An Historical Account of English Money, 3rd Edition

Stephen Martin Leake, Esq, 1793


Table of Contents

Elizabeth. A.D. 1558.

[Note: Original spelling style has not been preserved in this transcription. f is rendered in the modern s, etc. ie, Majefty and Reverfe are presented as Majesty and Reverse resepectively.]

During the short reigns of King Edward and Queen Mary, some progress had been made towards restoring good Money, but it was reserved for this excellent Princess to compleat; and, next to the reformation in religion, nothing could be more glorious or more beneficial to the kingdom, than the reformation of the Money. This, amongst other felicities of her reign, was mentioned by the Parliament, [Camden's Eliz. Stat. 5 Eliz. c. 11], in their congratulations to her Majesty upon the happiness of the times, and the fame is justly inserted amongst the encomia upon her tomb at Westminster.

the first indenture for coinage in thie reign, mentioned by Mr. Lownds, [p. 49.] is in the second year; but there is a commission, [1 Eliz. p. 4. Memb. 14.] dated the thirty-first of December in her first year, (which was presently after her accession to the crown) to Sir Edmund Peckham, high treasureer of the mint, Thomas Stanley, comptroller, and others, who were empowered to make Sovereigns at thirty Shillings, twenty-four to the pound; Angels at ten Shillings, seventy-two to the pound; and Angelets, of the fineness of twenty-three carrats, ten grains, and a half fine gold, and one grain and a half allay, (as the record has it,) instead of three grains and a half fine, and half a grain allay, which bears the same proportion, and shew evidently the mistake; and of crown gold, twenty-two carrats fine, Sovereigns, at twenty Shillings, thirty-three to the pound, Half Sovereigns, Crowns, and Half Crowns; remedy as well for fine, as crown gold two grains, coinage four Shillings, and of silver eleven ounces fine, and one ounce allay, Shillings, sixty to the pound, Half Shillings, Groats, Half Groats, and Pence. Remedy, two pennyweights, coinage to the Queen Eighteenpence per pound weight.

In her second year is an indenture [Lownds, p. 49.] with Sir Thomas Stanley, and others, for coining pieces of the same denomination of gold, with the addition of Rials at fifteen Shillings, all of the old Standard; and of crown gold the same as before. Silver of the old sterling, viz. eleven ounces two pennyweights fine, and eighteen pennyweights allay, into Half Shillings, Groats, Quarter Shillings, Half Groats, Three-halfpenny Pieces, Pence, and Farthings.

In these two first years of her reign, there was a great deal of Money coined, whereby the want of good Money being in some measure supplied, she set about reforming the bad. And, first, having prohibited any person to melt or carry away any Coin out of the kingdom, the bad money was reduced to the true value, by a proclamation dated the twenty-eighth of September, 1560. By this proclamation [Stow's Annals, 1560.] the Testoon, which King Edward the Sixth had brought down to Sixpence, was now reduced to Fourpence Halfpenny, being of the best sort; the two other sorts of Testoons, (being distinguished by several stamps) were reduced, the second sort to Twopence Farthing, and the third to nothing; the old Groat to Twopence, the Twopence to a penny; or, as another writer [Camden's Eliz. 1688. in 1560, p. 48, 49.] has it, the Coin of Twopence to Three Halfpence, and the Brazen Penny to an Halfpenny Farthing. The same writer informs us, [Camden's Remains.] the first marked the base Money, some with a greyhound, others with portcullis's, and others with a lion, harp, rose, or fleur de lis, and after a time recalled them to the mint. The greyhound and portcullis were probably the stamps which distinguished the two basest Testoons, viz. the worst with the greyhound, and that of Twopence Halfpenny value with the portcullis; for there are some in collections with this latter stamp: but as to the other stamps of the lion, rose, fleur de lis, and harp, they were no other than the several mint-marks of the base Testoons, as appears by the declaration dated the day after the proclamation, and intitled, A declaration or summary of certain reasons which moved the Queen to reduce the base Money, appointed to be declared by order of her proclmation in the city of London; the substance whereof it will not be improper to insert. [From a copy without the draughts, printed in 1696.]

