Upon the accession of James I. to the throne of England, the two kingdoms of England and Scotland
were united under one sovereign. This event took place March 24, 1603, and on the 21st of May an
indenture was executed for the issue of a new coinage, the silver to consist of crowns, half-crowns,
shillings, sixpences, half-groats, pennies and halfpence, of the standard fineness, 11 oz. 2 dwt of silver
with 18 dwts of alloy; and of the weight of 7 23/31 gr. to the penny.
The king is styled IACOBVS. D.G. ANG. SCO FRAN. (or FRA) ET HIB. REX, and the armorial shield bears 1
and 4 France and England quarterly, 2. Scotland, 3. Ireland. This is the first coin on which the arms of
Scotland and Ireland appear. The large cross, which, ever since the conquest, except upon the shilling
of Edward VI. and the shilling and sixpence of Philip and Mary, had been placed over the reverse, was
now omitted. All the pieces of this king, on which his bust appears, have behind the head XII. VI. II. or
I. to indicate their respective values.
The crown represents the king on horseback, sword in hand, the housings decorated with a rose
crowned. The shield is garnished, and the legend is EXVRGAT DEVS DISSIPENTVR INIMICI. from Psalm
lxviii. v. 1. MM. Thistle. Rud. xvi. 1. MB. or Lis. Snelling viii. 7. MB.
The half crown exactly resembles the crown, and has the same MM. Thistle. Rud. xvi. 2. MB. or
Lis, Snell. viii. 6. (461). MB.
The shilling represents the bust of the king, in figured armour, crowned; the shield quite plain, legend
same as upon crown. MM. Thistle. Rud. xvi. 3. MB. or Lis. Snell. viii. 5. MB.
The sixpence is the same as the shilling, except that it has over the shield the date of the year, MM.
Thistle, 1603. Rud. xvi. 4. (462). MB. and 1604. MB. Lis. 1604. Snell. viii. 4. MB.
The half-groat resembles the shilling in type, but on the obverse reads I.D.G. ROSA SINE SPINA. The
reverse is without any legend, and has the MM. over the shield. These are the Thistle. Rud. xvi. 6.
MB. Lis. 9. Snell. viii. 3. MB.
The penny exactly resembles the half-groat, MM. Thistle. Rud. xvi. 7. MB. Lis. 10. Snell. viii. 2.
The half-pennies have on the obverse the portcullis exactly the same as those of Elizabeth, and it is
only by the MM. that they can be distinguished from the coins of the same denomination of that
queen. the reverses have the cross moline, with three pellets in each quarter. MM. Thistle. Rud. xvi.
8. MB. Lis. 11. Snell. viii. 1. MB.
In the second year of his reigh, James assumed the title of King of Great Britain, and an indenture was
executed Nov. 11, 1604, for a coinage, whereon the king's new titles were to be adopted; MAG. BRIT.
being substituted for ANG. SCO. The weight, fineness and denominations of both coinages were alike;
the types were nearly the same, except upon the smaller money, and the legends of the reverses
The crowns resembled the former coinage in type, but bore the legend, referring to the union of the
two kingdoms, QVAE DEVS CONIVNXIT NEMO SEPARET, Matthew xix. v. 6. The MM. are the Thistle,
Rud. xvii. 2. MB. Lis. 1. Snell. viii. 16. MB. Trefoil. (464). MB. Escallop.
CUFF. Snelling mentions one with rose MM. but we have not seen it.
Upon referring to the sixpences it will be seen that the three MM. thistle, lis and rose, occur at two
different periods of the reign, and it is only by some peculiarities in the details of the types that we can
form an opinion as to the date of each piece. Upon the crowns the form of the shield seems to form
the best criterion; aided by the form of the harp in the quarterings of Ireland. Those pieces which
have the garniture of the shield and form of the harp exactly the same as upon the first coinage, were
probably struck at the earlier period; those which have the less garniture, and have the harp
decorated with a bird's head, may be placed to the later period. Some crowns, with these MM., have
the prince's plume over the shield, to indicate that they were struck from silver derived from the
Welch mines; they are all of the later period, that is, not before the year 1621, probably not before
1622, as this decoration does not appear upon any coin with the rose MM. upon the whole it may be
doubted whether there were any crowns or half-crowns struck after 1621 without the plumes over
Of the crowns with the plumes over the shield we have MM. Thistle. MB. Lis. Snell. viii. 17.
where the housings are marked with a thistle instead of a rose. CUFF. Trefoil. Rud. xvii. 2. rev.
only. (465). MB.
