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Rosa Americana 1/2d

1723
Origin: England, London or Bristol
22 mm.
Brass
Gift of the Lasser family
Acc. No. 2002-77,3
Obv. - Laur. bust of George I to right

Rev. - "American" rose, banner below
Label:A prosperous copper and tin mine owner from Staffordshire, England, William Wood mistakenly thought that a royal patent to produce coins for Ireland and the American colonies would make him rich. Despite the pressure Wood expended to have King George I grant his requests, His Majesty's mistress, the Duchess of Munster and Kendal, absconded with the royal warrants and actually held the pieces of parchment hostage.

Wood was forced to pay £10,000 to the Duchess, and in order to preserve his profit, reduced the size and weight of the three Rosa Americana coins, the twopence, penny, and halfpenny. Their light weight and apparently confusing denominations ensured they would be unwelcome in America. Massachusetts responded with an alternative, the three-denomination set of small parchment notes issued in 1722, and New York merchants refused to accept them.

Nonetheless, since coins were so desperately needed in the colonies, they did find their way into circulation. Colonial Williamsburg archaeologists have excavated numerous examples of all denominations.
Provenance:Purchased from Anthony Terranova, 24 February 2000
Inscription(s):Obv - GEORGIUS . DEI . GRATIA . REX

Rev - ROSA . AMERICANA * UTILE . DULCI * 1723/2