First, the honour and reputation of the singular wealth that this realm was wont to have above all others, was partly in that it had no coined Moneys but gold and silver, whereas the rest of Christendome have had, and still have, base Monies; and to recover this, as her Majesty meant, for her part, to be at great charges, so every good English subject ought to be content, though it was some small loss at the first; also, by continuing base Monies, counterfeits, both at home and abroad, had made no small quantities, and uddered the same, first at Twelvepence the Testoon, afterwards for Eightpence, though not worth above Twopence; and for small sums of Money counterfeited, had carried out six times the value in commodities of the realm; also changing the said base Monies for gold and fine silver Monies of the realm, and transported the same: so that although there had been coined, both in the latter end of King Edward, and the time of Queen Mary, and also since the Queen's Majesty's reign, great quantities of gold and silver, yet no part thereof was seen commonly current, some being carried out, and some perchance hoarded by the wiser sort; as it were to be wished that the whole were.

Also, the prices of all things produced from the earth, though there had been a plentiful increase, immeasurably and daily rose, and no remedy could be devised to amend the same, but to reduce the said base Monies to their just value; for every man knew, that a Testoon was not worth a Sixpence, and therefore no man would give that which was, and ever had been worth Sixpence for a Testoon, but rather would require two Testoons; and so a thing being worth Sixpence, was bought and sold either for two Testoons or one and a half, which was in reckoning twelve or nine Pence. Whereas every Testoon being brought to the just value, it must needs follow, that one shall buy that for Fourpence Halfpenny, which was wont to cost Sixpence, so that what he may lose by the bad Money, he will gain by the next good Money he shall get.

By this means the exchange shall rise in estimation as formerly, and the foreign commodities be thereby bought for easier prices; so that every man ought to thank God, that he may live to see the honour of his country thus partly recovered, and be secured from the privy thief, which is the counterfeiter.

And her Majesty is fully resolved to reform the Monies according to her proclamation, as experience shall try, within a month or six weeks, within which time necessary things for the mint must be provided; and that the Monies shall be of so just value, as the Testoon set at Twopence Farthing, her Majesty will allow for every pound of them twenty Shillings and Threepence in reward, which is rather more than they are worth being melted; so that her Majesty, who, since she came to the crown, never gained anything by any coinage, nor yet ever coined any manner of base Monies for this realm, will not now determine to lessen the honour and fame, that she shall, with small loss or gain, recover, by this noble act to benefit her realm and people.

And as to the burthen of the greatest lost upon the Testoon of Twopence Farthing, those, by good accounts, appeared not to be above a sixth part, compared to the other base Monies of the same sort of Testoons, coined at the mints of this realm; and at the coinage of the same base Testoons, now valued at Twopence Farthing, which was done in the time of the wars heretofore, there were set thereto certain marks, as a lion, a rose, a fleur de lis, a harp, called the privy marks of such as were the masters of the mint, which also be specified in the proclamation, for the better understanding whereof, the stamps of every kind of the same base Testoons are set at the end of the declaration: and to ease her subjects as much as possible, the officers of the mint are to allow for counterfeit Testoons, as much as they contain in good silver, which in no realm any Prince either hath, or ought to do.

