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The Silver Coins of England

Edward Hawkins, 1841
Sole Monarchs of England - Charles I, Half-Crowns

Table of Contents

Charles I., 1625-1649.

The Tower Half-Crowns in general resemble the crowns, but there are still some variations that require notice, and some types to which there are not any corresponding crowns.

Type 1. a. These resemble the crowns, type, 1. a, but one has a rose crowned on the housings, like the coins of James I. MM. Lis. MB. The others are without the rose, but with an ornament like the crowns, MM. Lis. Rud. xix. 1. Sn. ix. 6. MB. Long cross; on this are no ends of cross the sides of the shield. MB.

Type 1. b. Feathers over the shield, no ends of cross. MM. Negro's head. MB. Castle. MB. Anchor. MB. Heart. Rud. xix. 2.

Type 2. a. Similar to the crown type 2. a., but without any cross under the shield. MM. Plume. Sn. ix. 12. MB. Rose. Rud. xix. 5. MB.

Type 2. b. We have not seen any of this type with the plume over the shield.

Type 2. c. This variety has the oval shield, garnished in a different manner, between C. R. MM. Harp. MB. Portcullis. (482). MB.

Type 2. d. Similar, but with feathers over the sheld. MM. Harp. MB.

Type 3. a. Similar to crown type, 3. a. MM. Bell. MB. Crown. MB. Ton. MB. Anchor, king's scarf as high as his shoulders. Rud. xix. 4. MB. Triangle, shield larger, ground under horse. (483). MB. No ground under horse, work coarser. P within brackets. (484). MB. Eye. MB. Sun. MB. The head of the horse, upon pieces with the anchor and subsequent mint marks, is more raised and turned a little towards the spectator.

Type 3. b. Similar to crown, plume over shield. MM. Portcullis. Rud. xix. 3.

Type 4. Very similar to crown type 4, but the horse scarcely foreshortened, MM. Star. MB. Triangle within a circle. Rud. xix. 6. MB.

Type 5. Similar to crown type 5, but the mane not extending in front of the chest, MM. Sun. MB. Scepter. MB.

Briot's Half-Crown. Exactly resembles the crown, MM. B and small flower. MB. Another omitting B. Rud. xxi. 11. Sn. x. 5. B and anchor. Rud. xxii. 7. Sn. x. 9. MB. Anchor without any letter. MB. In this piece the shield is square at the top, garnished; no letters crowned at the sides, or crown above, v. r.

Aberystwith Half-Crowns. The king is represented as upon the half-crowns, type 3, with the anchor and subsequent mint marks, but there is a plume in the field behind the king. The shield also is similar but has a plume over it, MM. An open book; ground under the horse sometimes, as in the coins with MM. triangle. MB.; sometimes without, as in those with MM anchor. Rud. xx. 14. Sn. x. 32. MB. MM. Crown. MB. On this piece the king is represented as on type 5.

The Aberystwith half-crowns were struck in consequence of an indenture, between the king and Thos. Bushell in June 1637, by which a mint was established at this place, or in its immediate neighbourhood, for the express purpose of striking money from the produce of the Welch mines, which had before been struck at the Tower, and had been distinguished by the introduction of the plume. Authority was given to strike half-crowns, shillings, sixpences, half-groats, and pence; but a commission, dated in October following, authorized the striking of groats, three-pences and half- pence. Those with MM. Book were probably struck in 1638 and some subsequent years; those with MM. Crown not before 1645 or 1646, when the sun and sceptre was used at the Tower mint. By the above indenture it was agreed, that all monies made at Aberystwith should have the plume on both sides; this does not appear to have been strictly attended to, as some have it only on one side. When the Aberystwith moneyers were removed to Oxford, they retained this peculiar mark; and it also appears upon some pieces which were not struck by them, but at some of the many occasional mints which sprung up in various places during the troubles of the kingdom, and where any type was imitated, as chance or caprice dictated. In 1642 the establishment was removed to Oxford, but the plume was still retained, and it cannot therefore be pronounced that those of a later period were struck here, though it is not improbable that some workmen remained at Aberystwith, and that the two mints were worked simultaneously.

Britsol Half-Crowns: there are several pieces, with a type most closely resembling that of Oxford, which have the letters B R in monogram, either as a mint mark, or on other parts of the coin; these have been generally attributed to Oxford, and said to have been struck from silver contributed or procured by Dr. Richard Baylie, President of St. John's College and Dean of Salisbury; we have not been able to ascertain the source of this tale, and we entirely discredit it. The dates upon these pieces are 1643, 1644, 1645. Bristol was in the king's hands from July 1643 to Sept. 1645, and as we have, upon similar coins, EX for Exeter, OX for Oxford, and no letters that we can assign positively to individuals, we have not any hesitation in assigning BR to Bristol.

