Restoration of Stability
The first George III silver coins reissued together in one set
Britain’s balance sheet bore the brunt of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. Economic crisis loomed. In 1816 a massive recoinage was undertaken to help stabilise the nation’s finances. Under the stewardship of William Wellesley-Pole, production of new silver coins went into overdrive. Steam-powered technology transformed the production process at the new Royal Mint at Tower Hill. Coins of vastly superior quality were struck in record numbers, restoring faith in Britain’s currency and putting in place a system of coinage that survived almost unchanged until decimalisation.
This three-coin set brings together the first silver coins reissued under George III: a sixpence, shilling and half-crown, the latter bearing Pistrucci’s infamous ‘Bull’s Head’ portrait of the king. Unpopular and short-lived, it was replaced in 1817 after widespread public hostility. Together the George III coins tell the story of one of the most fascinating periods in minting history, one of innovation in the face of adversity that set new standards of production excellence.