Given under the Queen's Majesty's signet, at her honour of Hampton-Court, the 29th of September, in the second year of her Majesty's reign, MDLX.
There was a separate mint in the Tower, on purpose to convert the base Money into sterling, which lasted about a year; and a computation was given [Stow's Survey of Lond. 1720, Strype's edit. tom. 1. lib. 1, cap. 18, p. 98.] in of the base Monies received into the mint, from Michaelmas 1560, to Michaelmas 1561, with the charges of the workmanship, as follows:

Total of the mass of base
Monies was pound weight
Which was current Money
according to the rates of
their several standards
Total of the mass of fine
Monies pound weight
Which is in Monies current
at sixty Shillings the
pound weight
The charges of coinage.
To the two treasurers of the
mint, Thomas Stanley and
Thomas Fleetwood, for
coinage at Sevenpence
the pound weight.
Necessaries, as coals
coining-irons, &c.
Fees of officers, with their
diet for one year

Sum total of the charges
aforesaid, amounting to

At this time odd pieces were coined, namely, Fourpence Halfpenny Pieces, Twopence Farthing Pieces, and Penny Halfpenny Pieces.

About the same time the French Crown, [Stow, m. 1560.] which was current for six Shillings and Fourpence, was brought down to six Shillings, by proclamation; and by another the fifteenth of November 1561, all foreign Coins [Stow, p. 647.] were forbidden to be current in the realm, and the same were called into the mint, except two sorts of gold Crowns, the one French, the other Flemish; whereupon, for the space of half a year, was weekly brought into the Tower of London to be coined, eight, ten, twelve, sixteen, twenty, twenty-two thousand pounds of silver plates, and as much, or more in Pistolets, and other gold of Spanish Coins, and one week in Pistolets, and other Spanish gold twenty-six thousand pounds.

By this last proclamation diverse small pieces of Money were appointed to be current, as the Sixpence, Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, and Penny, Three-halfpence, and Three Farthings; but none of the pieces of Fourpence Halfpenny, and Twopence Farthing before mentioned. And as there does not appear to have been any such pieces, it is probably a mistake of the editor, or else the base Testoons were mean thereby, which, by proclamation, had before been made current at those values.

After this we have the following indentures [Lownds, p. 50, 51.] and commissions, all of the same standard, viz. gold of the old standard thirty-six pounds in tale, and crown gold thirty-three pounds in tale; the silver of the old sterling three pounds by tale.

The nineteenth of Elizabeth, by indenture with John Louison, master and worker, viz. Angels at ten Shillings, Half Angels and Quarter Angels of gold; and of silver, Half Shillings, Threepences, Three-halfpenny pieces, or Three-farthing pieces.

The twenty-fifth of Elizabeth, by indenture with Richard Martin, for gold as the former, and the pound of silver into sixty Shillings, or three Pounds by tale, in any of the denominations in the last.

the twenty-sixth of Elizabeth, a comission to him to coin Nobles, forty-eight to the pound, at fifteen Shillings a piece, or twenty-four Double Nobles at thirty Shillings.

The thirty-fifth of Elizabeth, the same for crown gold, to coin Sovereigns at twenty Shillings, thirty-three to the pound, or Half Sovereigns or Crowns, a hundred and thirty-two to the pound, or Half Crowns.

But in her forty-third year the Money was made something lighter; for by a comission to the said Richard Martin, the pound of gold of the old standard, was to make seventy-three Angels, at ten Shillings a-piece, or Half Angels; or Quarter Angels, making thirty-six Pounds ten Shillings in tale, and the pound weight of twenty-two carrats fine, and two carrays allay, into thirty-three Sovereigns and a Half, at twenty Shillings, each, or sixty-seven Half Sovereigns, or a hundred and thirty-four Crowns, or two hundred and sixty-eight Half Crowns, making thirty-three Pounds ten Shillings in tale; and the pound of old standard silver into three Pounds two Shillings by Tale, namely, into Crowns, Half Crowns, Shillings, Sixpences, Twopences, Pence, and Halfpence.

The same year Queen Elizabeth is likewise said [Morison's Iten. in Eng. Hist. lib.] to have contracted for the coinage of pieces of an Angel and a Half, and three Angels; but these, by their value, were no other than Sovereigns and Double Sovereigns.