The first half-crown struck at Bristol we believe to be that which has MM. some uncertain object like a pear between four pellets; the king's crown very flat at the top; the sword leaning forwards. MM. on rev. BR. In other respects it resembles the Oxford type of the same date 1643, the off hind leg being raised. (485). MB.

2. A specimen in the Mus. has obv. from the same die as the preceding, but on the rev. the MM. and the first E of the legend are omitted.

3. Another of the same date has obv. MM. Plume. Rev. MM. BR. The sword in this piece and all the subsequent ones is upright. MB.

The varieties of 1644 are. 4. Obv. MM. Plume. Rev. MM. BR. (490). MB.

5. Similar, but with BR also under the date and between the horse's feet. MB.

6. Similar to the last, omitting the MM. on reverse. Rud. xxiv. 2. Sn. xii. 3. MB.

7. Omitting both MM. but retaining BR. under the horse and date. MB.

1645. 8. Obv. MM. Plume. BR under horse and date. Sn. xii. 4. MB.

The legend of the reverse of all the Bristol half-crowns commences at the top.

Chester Half-Crowns: the horse upon this coin is of peculiar form, especially about the chest which is very large; the tail much waved; under the feet the letters CHST. Behind the king a Plume. Rev. oval shield garnished like that of Tower mint No. 3. MM. Three gerbs, the arms of Chester. Rud. xxvi. 2. Sn. xiv. 15. MB. Browne Willis mentions one with CEST instead of CHST.

There is a half-crown, the obverse of which is certainly from the same die as the preceding, but with some alterations. There is not any appearance of the Plume, or CHST, but it seems impossible to say how or when these variations have taken place upon the die, obv. MM. obliterated. The reverse is like the Oxford type, has the date 1644, MM. Plume. The legend commences at the side. (486). MB.

Another piece is assigned to Chester because it has H under the horse's feet, the coin so much worn that no other letters are visible. The horse is not like that of the two preceding, the tail is fuller, dishevelled, less wavy; the fore parts obliterated; the king's scarf longer. Rev. Shield oval, without garniture; no MM. date 1644. (487). MB.

Exeter Half-Crowns: there are some half-crowns which, bearing the letters EX, leave no doubt of their having been struck in that city. Upon them we perceive, as MM, a rose of a peculiar form, which, with other peculiarities in the details, induces us to class all the following pieces under this city.

The first differs very much from all the other coins of this king. It represents his Majesty, three quarters to the front, with a truncheon in his hand, on a horse capering amidst arms strewed upon the ground. MM. on both sides, rose. The shield is oval, garnished, having something like lions' claws at the sides, and the date 1642 amongst the ornaments underneath. Rud. xxv. 1. Sn. xiv. 19. MB. This piece is round, neatly executed, generally in very good preservation, and probably not adopted for circulation. Folkes supposes it to have been struck at York, when the king first set up his standard in that neighbourhood, but the form of the rose, &c. induces us to assign it to Exeter.

2. The next represents the king similarly mounted, but with a sword in his hand, his hair long and floating behind; no arms upon the ground. The shield oval, garnished, between C. R. fleur de lis above. MM. on both sides, rose. (488). MB.

3. The horse walking, carrying his head rather low; the king in profile, his hair short; like the first Exeter crowns. Rev. same as preceding. MM. rose. See (478).

4. Like No. 3, but the C R above the shield, instead of at the sides. Rud. Sup. v. 26. Sn. xiv. 12. MB.

5. The horse has his head more raised, neck longer and thinner, the tail twisted, thick and square at the end, as are to a certain extent the tails upon all the Exeter coins; the king's face turned rather to the front. MM. Rose. The reverse has the Oxford type, date 1644, EX below, EX also for mint mark; the legend commences at the side. Rud. Sup. v. 20. not correct. Sn. xiii. 12. MB.

6. Obverse similar to preceding. Rev. oval shield garnished like that of tower mint, type 3; at the end of the legend, date 1644, MM. Rose. (489). MB.

7. Another MM. on both sides, rose, 1645 at end of legend. Sn. xiii. 11. MB.

8. Another similar but Obv. MM. Rose, Rev. MM. Castle, and date 1645. Rud. xxv. 5. Sn. xiii. 12*. MB.

9. Another 1645. Rev. MM. Ex, instead of Castle. MB.

10. The Mus. has a coin dated 1644, MM. on both sides, Rose, the king's face in profile, sword sloping forwards, ground under the horse, whose tail is not twisted; in general character like the Oxford half- crowns of 1643 with OX. Sn. xiii. 10.

Oxford Half-Crowns. Date 1642. type similar to that of the crown; 1. No ground under the hrose, MM. obv. Plume. MB.

