January 4, 2024

Thomas Wyon Junior

Eighteen Pence
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The Jersey 18 Pence designed and engraved by Thomas Wyon

Thomas Wyon Junior was born in Birmingham in 1792, at the period when his father, Thomas and his uncle, Peter Wyon, were in partnership and busy with the large token coinage. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to his father, who by then had obtained the appointment of Chief Engraver of Seals. He also obtained training from Nathaniel Marchant, who in 1806 was still working at the Mint and had ten more years to live. Marchant was still working on coins before being dropped to Engraver of Seals, and died in 1816, being succeeded in that post by Thomas Wyon Senior.
Thomas Wyon Jr. joined the school of sculpture of the Royal Academy, where he obtained two silver prize medals. While only 16 he engraved his first medallic die in 1809, and in 1810 and again in 1811 was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Society of Arts. In the latter year he was appointed Probationer Engraver of the Mint and given the work of making the dies for the famous Bank of England and Bank of Ireland tokens, along with L. Pingo And Marchant. Finally on 13 October 1815 he was appointed, at the age of 23, Chief Engraver to the Mint.
It was obvious that a genius at this particular type of work had been discovered, and, like many geniuses, he packed a great amount of work in to a short life, since he died of consumption at Hastings in September 1817. Among the great amounts of work for the coinage which he accomplished, apart from the many medals on which he was engaged, he was also responsible for the following:
Silver. Three Shillings and Eighteen Pence for the years from 1812 to 1816, the obverse design being by Marchant but the dies cut by Thomas Wyon Jr., who both designed and cut the reverses of the Eighteen pence. These pieces are some of the Bank Tokens mentioned above. Half Crown, Shilling and Sixpence for various years from 1816 to 1820, his dies being used after his death. The obverses of these pieces were designed by Pistrucci but Thomas Wyon Jr. engraved them and designed and engraved the reverses.
As stated earlier the obverse of the first Half Crown had been designed by Pistrucci and adapted by Thomas Wyon Jr. In 1813 and 1816 he engraved the dies for the coinage issued for British Guiana in silver and copper, and in 1813, 1814 and 1815 the dies for the gold and silver Pistoles and Gulden for be remembered that our kings from George I to William IV inclusive (the House of Hanover) were Dukes of Brunswick and Luneburg, Arch-Treasurers of the Holy Roman Empire and Electors. The titles and form of government there changed over the period, due in part to the Napoleonic Wars. Thomas Wyon Jr. also cut dies for coins for Ceylon, Ireland and Jersey and for an unexpected piece, the gold Twenty Francs of 1815. This showed the bust of Louis XVIII on the obverse and the arms of France on the reverse. These pieces, 871,581 of which Council dated 10 May 1815, and were used to pay the troops serving under the Duke of Wellington. Wyon engraved numerous dies for patterns for both the British Imperial and British Colonial coins.
In view of the criticism of Pistrucci's head of George III, mentioned above, one of the artist's patterns is of particular interest. It is for the obverse of a Half Crown, dated 181-, and shows the king with a half smile on his lips. Of this piece Pistrucci wrote:
Proof of the head of the Half Crown of George III., a work by T. Wyon, Chief-engraver at the Mint, and retouched by me with the diamond point. This head was copied from one of my cameos preserved at the Mint, but was never issued, the puncheons of the said head, retouched by me, were burnt several times at the Mint. They are extremely rare, as although they resemble the Half Crowns in circulation, they differ in the face, which on the common coins is more morbid. Given to me by Mr. Pole. B. Pistrucci.

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