In the mean time, some good laws [zd St. 5 Eliz. c. 11. 1 St. 14 Eliz. c. 3.] were made to prevent the currency of bad Money; it was made treason to clip, wash, round, or file any Coin current in the realm by proclamation; and misprison of treason, falsely to forge or counterfeit any gold or silver Coin, though not the proper Coin of this realm; or permitted to be current; but other arts and inventions being devised to evade the law, it was further enacted [St. 18 Eliz. c. 1.] in her eighteenth year, That by any art to impair, diminish, falsify, scale, or lighten the proper Monies of this realm, or permitted to be current by proclamation, should be treason. But all was not sufficient to prevent this practice; for two years after, one John de Loy, [Stow's Annals, anno 1578, p. 684., 1595, p. 769.] a Frenchman, and five English gentlemen, were arraigned, and executed, for coining of counterfeit Money, besides others in her thirty-seventh year: and in her forty-second year, a proclamation [Camden's Eliz. Anno 1600.] was made for putting the laws in force against the transportation of Coin.

Her first and best Sovereign, of thirty Shillings value, had her figure sitting in her regalia upon her throne, and the portcullis at her feet, like her sister's; ELIZABETH. D. G. ANG. FRA. ET. HIB. REGINA. and the same reverse as Queen Mary's, but the B. added in MIRAB. The mint-marks a tun, an escallop, &c.

The Rial or Noble, Half the value of the best Sovereign, has her figure with a ruff, (which she first used upon the Money,) and crowned, standing in a ship, something more modern than her sister's, holding in her hands the sceptre and orb. Upon the side of the ship is a rose with lions, and fleur de lis, and a flag at the head of the ship, inscribed with an old English E. the epigraphe in like characters, ELIZ. AB. D. G. ANG. FR. ET. HIB. REGINA. Reverse, like Queen Mary's Rial, but with the old legend, IHS. AVT. TRANSIENS. PER. MEDIV. ILLORVM. IBAT. the letter A. the mint-mark.

The Angel, ELIZABETH. D. G. ANG. FR. ET. HI. REGINA. in Roman capitals. Reverse, the arms in the old fashioned ship, with E. and a rose on the sides of the mast; A. DNO. FACTVM. EST. ISTVD. ET. EST. MIRABI. A bell the mint-mark. Others of 1578, a cross, or 1592, with a tun. Those of her thirty-fifth year with an anchor or a cypher, and of her forty-third year with the figures 1, or 2.

The Angelet, or Half Angel, is like the Angel of the same year and Mintage. One of these with MIRA. for Mirabile, has a dagger the mint-mark.

The Money of crown gold, is first, her Sovereign of twenty Shillings, having her bust with a ruff, and hair dishevelled, crowned with a high double-arched crown, ELIZABETH. D. G. ANG. FR. ET. HIB. REGINA. Reverse, the arms crowned, between E. R. legend, SCVTVM. FIDEI. PROTEGET. EAM. a wool pack the mint-mark.

Another Sovereign, with a tun the mint-mark, of which mintage there is the Half Sovereign, the Quarter, and Half Quarter. On the last of these the names and titles are abbreviated, ELIZAB. D. G. ANG. FR. ET. HIB. REGI.

There are other Sovereigns differing in the form of the crown, the arches being much more obtuse, or flatter than the former. These have a cross crosslet the mint-mark.

Also a very neat sort like the former, but without the two circles around the legend, ELIZABETH. D. G. ANG. FRA. ET. HIB. REGINA. Reverse, the arms, motto, and letters as before, having a mullet of six points for the mint-mark. These were coined by the mill, having graining upon the flat edge; and there are some few Half and Quarter Sovereigns of this sort, with graining both upon the flat and thick edge of the rim, being undoubtedly the first English Money coined with the mill, or that had graining upon the trim. A Quarter Sovereign of this sort has a fleur de lis the mint-mark, which is supposed to be the mark of the year 1567, or 1568.

