[LEAPSECS] Leap smear and Big Ben - clock's penny's replaced - plot thickens

mike cook michael.cook at sfr.fr
Sun Oct 2 10:26:10 EDT 2011

Le 02/10/2011 08:31, mike cook a écrit :

> Le 02/10/2011 07:57, mike cook a écrit :

>> The clock was made in 1854, though not installed and started in the

>> tower until 1859. In those days the penny was 18,8 grams, twice that

>> of the 1860 and latter pennies.

>> So I wonder which ones are currently in use? If the penny story is

>> true I would have thought that pennys available at the time of

>> testing and installation would still be there. The halfpenny of the

>> 1825-1860 period was 9,3 grammes, so maybe the original weights were

>> halfpenny's and later swapped with 9.4g penny's.


> Just located an article from Reuters dated November 2009,



> 150-year old pennies removed from London's Big Ben


> ...

> Three of the 10 coins have now been replaced with a 5 pound crown --

> produced as part of the Royal Mint's collection to celebrate the

> London 2012 Olympics -- which features Big Ben's clock face.


> But McCann will keep hold of the old pennies in case they need to be

> returned to the pendulum at a future date."



> So if Reuters can be believed, the penny's date from the time that

> the clock was installed and are thus the 18,8g issue.

Further research shows that maybe Reuters ware wrong about the age of
the pennies:

I checked the weight of the £5 crown commemorative coin. There were 2
versions issued in 2009. One in gold with a weight of 39.94 grammes and
another in silver with a weight of 28,28grammes.

As the Reuters report states that three coins being changed , and
assuming that there was a relation between the weight of those removed
with the crown which was added, the best fit is that the penny's were
the 9.4g coins issue between 1860-1971
(3 x 9,4g = 28,2g).

From that, it look like Reuters were not correct about the coins
age... I know this will keep me awake, so I will try and contact Mike
McCann who is the clock keeper.

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