Antique tester for gold coins including Sovereigns.
It unfolds from it's neat wooden case, 125 X 20 X 12mm.
This design dates from the 1790s but we don't know when this actual balance was made, it could have been as late as the 1820s (ref. page 42 of Weighing Coins by Michael A Crawforth - see the picture).
See also, a modern Sovereign-tester
Put the Sovereign on the little platform, the end of the beam has a flip-over piece to switch it from weighing Sovereigns to weighing half-sovereigns
There is a slight variation in the weight of genuine Sovereigns, the heaviest we could find (8g) tilted the balance almost to the bottom, that's fine, the balance is very sensitive. The lightest Sovereign we could find (7.95g) tilted the balance by just 2 or 3mm, that's fine too, the balance is very sensitive.
Although this works fine on Sovereigns, the 'modern' Sovereign wasn't minted until 1817, which is why the inscriptions refer to Guineas (20 Shillings = one pound [the Sovereign], and a Guinea was 21 Shillings).
It's nice that inside the box has the original inscriptions. They are almost impossible to read with the naked eye, and it's not a lot easier when using the very best quality jeweller's loupe. In the end I used an inexpensive 20X Microscope. The result (below) isn't perfect, but at least I could see, quite clearly, that many of the letters have worn away and there's no point struggling to read them.
Note that in the 18th Century the letter "f" is an "s" or "v".
UNDER THE MECHANISM:
?? turn at the ?? for a Guinea ; to the centre for half a guinea at the flide at the cypher ? where it flops nearer the centre is farthing above the currency ; the dififions the other wey are a penny each ?light bold – Thife balances are as accurate as the beft of fcales, more ?editious, portable and no fo liable to be out of order.
[It's the instructions for weighing a Guinea, half-Guinee and other coins, and an advert saying how good the balance is]
A Wilkinson ??
(Late of Kirby)
IN THE LID:
?esgh quick? ?? may be tried after ustds the fastest at the cypher ?? they are foon brought to by the fide. Keep the machine ?? you bren the beam. Before you fhut the box ??
[The first bit is something to do with using the scale ("cypher"), the second bit is something to do with folding it properly before you close the lid...otherwise you'll break it]
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