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The Silver Coins of England

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

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Charles I., 1625-1649.
Uncertain Half-Crowns.

During the trouble of Charles I. many coins were struck in various places, probably for the use of the garrisons when beleaguered, or of troops in districts distant from the royal mint. They were executed by inferior, and sometimes exceedingly unskilful, workmen, who rudely imitated such coins of the established types as they happened to have at hand, adding various objects, as mint marks, directed probably in the choice by the arms or badges of the place, or of some distinguished leader. We have already noticed such pieces of Chester, Worcester, &c., and we now proceed to describe some, the localities of which have escaped discovery.
  1. Exceedingly rude imitation of the half-crown, type 2. c. but MM. obv. Cross. MM. rev. Harp. (499). MB. One such was Mr. Tutet's; Mr. Cuff has one, better preserved than the Museum specimen, and from different dies.
  2. Similar, but the housings very slightly indicated, MM. obv. Cross. rev. Harp. Rud. xxvi. 5. Sn. xiv. 13. MB. It is called the blacksmith's half-crown on account of its rudeness.
  3. Similar, but without any housings on the horse. Sir. H. Ellis.
  4. Imitation of that with MM. (P). coarser work, reads BRIT. CUFF.
  5. Obv. imitation of York, No. 5. Rev. oval shield, garnished somewhat like type 2. c. but crowned, no MM. lion before and after AVSPICE, Rud. Sup. v. 28. Sn. xiv. 16. MB. Ruding erroneously reads REX instead of RX.
  6. Very similar, but obv. different work, and, on rev. mullets instead of lions in the legend. (500.) MB.
  7. Obv. same as No. 6. Rev. Similar, but, instead of lions, lis before and after AVSPICE, and at end of legend. Rud. G. 1. MB. The beginning of legend, and MM, if any, defective.
  8. Obv. similar to No. 5, but better work, W and grass under the horse, MM. Thistle? or Castle? Rev. similar to No. 7. but different die, certainly no mark before legend.
  9. Obv. same as No. 8. Rev. shield somewhat similar, but surrounded by a chain like border, and between C. R: a small rosette before each word, and at the end of the legend. MB.
  10. Obv. No. 8. Rev. square topped shield garnished, crowned, MM. helmet. MB. 2, the reverse from different dies. (501). Rud. Sup. v. 27. Sn. xiv. 14. Two Museum specimens, and Mr. Cuff's, have the horse not as on the plates referred to, but as Rud. Sup. v. 28, and Sn. xiv. 16. The MB. has also one exactly like the plate; the obv. MM. indistinct. Snelling's MSS. notes says he has seen one of these with an oval shield.
  11. SA under the horse, mane in front of chest, tail passing between the legs. MM. Lis. Oval shield, garnished with lion's skin, crowned, MM. helmet. (502). CUFF. The Museum specimen has the reverse at least from a different die; it has been clipped down to the inner margin.
  12. Similar, but, instead of SA, a large ball under the horse, MM. Lis, or plume between dots, shield oval crowned, lion's skin garniture; lis at each side of crown, REGNA for REGNO. MB.
  13. Similar to last, but rev. MM. Helmet between four annulets, and no lis at side of crown. (503). Rud. Sup. v. 30. MB.
  14. Horse, work rather spirited, MM. Bugle. Oval shield, garnished like type 2. a. MB. so very badly struck, that a small part only of the work appears. (504).
  15. One very similar in work, in Mr. Cuff's collection, is also so badly struck that the MM cannot be seen.
  16. Somewhat similar to No. 8. but ground under horse chequered. MM. Plume; shield oval, crowned, lion's skin garniture, no MM. FLORENT CONCORDIA REGNA, taken from the gold coins. (505). MB.
  17. Somewhat similar but no ground, no MM, no lion's skin in garniture of shield. MB. see Rud. F. 6.
  18. Obv. like No. 17, but MM. small lis? rev. like No. 16. CUFF.
  19. Obv. like No. 17. rev. shield oval, crowned, garnished with lis, annulets, &c. somewhat like the Worcester. Lis and annulet before and after AVSPICE. Rud. F. 4. CUFF. See Rud. F. 5. which only slightly varies.
  20. Horse similar to No. 19, but better workmanship. Shield oval, crowned, lion's skin garniture, like the last York, no. MM. on either side. CUFF.
  21. Horse, off hind leg raised, no mane in front, no tail between legs, sword sloping backwards. Shield, plain, square, crowned, between C. R. crowned, MM. Rose or cinquefoil pierced. (506). MB.
  22. Obv. very similar, rev. oval shield crowned, garnished with lion's skin, CHRISTO &c. MM. on both sides, gerb lying down. (507). MB.

    The obverses of the above pieces, from No. 4. to 22. with the exception of No. 14, seem to have been imitated from the York coins, or from those of the Tower mint with the MM. Star or triangle within circle, which were struck in 1640 or 1641.