This invention of the mill, Le Blanc [p. 286.] calls Ballancier, or Fly, from the manner of working it, and says it was first set up at Paris in 1553, but it seems not to have been perfected until long afterwards; for the first Money coined by the mill in France, was [Le Blanc, p. 327.] Testoons, and Demy-Testoons, in the year 1561. The same year we have Sixpences coined by the mill in England the invention being brought hither [The Answers of the Moniers in the mint to Peter Bondeau (sic), fo. 1653, p. 20, p. 31.] by a Frenchman, who was encouraged by the Queen and Council, and coined milled Money in the Tower, when the pieces before mentioned were made with graining upon the thick edge of the rim, as patterns of milled Money. But this Frenchman being detected of counterfeiting and making milled Money out of the mint, he was hanged and quartered. Perhaps the secret died with him; but I rather think it did not answer the cost, and therefore was laid aside here, as it had been in France, Henry the Third, by an edict [Boissard, p. 158.] in September 1585, forbidding the use of the mill, except for Medals and Counters.

A very fair Sovereign [Antiq, plate IV.] of this milled sort, has her head crowned something smaller than usual, as upon her Shilling of the same mintage; ELIZABETH. D. G. ANG. FRAN. ET. HIB. REGINA. Reverse, IHS. AVTEM. TRAN. PER. MEDIV. ILLOR. IBAT. and the arms crowned, between E. R. A rose the mint-mark.

As to the Crowns and Half Crowns of gold, they are probably no other than the Quarter and Half Quarter Sovereigns.

The lighter Coins of her forty-third year, are known from the others by the figures 1, or 2, for the mint-marks.

The Shilling has the Queen's bust looking to the left, crowned, a rose behind the head, ELIZABETH. D. G. ANG. FRA. Z. HIB. REGINA. Reverse, POSVI. DEV. ADIVTOREM. MEVEM. An escocheon of the arms, divided by the old cross, with the date above, 1575, and a fleur de lis the mint-mark.

Another with the same mint-mark, but without the rose or date, REG. for REGINA. and MEV. for MEVM.

A third ELIZAB. D. G. ANG. FR. ET. HIB. REGI. a key the mint-mark, which, Mr. Thoresby [No 300] says, shews it was coined in the Archbishop of York's mint; but it is not probably there was any Money coined in the Bishop's mints after Henry the Eighth, much less Shillings, (when Wolsey had been impeached for coining Groats;) but it might perhaps be coined in the King's mint there.

ELIZABETH. D. G. ANG. FR. ET. HIB. REGINA. with a martlet the mint-mark, commonly called a Drake, and the Shilling from thence the Drake Shilling, in memory (as the vulgar have it) of Sir Francis Drake's voyage round the world; but is indeed no other than the mint-mark of Sir Richard Martin, who was made warden of the mint [Rymer, tom. 15, p. 785. tom. 16, p. 414. tom. 17, p. 19.] the fourteenth of Elizabeth, and in her twenty-third year master-worker, in which post he continued till the fifteenth of James the First; and this mark of the martlet he used upon the Money, not only as allusive to his name, but as being a part of his arms, which was granted to him when he was warden of the mint.

Another, like the former, has a cross-crosslet the mint-mark, and FRA. for Frank.

The milled Shilling, with graining upon the flat edge is without circles about the legend; ELIZABETH. D. G. ANG. FRA. ET. HIB. REGINA. a mullet of six points the mint-mark. It is a very neat Coin.