2. A variety, line under horse without the plume behind the king, reads INIMI. Sn. xii. 1. MB. Another reads correctly INIMICI. MB.

3. Similar, without MM. but with plume. MB.

4. Plume, no line, MM. [four dots in form of diamond] or four pellets. MB. Obv. finer work, king's figure smaller than on any other.

5. A variety No. 1, has 2. 6 and one plume between the figures over the inscription, no MM. no line under the horse. MB.

6. A variety of this last has a pellet, instead of the figures, on each side of the the plume; obv. same die as preceding. MB. these are the only half-crowns upon which the value is marked.

Date 1643

7. Line under horse, no MM. MB.

8. MM. Plume, no line under the horse. MB.

9. Another, without plume behind king but line under horse. Sn. xii. 2.

10. One is without any lines above and below inscription. (491). MB. The coins of 1642 have the near hind leg of the horse raised, those of 1643 have the off hind leg raised; all the preceding are without OX and may therefore have been struck at Aberystwith; the crown on the king's head is large, flat topped, and the whole type very like the Bristol money, but unlike all the coins which have OX.

Date 1643 OX.

11. The king very small, his sword pointed rather forwards, ground under the horse, whose near hind leg is raised, MM. obv. Plume. MB.

12. Another, middle plume much the largest. MB.

13. Another like the last, but MM. obv. a small rose. MB.

14. Similar to No. 11., but scarcely any ground under the horse. Sn. xii. 5.

Date 1644, OX.

15. M. obv. Plume. MB.

16. Another with a lozenge before and after the date, OX, and plumes. Sn. xii. 6. MB.

17. Another with similar lozenges, the figures curved, not Roman, and the centre plume very large. (493). MB.

18. Another, curved figures but without lozenges. Sn. xii. 7.

19. Another, with pellets instead of lozenges. MB.

20. Another, the figures not curved, pellet before and after OX. MB.

21. Another, the centre plume largest, and plume before and after date. CUFF. Snelling's obv. to fig. 5. is common also to 6, 7, and 8, and represents the horse without any ground underneath, whereas all the half-crowns which have OX shew more or less gound.

Date 1645. OX.

22. MM. Plume. MB. Rud. Sup. v. 18. Sn. xii. 8.

Date 1646. OX.

23. MM. rev. [five dots as on a "5" playing card], legend commences at side, plume behind king. MM. obv. oblit. MB.

24. Another, with each plume, figure, and OX. between annulets; legend commences towards the right. MM. [three vertical dots between two dots] a plume behind the king. MM. obv. plume. (492). MB.

Worcester Half-Crown: this piece has an oval shield, the garniture of which has four small fleurs de lis, and contains the letters H. C. Obv. MM. a pear. Rev. MM. three pears, the arms of Worcester. (494). Rud. xxvi. 1. Sn. xiv. 17. MB. The meaning of the letters H. C remains undiscovered, but probably they are the initials of some loyal resident in the place.

York Half-Crowns: 1. Ground under the feet of the horse, which, on some pieces, carries his head low, the near hind leg raised; shield square, slight garniture, between C. R. MM. on btoh sides, a lion. (495). Rud. xxvi. 4. Sn. x. 19. MB.

2. Oval shield garnished like Tower mint type No. 3. ground under horse. MB.

3. Sometimes without ground and shield flattened. Rud. Sup. v. 9. Sn. x. 18. MB.

4. Sometimes EBOR under the horse with the head low.

5. Horse tall, mane long in front of chest, EBOR underneath, bettwer workmanship. Shield square topped, plain, crowned, between C. R. crowned; flower before and after AVSPICE. (496). Rud. xxi. 1. MB. See Sn. x. 16. where the crowns over the letters are omitted.

6. Similar, but shield oval, garnished. (497). Rud. xxi. 3. Sn. x. 17. MB.

7. Garniture of shield decorated with head and paws of lion, without the C. R. or flowers in the legend, crown frosted. Rud. xxi. 2. Sn. x. 20. MB. Another, crown not frosted, nose and eyes of lion's skin expressed. (498). MB.

The York mint is said to have been established about 1629, and the coins struck at this place, unlike those of Chester, Worcester, &c., were not of the nature of siege-pieces, but of the ordinary currency of the country before the commencement of troubles. Of the operations of this mint we have few records except the coins themselves; and of their dates we can only guess from the nature of the types. The bust of the king is clearly after the model introduced by Briot, which first appears upon the Tower mint with the harp mint mark, 1632. The square shield is also after Briot's model, and the oval shield is similar to that which first appeared with the Portcullis mint mark 1633. To this year tradition assigns the earliest York coin, and a comparison of types does not contradict the statement. York surrendered to the Parliament in 1644.

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