A quickie for coin collectors: an unknown from Guernsey

I have a coin from my great grandmother’s collection of souvenir coins she collected all of her life as momentos of places she had been.

The coin in question is “One Double” from the Island of Guernsey. The date is 1800 something (it’s in a safe deposit box and I haven’t looked at it for years.) It is “brown,” so I take it to be a copper of some kind.

Does anyone know anything about this kind of coin?

I don’t have much knowledge about coins…but I DO know that not all minted items are coins. Sometimes they are tokens. For instance, I have any number of arcade tokens, which are brown or silver colored. Most of them say “1 Credit” or something like that. I’ve also seen (but not purchased) brothel tokens, which indicate whether the token is good for one screw or an all nighter. I used to live in Las Vegas, and I saw a lot of casino chips, which had the name of the casino and the value on them. I probably still have a few dollar chips.

I think that there’s a possibility that what you have is a token, not a coin.

My WAG would be that it’s a double florin. Maybe something like this. Basically worthless, alas.

Guernsey had its own monetary system, based on the “double” = 2 French deniers) which eventually was tied into Sterling. It had copper coins of 1, 2, 4, and 8 doubles, 12 8-double pieces being equal to a shilling (which made the 8 double coin worth an Old Style penny, the 4 double a halfpenny, and the 2 double a farthing). Odds are it has Queen Victoria on the obverse in her role as Duke of Normandy.

I was once told that the coin I tried to pay with in England wasn’t legal tender. It looked exactly like any other 2p coins I had ever had except that it was issued in the bailiwick of Gurnsey. How on Earth did the cashier spot the difference?

The heads side is certainly very similar, although the wording is different, but the tails side should have been completely different to the UK coin.

Coins from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not valid here, and cashiers look out for them. Same went for Irish Republic coins, which were the same size and weight (before they joined the euro).

Not legal tender perhaps, but the coins are widely accepted. I had no trouble using a Channel Island 50p (can’t remember which island) that I got back from a vending machine the other day. I am a little surprised that any shop would be so fussy as to refuse a Guernsey 2p! (for USers, that’s roughly 3c).

True in general terms. Note from Wikipedia:

A note elsewhere said that Guernsey and Jersey money can be exchanged at the Bank of England.

YES! Thanks to all of you for both an answer and a context.

Tapioca Dextrin: You got it! That’s what I have, except its one double. It has the three griffins (?) on the other side and the color is exactly right. No doubt about it.

Also, the general information on Channel Island coins is interesting, and the idea that it might be a token was a good guess–we have other tokens my great grandmother saved over the years, one for a general store in a gold rush town on the Yukon (Circle City). I have a collector trying like mad to buy that one; he’s says its unique.

As far as the use of outdated coins as non-legal tender in England: In France, in 1970, I found some of my coins turned down regularly, when I laid down a handful, until I discovered they were cheap pot metal from WW II, Scrip from the Vichy regime, I think. I had, of course, received them as change in other transactions. Sharp practice against ignorant foreigners seems to be common in Europe.

Thanks again; I researched this coin online years ago and got nowhere. I even asked a coin collector in England who was the relative of a friend, and he knew nothing about it either.