There are Sixpences almost of every year of her reign, from 1561, both of the hammered and milled sort, and several different stamps of the same year: all of them have a rose behind the Queen's head, crowned, and the same epigraphe and reverse as the Shillings, with the date above the arms, which, in some measure, ascertains the mint-marks to the respective years, and by that means determines the years by the mint-marks, to those other Coins which want the dates. The milled Sixpences have generally a mullet of six points, or a fleur de lis the mint-mark. There is one Sixpence of 1562, weighing two pennyweights three grains, which is three grains above the full weight, though in general they fall short by about seven grains; for Lovison, [Rymer, tom. 15, p. 705. Stow's Survey of Lond. by Strype, b. 1, ch. 18, p. 100.] who was master-worker from the fourteenth, till the twenty-second of Elizabeth, coined the Money Sixpence Farthing under the standard, and short of weight for divers years, till he was detected by Martin the warden; but he pleaded necessity for it, to make amends for a bad bargain. And upon a commission of enquiry, though it appeared, that besides Eighteenpence in the pound weight, which the subject paid to the coinage (whereof the Queen had Tenpence, and the master Eightpence) there was taken from the Money Sixpence Farthing more. The commissioners were satisfied the work could not be performed without it, and, even then, was too little to bear all the charges; and therefore, in their report to the Queen, they proposed to allow him Fifteenpence in the pound weight, and discharge him of what was past; and if he did not accept of that, to appoint another in his place, and allow him a pension.

Besides the Sixpences mentioned, there is a rose one in Speed, having the Queen's bust crowned, looking to the right, (contrariwise from the former) the bust being larger than usual, and extending to the rim; ELIZABETH. D. G. AN. F. & HI. REGINA. Reverse, the arms in a large shield crowned, and divided by a very broad cross; the usual motto Posui, &c. and the date in the circumscription above the arms, 1575.

Thoresby [No 306] mentions a Sixpence countermarked, with the Belgick lion, very fair upon the Queen's breast, when she took those provinces under her protection.

There is another stamped with the arms of Zealand, to make it current there.

I have likewise seen a light Sixpence of 1672, stamped on the head-side with a figure like an H, probably to denote the lightness; but when, and upon what occasion, does not occur.

The Groats, both of the hammered and milled Money, are like the Sixpences of the same mintage, but want the rose behind the head, and the date above the arms.

The Threepences, like the Sixpences, have both the rose and the date.

The Twopences like the Groats, but the hammered Twopence has two points or dots behind the head. EDG. ROSA. SINE. SPINA. Reverse, the arms, and CIVITAS. LONDON. a tun the mint-mark, and weigh from fourteen grains and a half to sixteen. One of these, with a crescent the mint-mark, weighs eighteen grains, which, by the weight, answers to the pieces of Twopence Farthing, if there were any such. The milled Twopence is like the Threepence, but wants the rose, (as the Groat) and has a mullet of six points the mint-mark, and weighing sixteen grains.

The Threehalfpenny piece has a rose; without the Queen's head, E. D. G. ROSA. SINE. SPINA. Reverse, the arms, CIVITAS. EBORACI. Weight twelve grains.

The Penny is like the Twopence, but without the dots, weighing eight grains.

A piece like the Penny weighs six grains, perhaps the Threefarthing piece.

Another piece weighing half a grain more, has a rose behind the Queen's head, and on the reverse, above the arms, 1. 7.

Mr. Thoresby [No 313.] mentions silver Halfpennies, having the rose on both sides, and probably the Farthings had the same stamp.

The first indenture that mentions Crowns and Half Crowns of silver, is in her forty-third year. These have her Majesty's bust in her robes crowned, the sceptre in her right hand, and orb in her left, a large ruff and collar of roses about her neck, and the badge of the rose with pearls pendant thereto, which badge was then, and long afterwards, in like manner worn at the collars of the officers at arms; ELIZABETH. D. G. ANG. FRA. ET. HIBER. REGINA. Reverse, the arms, cross, and legend as the Shilling; a figure 1. the mint-mark.

