LOWER CANADA Bouquet Sous Halfpenny Breton 690 Charlton LC-44A1 ICCC AU-50 (Certification #XWF 708) This piece was apparently XRF tested (88.0 CU, 10.92 ZN .013 PB)
My late friend Bob Willey writing in the The Canadian Numismatic Journal in March 1974 (pp91-92) gives an explanation of Breton 690
THE BOSTON SOU
By R. C. WILLEY, F.R.N.S.
This sou (Breton 690) was not a product of the immediate pre-Rebellion period, as were most of the famous Bonquet Sous. It is a piece
made about 1870 for sale to collectors. Breton (690) and Leroux (553) list the piece without comment. Courteau says that it is an imitation of
Breton 692. Courteau's comments are: "This sou is evidently an imitation of the last, but was struck at a much later period. All known specimens
are in copper of a light shade." The sou is listed as No. 40 in his monograph on the Bouquet sous, written in 1908. Its prototype, referred to as
"the last" in the preceding quotation, he lists as No. 39, this piece being Breton 692. Bowman, in 1960, describes Breton 690 thus: "The bouquet is very severe, the leaves of the shamrocks being almost perfect circles. Unknown to Boucher in 1863, this coin may not have been issued for circulation, inasmuch as all known specimens are in proof or nearly proof condition. Possibly ten specimens exist, which would seem to have originated in the vicinity of Boston, Massachusetts, since a majority of the known samples first made their appearance in that area."
Breton 690 is known in a light bronze, on a somewhat larger flan than most sous. It is uncommon, but the writer feels that more than ten
specimens are in existence, owning one and having seen two others. Its price in the catalogues would lead one to believe that more than ten exist.
Breton 692 shows three blades of grass at the top of the bouquet, and two clusters of three leaflets among the thistles. Breton 690 has only
two blades of grass at the top, and shows two pairs of leaflets among the thistles. The bouquet of Breton 690 is more loosely arranged. The inscriptions are in a different style of lettering, and the spaces between BAS and AGRICULTURE and between CANADA and COMMERCE are wider.
The reverse of Breton 692 shows a wreath of eighteen leaves, tied with a bow flanked by cherries. The reverse of Breton 690 has a wreath of
eighteen leaves tied without a bow. A similar bouquet die was used for a series of numismatists' tokens made for Thomas Elder about 1908. This obverse was combined also with the reverse of an American hard times token depicting a plough with the legends SPEED THE PLOUGH - IT FEEDS ALL. These dies were later rediscovered and impressed on very large copper blanks, uniface, and sold at grossly inflated prices