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The Silver Coins of England

Edward Hawkins, 1841
Sole Monarchs of England - Charles II

Table of Contents

Charles II.

Upon the restoration of Charles II. it was resolved to coin money upon the same principles as those of his father, regardless of the improvements in the machinery and manufacture of coins, which had been exhibited in the striking of pattern pieces during the Commonwealth and the Protectorate. The mill therefore was neglected, and the hammer still used, in striking the coins during the first two years of the reign of Charles II. Of this hammered money there are three distinct coinages, the first is distinguished by having neither inner circle nor numerals behind the head to indicate the value. The second has the numerals but no inner circle; the third has both numerals and inner circle. The weight and fineness of these, as well as his subsequent coinages, continued the same as it has been from the 43rd of Queen Elizabeth. Upon these coins the king's bust is represented in profile turned to the left, crowned, hair very long, in armour, with a deep falling laced collar; the legend consists of the king's name and titles variously abbreviated. The reverses have a square shield over a cross fleury like the shilling of Charles I. type 4. The legend also is the same, CHRISTO AVSPICE REGNO, and this occurs upon all the pieces, even the half-groat and penny, which was not the case upon those pieces of Charles I. There is not any date upon any of them. The only mint mark upon these coinages is the crown, and they are the last pieces upon which any mint mark appears. These coinages consisted of half-crowns, shillings, sixpences, groats, three-pences, half-groats, pence, and halfpence. Of the first coinage, without numerals or inner circle, we have the half-crown. Rud. xxxiii. 1. Sn. xvi. 16. MB. Shilling. Rud. xxxiii. 2. Sn. xvi. 15. MB. Sixpence. Rud. xxxiii. 3. Sn. xvi. 14. See also Rud. Sup. vi. 10. MB. Half-groat. Rud. xxxiii. 4. FR omitted in the plate. Sn. xvi. 13. MB. Penny. Rud. xxxiii. 5. Sup. vi. 11, 12. Sn. xvi. 12. MB. There are different dies of the penny which present some unimportant varieties. All these have MM. a Crown on the obverse only, except the pennies and the sixpence of Rud. Sup. Pl. vi., which have not any MM. Of the second coinage, with the numerals without the inner circle, we have:--Half-crown. Rud. xxxiii. 6. Sn. xvi. 20. MB. Shilling. Rud. xxxiii. 7. Sn. xvi. 19. MB. Sixpence. Rud. xxxiii. 8. Sn. xvi. 18. MB. Half- groat. Rud. xxxiii. 9. Sn. xvi. 17. MB. Penny. Rud. xxxiii. 10. MB. The crown MM. is on the obverse only, except on the half-groat and penny, where it appears on both sides. Of the third coinage, with numerals and inner circle, we have the Half-crown. Rud. xxxiii. 11. Sn. xvi. 27. MB. Shilling. Rud. xxxiii. 12. Sn. xvi. 26. MB. Sixpence. Rud. xxxiii. 13. Sn. xvi. 25. MB. Groat. Rud. xxxiii. 14. Sn. xvi. 24. MB. Three-pence. Rud. xxxiii. 15. Sn. xvi. 23. MB. Half-groat. Rud. xxxiii. 16. Sn. xvi. 22. MB. Penny. Rud. xxxiii. 17. Sn. xvi. 21. MB. The MM. is on both sides of each piece. Halfpence of these coinages were struck, for some such were found in the pix when trial was made of the monies coined between July 20, 1660, and July 9, 1663. It is probable that they were exactly like those of Charles I. and cannot therefore now be discovered. All the above pieces are broad and thin, and the legend of the obverse, commencing at the top, continues all round the coin without interruption. There are pieces of the small money, i. e. groats, threepences, half-groats and pennies, which are thicker, smaller, and have the legend commencing at the bottom. The king's bust is of the same size as upon the broader pieces, but it descends quite to the edge of the coin. They have the numerals, but not the inner circle, and they have the MM. on the reverse only. These coins are of the same size as the same denominations of milled money; indeed from the regularity of their form and general neatness, they have the appearance of having been struck by the improved machinery, and confined in a collar. It is probable that they were not struck for circulation but for maundy money. Groat. Rud. xxxiii. 18. Sn. xvi. 31. MB. Threepence. Rud. xxxiii. 19. Sn. xvi. 30. MB. Half-groat. Rud. xxxiii. 20. Sn. xvi. 29. MB. Penny. Rud. xxxiii. 21. Sn. xvi. 28. MB. All the dies for the several denominations of money of these coinages appear to have been engraved by Thomas Simon: there is however a penny of this king, of inferior work.

