Search the Collection
Advanced Search

King George III "cartwheel" twopence, 1797

Date: 1797
Overall: 41 mm, 0.048 kg
Medium: Bronzed copper
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Purchased with the assistance of the Andrew Thyne Reid Trust
Classification:Coins and medals
Object Name: Coin
Object No: 00025200
Place Manufactured:England
Related Place:South Head,

User Terms

    Referred to as Proclamation coins, this coin is an example of the various currencies circulating in the colony of New South Wales in 1800 when Governor King proclaimed a local value set out in a written document.

    This cartwheel twopence is made of copper and weighed two ounces (56.7 gms) when struck at Matthew Boulton's SOHO Foundry in 1797. It was amongst the first British coins to be manufactured utilising steam powered engines made by James Watt and, despite the inconvenience of its weight, was in general circulation in the colony of New South Wales in the early 19th century.

    The monetary value of the penny and twopence was based on the value of an ounce and two ounces of copper respectively. The name 'cartwheel' derives from the unusually heavy rim found on these coins.

    The DUNBAR Collection was retrieved under the auspices of an amnesty enacted through the jurisdiction of the Historic Shipwrecks Act, 1976.
    SignificanceThis twopence is representative of currency produced in England and used in the colony of New South Wales during the mid-19th century. It is also associated with the tragic loss of the DUNBAR on 20 August 1857, the worst peace-time merchant shipping tragedy in the history of New South Wales.
    HistoryThe 1797 cartwheel copper penny, minted at Matthew Boulton’s steam-powered coining press in Birmingham, was the first coin formally exported to New South Wales for use as currency.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: King George III "cartwheel" twopence, 1797

    Assigned title: DUNBAR Shipwreck

    Related People
    Related Sites South Head

    Discuss this Object


    Please log in to add a comment.