Kings Norton Mint trial pennies
Kings Norton Metal company officially struck British pennies in 1918 and 1919, but prior to that it struck a small number of speculative pieces similar to British pennies.
Kings Norton Metal Company was established in 1889 (https://www.dnw.co.uk/auction-archive/special-collections/lot.php?specialcollection_id=160&lot_uid=116914) and in 1902 they advised the Royal Mint that were now able to strike coins as well as supply planchets. Kings Norton Mint did supply bronze farthing, halfpenny and penny planchets to the Royal Mint in 1912 and 1913 (https://www.dnw.co.uk/auction-archive/lot-archive/lot.php?department=Coins&lot_uid=116798), and after striking bronze pennies in 1918 and 1919 they went on to service various Commonwealth coin contracts for the Royal Mint.
The speculative trial pennies that it struck were likely to have been demonstrated to possible clients. There are three designs known, two of which bear the date of 1902, so they were almost certainly struck on the newly installed coining equipment in 1902. None of the designs bear a denomination but they have been denominated as pennies likely due to their size. The slightly weak but near perfect likeness of the portrait of Edward VII suggests that the obverse dies used were copied from circulating pennies, perhaps by using a pantograph on a penny from change.
|1||Edward VII in a circle||20 groups of four interlinked rings around four overlapping circles of interlinked rings, each containing four rings|
|2||Edward VII in a circle||KINGS NORTON METAL CO L.D 1902 around a circle of interlinked rings, around a circle of 10 rings, around a circle of interlinked rings, around the cipher of Kings Norton Mint|
|3||Edward VII in a circle and a circle of interlinked rings||KINGS NORTON METAL CO L.D 1902 around a circle of interlinked rings, around a circle of 10 rings, around a circle of interlinked rings, around the cipher of Kings Norton Mint|
A type 1 sold in 2013 in London Coins auction 142 as lot 2730 for £1,100. A type 2 sold in September 2005 in a Dix Noonan Webb auction as lot 383 for £460 and what appears to be a different example sold in 2019 in London Coins auction 167 as lot 889 for £750. A type 3 sold in September 2005 in a Dix Noonan Webb auction as lot 384 for £800.