William Wood was a person of considerable wealth and financial standing. Throughout the west of England, he owned numerous profitable iron and copper mines. Known as a shrewd businessman, in addition to his ventures in mining, he is also credited with three separate coinage ventures.
Notably, two out of three of these ventures produced series that later circulated throughout the North American colonies. The following outlines this coinage, and exhibits each series’ halfpence.
Hibernia Coinage of Ireland
The first being the Wood’s Hibernia coinage of Ireland, which Wood purchased the patent from the King’s mistress, the Duchess of Kendal, for £10,000.
This coinage consisted of copper farthings and half pennies. After lackluster acceptance in Ireland, a large portion of the coinage was shipped over to the North American colonies for circulation.
Rosa American for the North American Colonies
The second being the Wood’s Rosa American coinage for the “The Plantations,” or North American colonies. Wood obtained the patent to produce this coinage on July 12th, 1722.
In this particular series, Wood produced his coinage using Bath metal, a composition of Silver, Tutanaigne (zinc), and Brass. This particular coinage was specifically patented for use in the North American Colonies.
In this series, he produced halfpennies, pennies, and two pence. For rights to produce this coinage, Wood paid yearly rents to the Crown of £100 and to the Clerk Comptroller £200.
Coinage for the Isle of Man
Finally, the third was Wood’s Coinage for The Isle of Man, Derby Family. In this series, he produced pennies and half pennies. Specimens exist in both copper and Bath metal. It is unknown how much Wood was compensated for producing this coinage.
Notes and Sources
The Hibernia Coinage of William Wood (1722-1724), Sydney Martin, C4 Publications, ©2007
The Coinage of William Wood 1722-1733, Phillip Nelson M.D., 1903
Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins, Q. David Bowers, Whitman, @2009
Monnayage – Travail de l’or Recueil de Planches sur les Sciences, Denis Diderot, c.1783, plate 17