½Cr. Shil. Six. 4d. 3d. 2d. 1d.
First coinage, no numerals or inner circle + + + + +
Second coinage, numerals, no inner circle + + + + +
Third coinage, numerals and inner circle + + + + + + +
Fourth coinage, smaller and thicker + + + +

As early as the year 1649 the Parliament, having obtained information respecting the improvements made in the manufacturing of coins by the inventions and ingenuity of Blondeau, then residing at Paris, invited him over to this country, that our coinage might be improved by this new process. Much jealousy was excited at the mint by this attempt to introduce a foreigner, and the moneyers produced some proof pieces, by David Ramage, one of their company, to show that foreign aid was not required. Though these pieces were very inferior, in neatness of execution, to those of Blondeau, the opposition was successful and he left the kingdom. The pattern for a half-crown which he produced is the first piece struck in this country which bore an inscription upon its edge. After this successful resistance to the introduction of improvement, coins continued to be struck by the same inefficient process as before, till the year 1662. Towards the close of the preceding year it has been resolved to introduce the new process, and houses, mills, engines, and other materials for coining of money by the mill, were ordered to be erected; all engraving of dies except in the Tower of London was prohibited, and Simon the engraver was required to bring in all the tools and engines for coining in his possession. In April 1662 Blondeau, who had been again sent for out of France, was taken into the mint, and an agreement was entered into with him "to furnish all the mills, rollers, presses, and other instruments, to cut, flatten, make round and size the pieces; the engine to mark the edges of the money with letters and grainings, the great presses for the coining of monies, and all other tools and engines for the new way of coining." Blondeau also engaged "to discover his secrets in rounding pieces before they are sized, and in making the edges of the monies with letters and grainings unto his Majesty and unto the Warden, Master and Worker, and Comptroller of the Mint," &c. Thomas Simon, and John Roettier a native of Antwerp, were ordered to furnish the dies, "but by reason of a contest in art between them," they could not be brought to an agreement. Both made patters for the new money, and, Roettier's having been preferred, he was ordered to make puncheons and dies for the new coinage. Simon then produced his memorable petition crown, and, failing to obtain favour from his superiors, ceased to work any longer for the mint; but whether he indignantly quitted the mint at the time, or was shortly after removed for refractory conduct, seems to be very uncertain. The date of his retirement or removal seems also uncertain; it is supposed by some to have been in 1662, but we find him delivering dies for a Scottish coinage in January 1663, the same year in which his petition crown is dated, and it may be doubted whether the object of that petition was to obtain the honour of being employed upon the dies for the new coinage, or whether it was struck after he had left the mint, and with a view to recover his lost situation. The events of Simon's life at this time are involved in obscurity, but whether or not he lost his situation at the mint, he was still in the employ of the government, for warrants are still extant dated 1664, ordering him to engrave seals for the king's service.

Roettier's patterns having been approved, he was employed to engrave the dies for the money, to be struck by the improved process of Blondeau, which, from the nature of the machinery used, was called milled money, and which we must now proceed to describe. Upon all the pieces of this money the king's bust is represented in profile to the right, contrary to what it had been upon his father's money, and upon his own hammered money; and now commenced the practice of placing each king's head upon his coin in a direction contrary to that of his predecessor. His head is laureate, his hair long, his shoulders covered with a mantle after the manner of the antique; and he is styled CAROLUS II DEI GRA. or DEI GRATIA. the shorter form being used only upon the crowns of 1662, which have a rose under the bust. This portrait of the king was copied from a drawing made by Cooper for the purpose on Jan 10, 1661. Upon the reverse are the royal arms upon four separate shields, crowned and arranged in form of a cross, with the star of the order of the garter in the centre, and two Cs interlinked in each angle. The legend is composed of the date and the king's titles. The groats and smaller coins have upon the reverse, instead of shields, one or more Cs to indicate the value. The crowns and halfcrowns have the edges inscribed with DECUS ET TUTAMEN, and with one or two exceptions the date of the reign. This inscription, which was thus placed to prevent clipping without detection, was happily adopted to intimate that it was at once an ornament and a protection to the coin; Evelyn states that it was suggested by himself to the master of the mint, having observed it in a vignette in the Cardinal de Richelieu's Greek Testament. This money was prepared by virtue of warrants dated Nov. 5 and Jan. 19, 1662-3; it began to be coined Feb. 6, but the proclamation for its issue was only dated March 27, 1663, two days after the expiration of the year with which the coin itself was dated.

