To His Grace EDWARD, Duke of Norfolk, Earl Marshal of England, &c.
May it please Your Grace,
Preface to the Second EditionWhen this Book was first published in the year 1726, our English Coins had been very much neglected; there were but few Collections, and the Author (then a young Member of the Society of Antiquaries) could offer very little from his own observation. His principal view was, to excite others to a search into this branch of out English Antiquities; and considering how eagerly our English Coins have been sught after, how much the value of them has been enhanced, and how many curious Collections have been made since that time, it seems to have had the desired effect.
As by these means many new discoveries have been made, which illustrate and ascertain the different Pieces, a History of our Money has been more than ever desired. But nothing of that kind having appeared, the first impression of this Book long since disposed of, and a demand for it still subsisting, the Author was prevailed upon to offer this Second Edition; and he undertook it the more willingly, considering the imperfections of the First, and that it was known to be his. If it had not been for this, the Public would either not have seen this edition, or without his name to it, not being in the least desirous to be known as an Author.
As to this Second Edition, theugh upon the same plan st the former, it is so much improved and enlarged, that it is in a manner wholly new. Every reign consists of an historical and a descriptive part; the first deduced from our Laws, Histories, and Records; the other containing a particular description of the particular Coins, fuller, and more complete than in the former edition, besides those struck by our Kings in foreign parts. He is, however, sensible of many defects in every article. Whoever undertakes a full and complete History of our English Money, should view all the Cabinets of the Curious, which is attended with so much trouble, and such infinite obligations, that is sufficient to discourage the most eager Antiquary (much more than the Author) from undertaking it: and though he had seen each Collection, he would yet want that leisure, and opportunity, to compare the Coins, which is absolutely necessary. It is a work, therefore, only to be undertaken by a Society of Antiquaries, which would obviate all these inconveniences; and, by this means, a complete, beautiful, and correct series might be exhibited to the Public (as some of the more scarce and valuable Pieces have already been) which we can hardly expect to see well executed by any other means. As the Author has had little or no information from the Collections of others, his defects are the more pardonable, though, he hopes, there will be found no material errors; and perfection in a work of this nature is impossible, even though he had scrutinized every Collection, and consulted all our Connoisseurs; for, after all, many things must be left to conjecture; and where he has given his opinion, it will always give place to a better. He could indeed have been more full in the Historical Part than he has been, but he chose to contract it, having no design to anticipate a more complete History of out English Money, which he hopes our Antiquaries will one day give us. And he will be fully satisfied to see his defects supplied, and another finish what he has imperfectly begun.