There is one crown with MM. thistle, which in the legend has & instead of ET; has a thistle instead of a
rose upon the housings of the horse; has the lesser and later garniture of the shield and the harp
perfectly plain. The obverse exactly resembles, is indeed, at least in some pieces, from the same die
as the crown piece struck for Scotland, probably in the year 1622, the date which appears upon the
sixpence of what we consider the same coinage. (466). MB. For obverse see Rud. xvii. 2.
where it is connected with a wrong reverse.
The half-crowns of this coinage in a great degree resemble the crowns; but the harps have all the
bird's head decoration. With the full garniture of the shield we have MM. Thistle. MB. Lis.
MB. Snell. viii. 14. rud. xvii. 4. obv. Trefoil. MB. Rud. xvii. 3. Rose. CUFF. Snelling
mentions the escallop MM. but we have not seen it. With the lesser garniture without plumes we
have not any, but with the plumes we have MM. Lis. Snell. viii. 15. MB. Trefoil. Rud. xvii. 4.
Rev. MB. Besides these we have the half-crown, like the Scotch, with MM. Thistle, thistle also
on the housings, lesser garniture of the shield and plain harp. MB. exactly resembling the
crown before described.
The shillings have the same general type as the first coinage, but have the QVAE DEVS legend. The
bust upon the earlier of these is smaller than upon the later, the hair behind the ears is short and sits
close to the head. Of the earlier we have MM. Lis. MB. Rose. MB. Escallop. MB.
Grapes. (467). MB. In the year 1607 a slight alteration occurs; the head becomes somewhat
larger, and the hair behind is longer and more projecting; the moustaches also become a little longer.
Of these we have MM. Coronet. MB. Key. MB. Bell. MB. Mullet. MB.
Tower. MB. Cinquefoil. MB. Ton. MB. Rose. MB. After these we have,
with the bird-headed harp, MM. Thistle. MB. is. Rud. xvii. 5. Snell. viii. 12. MB. Trefoil.
MB. All these have the plain shield; but besides these we have, with feathers over the shield,
and bird-headed harp, MM. Thistle. (468). MB. Lis. Snell. viii. 13. MB. Trefoil, Rud. xvii.
6. MB. The book and spur rowel shillings mentioned by Snelling we have not seen.
The sixpences have the same type as the shillings, and, in a great degree, the same peculiarities, but
the change in the adjustment of hair at the back of the king's head does not appear to have taken
place before the year 1621, at the same time when the bird-headed harp was introduced upon those
pieces. The sixpences are all dated, and are valuable in that respect, as furnishing some clue to the
dates of the introduction of some variations in the details of the workmanship, and fixing the dates of
the other pieces. With the compact hair and plain harp we have MM. Lis. 1604. 1605. MB.
Escallop. 1606. MB. Grapes. 1607. MB. Coronet. 1607. 1608. MB. Key. 1609.
MB. Bell. 1610. MB. Mullet. 1611. MB. Trefoil. 1613. MB. Cinquefoil.
1615. MB. Ton. 1615. MB. From this time till 1621 there seems not to have been any
coinage except of small money; but in that year we have a sixpence with the large head and projecting
hair, the harp plain, MM. Thistle. MB. and afterwards with the same larger head and bird-
headed harp. MM. Rose. 1621. MB. Thistle. 1621. MB. 1622. Rud. xvii. 7. MB.
