The Mayflower and Seven Facts You May Not Know

mayflower
On 16th September 1620, a merchant ship called the Mayflower sailed from England to Plymouth, USA to the ‘New World’. On board the ship were 102 men, women and children; half of which were Pilgrims’ looking for a new life away from religious persecution. After a treacherous journey through storms and high waves, the mayflower finally reached its journeys end after 66 grueling days.

We’re looking at the history of the vessel, as well as five facts you may not know…

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The Trial of the Pyx – What is it, and why does it exist?

trial of the pyx
The Trial of the Pyx is one of Britain’s longest-established judicial ceremonies; held since the 12th century and remaining largely unchanged since that date and Henry III’s reign.

The word ‘pyx’ comes from the Latin word ‘pyxis’ or small box, and in this case refers to the chests used to store and transport the coins ready for the trial. Throughout the year, coins are randomly selected from every batch and denomination struck, sealed in bags of 50 and locked away in ‘Pyx’ boxes ready for testing to commence at the Trial of Pyx.

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The 2020 Pre-Decimal 50th Anniversary Gold Sovereign Range

The 2020 Pre-decimal 50th Anniversary Gold One-Eighth Sovereign Banner
In 1970, the last ever pre-decimal coins were struck. Pre-Decimal coinage is however very much still heard and seen today, despite there being many younger generations who have only ever known ‘Decimal’ currency of pounds and pence, missing out on centuries of history and tradition.

Decimalisation, or Decimal Day as it is most known, occurred in 1971 after the pre-decimal system was deemed too complicated with pounds, shillings and pence. Initially, the plan was to make the new decimal currency into cents and dollars (known more in the USA), but this was reconsidered, and pounds and pence were the chosen coinage.

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Timeline of the 200 Years of the British Gold Sovereign

The British Sovereign was first imagined in 1489 by King Henry VII, after he instructed officers of his Royal Mint to produce a ‘new money of gold’. Prior to that point, England had enjoyed circulating gold coinage for almost a century and a half, but the new coin, named a Sovereign, was to be the largest coin both in size and value.

Then in 1817, the ‘new sovereign’ made its debut with a newly imagined design featuring St George slaying the dragon. The new design was created by Italian gem engraver Benedetto Pistrucci and was destined to become one of the world’s most loved coin designs.

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Coin Grading – What You Need to Know

coin grading
There are a number of coin grading scales to bear in mind when looking into coins and their condition. It can be very daunting and confusing if you are unsure what you are looking for, so we have broken it all down for you, from historical grading to the present day; UK and US.

In Britain, the original grading scale classed every coin as either ‘Fine’ or ‘Extremely Fine’ – these were the only options. As times changed, extra steps were added into that scheme: ‘Good’ and ‘Very Good’, both below Fine, and ‘Very Fine’, below Extremely Fine. That created five grading steps, which was even further expanded over time by dealers by adding ‘Almost’ or ‘Good’ to any of those grades, with ‘Almost Fine’ being less than Fine and ‘Good Fine’ being better than Fine, but less than ‘Almost Very Fine’.

For over one hundred years this was the grading scheme in Europe, and it didn’t include the grade ‘Uncirculated’, for the simple reason that it was considered that any coin that came from circulation couldn’t be ‘uncirculated’.

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