  23. Obv. like type 3, but MM. Anchor. Rev. Square shield, garnished. MM. Anchor. Rud. F. 3.
  24. A little ground under horse's forefeet, MM. small lis. Rev. Shield oval, in the garter, crown between C. R. crowned, supporters, 1645 below, CHRISTO AVSPICE REGNO. (508). Rud. xxvi. 3. Sn. xiv. 18. MB.
  25. Same obv. no date on rev. MB Ruding says that No. 23 and 24 are supposed to have been struck in the west of England. Leake thinks it probable that they were the produce of mines at Comb- Martin in Devonshire; no grounds are stated for these conjectures.
  26. Rude imitation of Declaration type, dated 1644, MM. on both sides, plume. (509). Rud. F. 2. MB. Mr. Tutet had one of them.
  27. Horse like No. 6. MM. oblit. Declaration type, 1644. MM. [five dots arranged in a cross] legend commences at sides. Plumes large.
  28. Horse, off hind leg raised, sword upright, exceedingly like Bristol half-crown of 1644, with flat topped crown, plume behind, MM. Plume. A. under horse, and under date, 1645. Rev. MM. A. MB. The letter A has been interpreted, but absurdly, to indicate All Soul's College, Oxford, because it contributed its plate to the king's service. Another specimen is without the A under the date.
  29. Very similar, but the reverse has B under the date 1646; and, over the inscription, scroll ornaments. (511). MB. The B has been supposed to indicate Bushel, theMint Master at Aberystwith and Oxford; but as A occurs on the coins of 1645, and B only of those of 1646, we must look for some other meaning for these letters.
  30. Horse similar, plume behind and under horse's feet, scrolls over inscription, MM. on both sides, Plume, 1646. MB.
  31. Similar, but no MM. on rev. CUFF.
  32. Similar, but MM. on both sides, Plume, and plume under date. MB.
  33. Similar, but without MM. or plume behind king. Sn. xii. 9. Obv. only is in Rud. Sup. v. 17.
From the year 1642 to 1646, we have Oxford coins with the letters OX upon them, and we see no reason why the letters when once adopted should have been omitted. If we compare those undoubted Oxford coins of parallel dates with those under discussion, we shall perceive the style of work, and arrangement of the parts of the type very different. If we compare the figure of the king and horse with the later Bristol coins, we shall see a resemblance amounting to identity, and we have, therefore, little doubt of their having been struck by the workmen of the Bristol mint after they were driven from that city, in Sept. 1645.

Bristol half-crowns have all the broad flat corwn. The supposed Oxford, before the word OX is used, have also the broad flat corwn, so that those of a later date, when OX was omitted; all those with Ox have the small figure of the king.

All Oxford 1642 have the horse's near hind leg raised; all 1643 without OX have the off hind leg raised.

These coins from No. 27 to 32, have generally been attributed to Oxford, but we believe improperly. Such also is our belief with regard to those dated 1642 and 1643, which have not upon them the letters OX, but which nevertheless we have described under the coins of that city, until further consideration and further information shall have enabled numismatists to give them a more certain locality. The dies of all these obverses, from No. 21 to 25, perhaps even that of No. 26, though we cannot speak with certainty, not having seen the coins, are formed from the same punches, and must have been struck at the same place. They do not at all resemble any of the coins which, having OX, are limited to Oxford, but they do extremely resemble those with dates 1644 and 1645; they are all dated 1645 or 1646, we have therefore very little doubt that they were struck by the officers of the Bristol mint, in some place to which they retired after the surrender of that city.

It will be observed that the obverse of the half-crowns which have OX have considerable resemblance to those of the Aberystwith mint, but do not resemble those with the declaration type dated 1642 and 1643, and which are without OX or any other letters. But these last very much resemble the earlier Bristol half-crowns with the pearlike MM. The chronological arrangement of these coins we therefore believe to be as follows. First, those dated 1642 and 1643 which are not marked with any peculiar letters; secondly those marked BR. which are all dated 1643, 1644, or 1645; and thirdly those dated 1645 or 1646 with the letters A or B, or without any peculiar letter, the plume being small and compact.

The half-crowns with OX and which extend from the year 1643 to 1646 seem to have been struck by a different set of officers, and to have derived their origin from the Aberystwith mint; we believe that they alone can be safely ascribed to Oxford, and that they were struck by the officers of the Aberystwith mint when they removed from that place to the University.

There is one half-crown which is dated 1642, without the letters OX, which appears to belong to the Aberystwith family, it is without MM. but has in the place of it four dots, the horse's head is slightly turned towards the spectator, and very strongly resembles in character and workmanship the pieces with the anchor or the triangle MM. and which were struck in 1638 and 1639. The rev. is much coarser than the obv. which had probably been executed some time before, and was now applied to a rev. hastily executed for an especial purpose. It is not improbable that this piece was struck at Shrewsbury during the king's short residence there, upon the first promulgation of the declaration which is recorded upon the reverse, the MM. on the obv. having perhaps been erased from a die brought with the mint from Aberystwith.

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