1623. MB. Lis. 1623. Snell. viii. 11. MB. 1624. MB. Trefoil. 1624. MB.
The half-groats differ materially from those of the first coinage; they have for obverse a rose crowned,
with the legend I. D. G. ROSA SINE SPINA. Rev. A thistle crowned, with TVEATVR VNITA DEVS. Of
these we have MM. Escallop. MB. Mullet. MB. Tower. (469). MB. Book.
MB. Spur rowel or star. MB. Rose. MB. Thistle. MB. Lis. Snell. viii. 10.
MB. Trefoil. MB. Rud. xvii. 8, represents one with a spur rowel on the obv. and trefoil
on rev.; this we have not seen. We have not been able to detect any peculiarities which would enable
us to separate the earlier from the later coins which have the MM. rose, thistle, lis, and trefoil. One
coin differs from the rest in omitting the king's name, titles, &c. and having on both sides the legend
TVEATVR &c. It has MM. plain cross. MB.
the penny differs from the half-groat only in having the rose and thistle without the crown above. Of
these we have MM. Bell. (470). MB. Tower. MB. Cinquefoil. MB. Rose.
MB. Lis. Snell. viii. 9. MB. Trefoil. Rud. xvii. 9. MB. Some are without MM.
The halfpence differ from the pence in omitting the legend on both sides. The MM. are placed over
the thistle and are, Lis. Snell. viii. 8. MB. Rose. Rud. xvii. 10. MB. Coronet. (471).
MB. Some are without any. MB.
To shew at one view the various coinages of James I. we have annexed the following table. The
crosses indicate the coins which are in the British Museum; the letters indicate the authorities upon
which the existence of other coins is asserted. Of some marked Sn. for Snelling we have doubts,
especially of the crowns and half-crowns with MM. rose and escallop.
It will be observed that the coins between the year 1615 and 1621 are very few; indeed it appears,
from official accounts, that from April 1617 to Feb. 1620, silver money was coined only to the amount
of £1070. 15s. 4d. but in the four following years to March 1625, the coinage amounted to £205,500.
The list of mint marks is taken from Snelling, the days of the month shweing when each was ordered
to be used. He does not state upon what small monies the several mint marks appear, and as these
pieces from their smallness are become very scarce, our list we apprehend is very defective; some
indeed mentioned by Snelling, as crescent and saltire, we have not been able to discover. Folkes says
that silver being at that time very scarce no money with those marks was ever struck.
Upon reference to the table it will appear that the mint was very irregularly at work, and that very little
silver money was coined from about 1613, until 1621 when the scarcity of silver, alluded to by Folkes,
began to be relieved by the working of the Welch mines, and the mint at Aberystwith was established
for the purpose of striking money from silver produced in the Principality.
|Thistle||May 21, 1603||Exurg||+||+||+||+||+||+||+|
|Lis||May 22, 1604||Exurg||+||+||+||+||+||+||+|
|Rose||June 20, 1605||Sn.||Sn.||+||+|
|Escallop||July 10, 1606||C||Sn.||+||+||+|
|Grapes||June 30, 1607||--||--||+||+|
|Coronet||Nov. 11, 1607||--||--||+||+||--||--||+|
|Key||May 17, 1609||--||--||+||+|
|Bell||May 11, 1610||--||--||+||+||--||+|
|Mullet||May 9, 1611||--||--||+||+||+|
|Tower||May 22, 1612||--||--||+||Sn.||+||+|
|Trefoil||Apl. 28, 1613||+||+||--||+|
|Ton||May 17, 1615||--||--||+||+|
|Book||Nov 15, 1616||--||--||Sn.||+|
|Crescent||Aug. 23, 1617|
|Plain cross||May 15, 1618||--||--||--||--||+|
|Saltire cross||June 9, 1619|
|Spur rowel||Aug. 20, 1619||Sn.||+|
|Rose||June 23, 1620||C|
|Thistle||June 8, 1621||+?||+?||+||+||+|
|Lis||July 3, 1623||--||C ?||+||+||+||+||+|
|Trefoil||June 27, 1624||Sn.||Sn.||+||+||+||+|
Elizabeth, Table of Mint Marks |
Table of Contents |