December 31, 2023

The Rarity of Various Jersey Coins

     Although in his book, Currencies of the Anglo Norman Isles, A.L.T. McCammon list many varieties, there is no mention of the rarity of the various coins. With the aid of various price lists, a touch of numismatic science, and a lot of voodoo, I have attempted to come up with a rating system. If the variety is not listed, there is insufficient data for my estimate.

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     In building a set of coins from Jersey, the collector must remember that the entire pre-decimal series consists of only 59 circulation strike coins along with a couple of the rare proof only issues.  Although the mintages are very small, all of the circulation strike coins are available to collectors.  Since there are only relatively few coins in this series, one should try to acquire top quality coins.  Once started, you will find that most issues will require some aggressive digging to locate examples in mint condition.  So with the following numismatic discussion, we are considering coins being in either uncirculated or almost uncirculated grades.  With that said, let me first discuss the pre-1877 coins.

     For the one thirteenth of a shilling copper coins, the 1841 issue is by far the most difficult one to locate in an uncirculated grade.  Don't know why, but it is.  You might also find it difficult to locate the 1844 issue.  The 1851 and 1858 should not be that hard in purchasing one of them.  The 1861 issue is by far the easiest large copper coin to acquire in an AU/Uncirculated state.  However, if you are truly looking for a challenge, consider the one thirteenth of a shilling bronze series.  This three-year series is by far the hardest one to complete with coins in top grades.  The 1871 penny is probably the scarcest one in this series.

     For the copper one twenty-sixth of a shilling coins, you should be able to acquire various 1858 types with ease, followed by the 1861 and then the 1851 issue. The first two coins (1841/1844) are hard, but they are out there. You will probably ascertain that the 1844 issue is a little harder to find than the first year of issue of 1841. For the bronze one twenty-sixth of a shilling coins, the first year of mintage is readily available. The 1870 half-penny is also a hard coin to locate, but not as bad as the last year of issue.

     The last pre-1877 coin is the 1841 copper farthing. This is a truly hard coin to find in high-end grades. Expect to pay top dollar for one of these in top grades.

     The 1877-1966 coins are much easier on the pocket book than the previous group. However, they too can be a challenge in locating decent examples. Most Victorian era coins are available, with both the 1877-H penny and half-penny being the hardiest coins to find in a true uncirculated grade. Some of the other harder coins to find in "nice" condition include the George V 1930s pennies, and the 1913, 1933 and 1946 halfpennies.

     Also in this study, I have included the 1813/4 tokens, both the copper and silver issues. While the silver tokens are only scarce, all copper Jersey tokens are rare in any condition. If you ever run across one, I suggest you pick it up.

     As for acquiring certain varieties, it has been my experience that this is a function of luck. You buy what you get and hope for the best. As for the pre-1945 proof coins, these are truly rare. I have a few and I consider myself lucky. Do not let me discourage you in building your collection. I am sure that with a little perseverance and luck, it will be completed.


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