in many ways such as a keepsake, for good luck, for practical use or just a memento or a love token. In most cases this was done by people who lived in a time when people didn't own much and the only lasting object available was a coin.

These personalized coins can be found almost anywhere like nailed to a beam in a old house, behind a mast in a wooden built boat, amongst peronal possessions or even just lost.
Above is what is known as a "French penny" dated 1856, a 10 centime of the Napolean III period which was the same size a pre decimal british penny, therefore earning the name. It has been worn smooth on one side and personalized and hand engraved PTE A E HAFFENDEN 405323. A surname familiar to this part of East Kent and obviously a serving soldier. This shouldn't be to hard to trace with name rank and number and I bet there is history behind it.

Below is a George III Cartwheel 1797 2 pence, it has been holed with initials either side, this coin has probably been nailed into a beam of a house or keel of a wooden boat. Mick Twyman once found a third of a guinea nailed into a beam of a house in Lombard Street in Margate. So this is something to look for in a old house.
Coins were often love tokens holed by soldiers and seamen for girlfriends and wives to wear like this George III "kings shilling"dated 1787.
The most popular coin of all for presonalizing has to be the silver threepence, it can be found on bracelets etc, I have found some with the names "polly" and "ethel" which were very popular Edwardian names. I often wonder how many silver three pences are family heirlooms tucked away in jewellry boxes.


Bertie Biggles said...

Tony, it looks as if you have Pte Haffenden's ID disc? GGC was the abbreviation of Garrison Guard Company ( A 1914-18 unit?) His army number and religion are shown, C of E. Was it an official one or did he knock it up himself perhaps? Imperial War Museum may provide more info?

Tony Beachcomber said...

Bertie, it is a home made one and thanks for the info, especially the onfo on GGC. Its been killing me working out what it could be.