We have some Fs to consider.
Fort William produced distinctive CTs. Two varieties have been identified by Burzinski (B2480 and B2481). Brook labeled the first of these BK587. Kerr & Lockie identified the second one nearly 40 years later as KL104. The first one is on a big flan that measures 18x17mm; the second piece is smaller at 14x13mm. Some pieces are in-between. Either way, they are meaty CTs that are thick with soft edges (that is, no borders). The single F is deeply punched.
The letter punch was artistically fashioned with an obvious attention to detail. The big flan seems to have a slightly larger F, but the details are similar enough to suggest a common hand. In particular, we see a long top bar (or arm) with a pronounced serif (or beak) that gradually slopes downward, extending to the middle bar. Also, the middle bar has a similar look with its pronounced serif. The base of the stem, too, has a similar serifs that are bold and mimic those found on the lower arm. It is an attractive figure. And, it was made to please the eye.
Now, with all this anatomy behind us, let us consider the dilemma before us. Since both varieties use a similar punch, we are left to wonder if a third variety exists that has a different F: one that does not boast of such a beautiful beak terminating the top bar. It comes close, but the DNA is different. The sharp point is missing!
Looking at pictures of other Fort Williams CTs sold would suggest that a third variety with a different F has not yet been cataloged. For example, the piece sold as part of Norweb Collection in 1980 (part of Lot 43) exhibited the familiar F. So too does the one from the Macmillan Collection auctioned on ebay last year. In this post, we see two more, one from Lester Burzinski's collection (now owned by John Linhoss) and another one purchased from a dealer in Scotland: We can immediately see that they have the familiar F.
There are other subtle characteristics too. Most (if not all) of these CTs show a scruffy face -- that is to say, the surface of the pieces shows a roughness that seems to be imparted from the mold itself or the alloy used. Perhaps a stone mold was used to provide the flan. Also, the lead itself may be impure.
Lately, there has been several sales of tokens with a new F. This F is not nearly as fashionable. In addition, the tokens are of an odd color: silvery with a thin layer of oxidation that is similar to that found on a sink pipe or fishing weight. In short, it looks new; the patina seems too uniform.
Do we have an imposter or a new variety? Take a look and decide.
Does this one get a grade of F?