Crowns: The first coins struck for circulation by the new process were crown-pieces, with a rose under the head; the numerals II in front of the forehead with DEI. GRA. The upper and lower shield have the arms of England and France quartered, Scotland at the right, Ireland at the left; date 1662. Some have on the edge only DECVS ET TVTAMEN. MB. others add the date 1662, with a cross between two stars on each side of it. Rud. xxxiv. 5. Sn. xvii. 35. MB. The crosses, stars, &c. upon the edges of coins, vary very much according to the mode in which the collar containing the inscription may chance to have been applied, and as they are merely accidental, and have not any reference to type or date, we shall not think it necessary to notice them. Upon the coins of Charles I. struck at Exeter, we find a rose used as the MM., and it has been observed, but we know not upon what authority, that the rose upon these crowns, from whence they derive their name of the "rose crown," indicates that the silver was derived from mines in the West of England. The next pieces were also crowns with a head similar to the last, but without the rose underneath; the numerals are behind the head, and the word GRATIA is at full length; the reverse is the same as the last; some have the edge dated. MB. Others are without the date. Rud. xxxiv. 6. MB. All these varieties of the crown of 1662 are very rarely to be found in fine condition. Willet's sold for 3..6s. Trattle's for 2..17s.

1663. Obverse same as the last. Reverse; the upper shield is England alone, the lower one, France; Scotland on the right, Ireland on the left, so that the several shields may be placed near to their names in the legend. The inscription on the edge now begins to be dated with the year of the reign, and this is not always concurrent with the Christian aera: different years of reign will sometimes appear upon coins of the same date. This crown is always inscribed DECUS ET TVTAMEN. ANNO. REGNI. XV. MB. The next year the style of the head was a little changed, the mantle extending at the back beyond the hair; like that of Rud. xxxiv. 9. date 1664. anno regni XVI. MB. The only alteration made for some years was a slight change in the arrangement of the hair, and of this we have 1665. anno regni XVII. CUFF. very rare. 1666, anno regni XVIII MB. Some of the coins of this year have an elephant under the bust. Rud. xxxiv. 9. MB. 1667. DECIMO NONO. MB. 1668. VICESIMO. MB. VICESIMO PRIMO. MB. 1670. VICESIMO SECVNDO. MB. 1671. VICESIMO TERTIO. MB. In the course of this year another alteration took place in the arrangement of the king's bust; the head is larger, and the hair behind terminates in two separate well defined ringlets. 1671. VICESIMO TERTIO. 1672. VICESIMO QVARTO. MB. 1673. VICESIMO QVINTO. MB. 1674. VICESIMO SEXTO. 1675. VICESIMO SEPTIMO. MB. 1676. VICESIMO OCTAVO. MB. 1677. VICESIMO NONO. MB. Some of the pieces of this year have a flaw above the king's head, which some persons have erroneously supposed was intended for a boar's head. Rud. xxxiv. 10. MB. 1678. TRICESIMO. MB. 1679. TRICESIMO PRIMO. MB. 1680. TRICESIMO SECVNDO. Upon some coins of 1679 and 1680, and upon all those of subsequent years, the head, and especially the features, are larger than upon the preceding coins. 1679. TRICESIMO PRIMO. EH. 1680. TRICESIMO SECVNDO. MB. 1681. TRICESIMO TERTIO. MB. Some of the coins of this year have an elephant and castle under the king's bust. MB. 1682. TRICESIMO QVARTO. MB. 1683. TRICESIMO QVINTO. MB. 1684. TRICESIMO SEXTO. MB.

The crowns of 1666 and 1681, with the elephant, or elephant and castle below the bust, being probably intended for circulation in our colonies, are consequently rare, and very seldom in even tolerable preservation. They were coined from silver imported by the African Company.

The first half-crown was struck in 1663, and corresponds with the crown of the same date in all respects. MB. That of 1664 also corresponds with the crown of 1664. MB. In 1666 and following years the bust was smaller, in higher relief, and more of the mantle appears behind the hair than on the previous half-crown; they resemble the crown of 1666, but are perhaps more delicately finished. The half-crown of 1666 has an elephant under the bust, date on the edge XVIII. Rud. xxxiv. 11. Sn. xvii. 27. MB. This figure does not accurately represent the arrangement of the hair. 1668. VICESIMO. CUFF. This half-crown is extremely rare, perhaps unique. 1669. VICESIMO PRIMO. MB. 1670. VICESIMO SECVNDO. MB. 1671. VICESIMO TERTIO. MB. 1672. VICESIMO QVARTO. MB. In 1673 the king's bust is formed after the model of the crown of 1671, and so continues to the end of the reign, without that marked alteration which took place in the crowns of 1679. 1673. VICESIMO QVINTO. MB. Some of these have the plume under the king's bust. MB. And some have also the plume in the centre of the reverse instead of the star of the garter. CUFF. These pieces with the plume under the bust are extremely rare; Willet's sold for 2..10s. Mr. C. Barclay's, 2..14s. (neither of which was fine). In this reign, as well as the last, the plume was placed upon coins struck from silver derived from the Welch mines. 1674. VICESIMO SEXTO. MB. 1675. VICESIMO SEPTIMO. MB. 1676. VICESIMO OCTAVO. MB. 1677. VICESIMO NONO. MB. 1678. TRICESIMO. MB. 1679. TRICESIMO PRIMO. MB. 1680. TRICESIMO SECVNDO. MB. 1681. TRICESIMO TERTIO. MB. Some, of this last date, have the elephant and castle under the bust. MB. 1682. TRICESIMO QVARTO. 1683. TRICESIMO QVINTO. MB. 1684. TRICESIMO SEXTO.

