Suffragette Defaced 1897 Penny

We have a defaced 1897 Queen Victoria penny in our Women's Suffrage Collection.

The words "VOTES FOR WOMEN" have been stamped over the head of the queen.

It was thought that the suffragettes had copied the practice from anarchists, who had defaced coins with the phrase ‘Vive l’Anarchie’. It is not known how many coins were defaced - there are several examples in museums and private collections, but the effort required to deface a single coin means it is unlikely that many were made. It would have been very time-consuming to make, and rendered the coins very difficult to use in shops, as people would have been very wary about accepting them.

Almost all the coins with the suffragette countermarks are defaced on the head side, with the words printed across the face of the king or queen.