Fascinating Cartwheel Penny – Complete Version

In March this year I repeated an updated version of the ‘Cartwheel Coin’ starring Matthew Boulton and omitted [forgot] to tell you about …

Forger Fauntleroy

Henry Fauntleroy was the last person in England to hang for forgery

Fauntleroy’s crime created a lot of interest. He was hanged at Newgate in 1824 at the age of 39 and It was reported that there was an estimated crowd of 100,00 who watched the spectacle. Of course, it was a great day out for the whole family, pickpockets and peanut sellers; also vendors selling pamphlets to the captive lgawkers. Seats at the front were sold at £10, an enormous amount of money in those days. As the now defunct News of the World used to proclaim, ‘all human life is there’.

“A GREAT DAY OUT”

Henry was the son of one of the founders of Marsh, Sibbald & Co. Bankers. In 1800 he joined his father’s firm as a clerk, and after seven years he was taken into the partnership. He soon took over day-to-day management of the bank but economic conditions in the early 1800s were difficult and the bank became became hard pressed

Fauntleroy forged signatures on securities belonging to his customers. After a while, he was forging documents to cover up his previous forgeries. He used his ill-gotten gains to live the high life, becoming notorious in social circles for his grand house, his many mistresses and lavish lifestyle.

The Bank of England became involved and Fauntleroy was arrested for forging the trustees’ signatures and committed for trial. It was rumoured that he had stolen £250,000. He admitted his guilt but pleaded that he had used the misappropriated funds to pay his firm’s debts. However, he was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged. Despite two appeals, he was executed on the 30 November 1824.

Cartwheel

I was alerted to this story when a coin came up at auction with an inscription relating to the crash of the bank and the execution of Henry Fauntleroy. It amplifies the fact that some bankers are corrupt [allegedly] and it isn’t just a current phenomenon.

A George III cartwheel penny of 1797 – Courtesy of Timeline Auctions

Notice the obverse, within the raised rim neatly engraved with, “Such be the fate of all insolvent Bilking Bankers & Agents” and in five lines across the centre ”Fauntleroy the ROBBER of Widows & Orphans Excecuted at Newgate”. Courtesy LondnonCoins. There was no provenance with the coin … but the blurb said, “perhaps this coin was from a payout to one of the creditors who then had the inscription engraved as a memento.” Feasible I suppose, but I think not.

The Net is full of similar inscribed cartwheel coins; that suggests to me that such mementos were being sold by enterprising vendors. Here’s a couple of other examples …

Courtesy of LondonCoins

Courtesy NumisBids. Estimate for the one on the left was £200. Price realised was £550

Not all Cartwheels designed to be sold at the hanging were executed [pun wasn’t intended] to the same high standard of engraving shown in the examples above, yet this has similarities.

The coin is engraved on the obverse with ‘Such be the fate of all Insolvent Bilking Bankers and Agents’ The inscription is the same, but with the rather crude depiction of a hanging man on the gallows in the centre with ‘Fauntleroy’ inscribed below. I’m not sure about the deep ‘slot’ cut into the obverse. Unusual – can anybody explain?


What follows is The Times report of the last public hanging in England. This account conveys what the atmosphere must have been like at Fauntleroy’s hanging . . .

The Times Report of the Last Public Hanging in England

“Yesterday morning, in the presence of a vast concourse of spectators, Michael Barrett, the author of the Clerkenwell Explosion, was hanged in front of Newgate. In its circumstances there was very little to distinguish this from ordinary executions. The crowd was greater, perhaps, and better behaved; still, from the peculiar atrocity of the crime for which Barrett suffered, and from the fact of its being probably the last public execution in England, it deserves more than usual notice . . . “

Read more by clicking on this link

Although this report is interesting in it’s own way, I am unable to forget details I read in another report.

The crowd noisily cheered, made catcalls and threw other insults as the man’s feet twisted and turned in a frenzy; tweaking sometimes fo half and hour before he died. When urine was seen trickling down the felon’s leg, the crowd fell silent. They knew he was dead.’

Hanging of Henry Fauntleroy – Public Domain.

UPDATE 29th MAY

Detectorist Tony Jones of the COUNTERMARKED COUNTERSTAMPED & ENGRAVED COINS site [phew] on Faceache has allowed me to show an old coin of his. And he’s done his homework! Finds of this nature may not be as old as a hammered coin but, in my estimate, are far more interesting.

Reverse and obverse of George III cartwheel twopence

Although not as neatly marked as my examples, this coin says a lot more

The Reverse is stamped DAM THE KING AND HANG PIT.

And the Obverse DAM THE WAR AND TO HELL WITH PIT.

All of that makes sense when you hear what Tony says: ‘William Pitt the Younger became Prime Minister in 1793 … his 19 years as PM were dominated by major political events in Europe, including the French revolution and the Napoleonic wars … and people think anti government rhetoric is a modern day phenomenon!’

Going by the crude marks and misspelling of DAMN [dam] and PITT [pit] I would also suggest [assume] that this was done by one of the the king’s ‘ordinary’ subjects. Pitt was reviled because of his raising of taxes and, like George, was certainly not in the electorate’s good book.

What would be he most suitable coin to mark this display my views on the current PM? Perhaps Bri could do the necessary: BOG OFF BORIS; BORIS is CRAP and a LIAR – perhaps not.

THANK YOU TONY FOR SHARING A MOST INTRIGUING FIND

4 thoughts on “Fascinating Cartwheel Penny – Complete Version

  1. What a unique story John.. I removed the one you posted on the forum earlier..

    Just shows the chicanery that was done, and probably still continues to this day, with individuals in the banking industry

    Micheal

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It beats our counterstamped coins any day John.. LOL Someone had a real dislike for Mr. Pitt…. and the king.. It seems as though things really do not change over the centuries.. politicians are held in such [well deserved] disdain

    Micheal

    Liked by 1 person

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4 thoughts on “Fascinating Cartwheel Penny – Complete Version

  1. What a unique story John.. I removed the one you posted on the forum earlier..

    Just shows the chicanery that was done, and probably still continues to this day, with individuals in the banking industry

    Micheal

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It beats our counterstamped coins any day John.. LOL Someone had a real dislike for Mr. Pitt…. and the king.. It seems as though things really do not change over the centuries.. politicians are held in such [well deserved] disdain

    Micheal

    Liked by 1 person

Please Leave a Reply

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