Shillings: The first milled shilling was struck in 1663, and exactly resembles in type the crown of that date; the edge is milled with straight lines. Rud. xxxiv. 12. MB. 1666. Some of this date have an elephant under the bust. Rud. xxxiv. 13. MB. There is also a shilling of this date which is formed by joining to the usual reverse a head struck from the die of the guinea of 1665 with the elephant underneath; See Rud. gold coins XV. 7. This was probably a caprice, and not a regular coins. MB.

In 1668 the bust was altered, being shorter, and apparently broader; of this type we have the dates 1668. MB. 1670. MB. In this year the lines of the milling upon the edge began to be placed obliquely. 1671. MB. 1672. MB. 1673. MB. 1674. 1675. 1676. MB. 1677. MB. 1678. MB. 1679. MB. 1681. CUFF. 1683. CUFF. With the bust like that of 1668, but with the plume beneath and in the centre of the reverse, we have the dates 1671. MB. 1673. MB. 1674. Rud. xxxiv. 14. Sn. xvii. 20. MB. Of this date we have one without the feather under the bust. MB. 1675. CUFF. 1676. MB. 1679. MB. 1680. MB. Some have the plume under the bust, with the garter star in the centre of the reverse, viz. 1677. MB. 1679. MB. In 1681 a shilling was struck like that of 1671, but with elephant and castle under the bust. MB.

In 1674 a bust was used broader than any of the preceding, and exactly upon the model of that upon the crown of 1671. Of these we have the dates 1674. MB. 1675. EH. CUFF. At a later period a head somewhat similar, but of superior workmanship, was engraved; the mantle does not appear behind the hair; of it we have the dates 1683. MB. 1684. MB. this last is rare, when in very fine condition. Mr. Henderson's sold for 1..7s. Mr. Edmund's for 2..3s, but perhaps that of 1683 is still more rare.

Sixpences: The head upon these pieces is the same as that upon the crown of 1671, and the broad headed shillings of 1674 and 1675. The type is the same upon all, resembling the shillings, and the elephant and plume do not appear upon any of them. We have them of all dates from 1674 when the first was struck, down to 1684 inclusive. Rud. xxxiv. 8. Sn. xvii. 13. MB.

When the mill was introduced, coins of a smaller denomination than sixpence ceased to be struck for general circulation, and the groats, threepences, half-groats and pence which were subsequently issued, have not any milling upon the edge, and were only struck to supply the means of conforming to an ancient custom of distributing the royal bounty on Maundy or Holy Thursday. On that day a certain service is performed in the Chapel Royal, after which the king's almoner or sub-almoner distributes, to each of a specified number of poor persons, a white leather bag containing pieces of small silver money to the amount of as many pence as the sovereign for the time being is years old. From this circumstance these pieces are called maundy money. These monies in the reign of Charles II. have the obverse exactly resembling the sixpence. The groat has upon the reverse four Cs interlinked, the crown above, and in the angles a rose, thistle, lis, and harp. The threepence has three Cs interlinked, the half-groat two, the penny one' all without the symbols in the angles; the legends of all composed of the king's titles and date. They all occur of every date from 1670 to 1684, both inclusive; and the half-groat occurs also of the year 1668. Rud. xxxiv. 15, 16, 17, 18. Sn. xvii. 1. 4. 7. 10.
Cr. ½Cr. Shil. 6d. 4d. 3d. 2d. 1d.
1662, Rose, edge dated+
1662, Rose, edge not dated+
1662, No rose, dated+
1662, No rose, not dated+
1666, Elephant+++
1671, Plume obv. & rev.+
1671, Diff. head+
1673, Plumes++
1673, Plume on ob. Only+
1674, Large head+
1674, Plumes+
1674, Plume rev. only+
1675, Plumes+
1675, Large head+
1676, Plumes+
1677, Plume obv. Only+
1679, Different head+
1679, Plumes+
1679, Plume obv. Only+
1680, Different head+
1680, Plumes+
1681, Elephant & Castle+++
1683, Large head+

Snelling mentions the following coins which we have never seen:--Half-crowns, 1662. 1665. 1667. Shillings, 1662. 1664. 1665. 1667. 1669. and in MS. 1682; and also plumes upon coins of 1670. In a MS. note he doubts if any pieces except crowns were struck with the date 1662.

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