The portcullis, or exportable Money, is peculiar to this reign, and very scarce; it was coined by commission, [Mint-Books.] the eleventh of January, in her forty-third year, for the use of the East-India Company, and therefore called Indian Money. The Queen [Violet's Appeal to Caesar, 410. 1660, p. 25, 26] would not admit the company, at her first granting them to be a corporation, to transport the King of Spain's silver Coin into the East-Indies, though the merchants pressed it very often, telling her Majesty, that her silver Coin and stamp was not known in the East-Indies. To which she replied, that for the reasons the merchants alleged, it was her resolution not to grant the King of Spain's, or any foreign Prince's Coin, to be sent into India, but such pieces as were coined with her effigies on one side, and the portcullis on the other; that the Indians might know her, wherever her merchants traded, to be as great a Prince as the King of Spain; and that no more should be sent than she and her council should approve. As this was to supply the place of Spanish Money, which was best known in the Indies, it was made of the just weight and fineness of the Spanish Dollar, or piece of eight Rials, and the parts of the Dollar, viz [Mint Books.] in pieces of eight Testers, four Testers, two Testers, and single Testers; the Tester being equivalent to the Spanish Rial of plate. The piece of eight Testers, commonly called the Portcullis Crown, weighted seventeen Pennyweights eleven grains, equal to a Spanish Dollar or piece of eight, and to four Shillings and Sixpence English, and therefore may not improperly be called the English Dollar. The lesser pieces were in proportion, and all bore the same stamp, having on one side (instead of her Majesty's head, which seems at first to have been intended) an escocheon of her harms crowned, between E. R. crown'd; ELIZABETH. D. G. ANG. FR. ET. HIB. REGINA. Reverse, her badge of the portcullis crowned, POSVI. DEVM. ADIVTOREM. MEVM. An Annulet the mint-mark.

The was observed al Queen Elizabeth's reign, but in the next was bought off; from which time, to 1660, above six millions were exported, besides private adventures; and afterwards the same practice was continued in a much greater degree; for an author [State of the Nation in resepct of her Credit, Money, &c. 8vo. Lond. 1726.] computes the exportation to our time, at no less than a hundred and fifty millions; which, no doubt, was one reason of the scarcity of good Money, that brought such immense charge upon the nation for re-coinage in King William's time: whereas, had Queen Elizabeth's rule been observed, it would, in some measure, have prevented that inconvenience, and besides the saving to the the public, have done honour to the nation, and brought in a considerable revenue to the crown by the coinage.

Before the union of the two kingdoms in King James the First, there was not any brass or copper Money coined for the use of England, though our neighbours, the French, [Le Blanc, p. 271.] had it in 1575, as most of the neighbouring kingdoms and states had sometime before. Queen Elizabeth, [Strype's Stow, b. 1. ch. 18, p. 102.] it seems, had it under consideration before her death, and the question was stated to Martin, warden of the mint, about coining Farthings, whether to make them of silver, or silver debased, or copper; and his report thereupon was, That if they were of silver of the standard of the other Coins, the pieces would be only two grains, neither conveniently coined, nor handled for payment. If they were increased by a base standard to six grains, which was the smallest they conveniently could be, then there would be eighty in every ounce, and in every pound nine hundred and sixty, and would be current for twenty Shillings; the workmanship would cost two Shillings and Eightpence the Pound weight: the small quantity of silver would make no shew, and would be clearly lost, and as easily counterfeited, as if they were only copper; but, if made of copper, they might be faithfully made of one pennyweight the piece, two hundred and forty in the pound, and be current for five Shillings: These would be apt for use, and of infinite continuance, and in them there was no precedent of embasing. And from this report, the Queen certainly intended to coin copper Money for England, as she did for Ireland. Mr. Thoresby [No 325.] describes a piece in his collection, which undoubtedly was a design for a copper Halfpenny, having her Majesty's cypher under a crown, circumscribed THE. PLEDGE. OF. Reverse, a rose and crown, A. HALFPENNY. But though it does not appear her Majesty coined any copper Halfpence, yet by her authority, [Cosuetudo, et lex Mercatoria, by Gerard Malines, fo. p. 185. 1656. fol. Lond.] Halfpence of copper were made at Bristol, for the use of that opulent city, having on one side a ship, and on the other C. B. signifying Civitas Bristol. And these went current for small things at Bristol, and ten miles round; and for want of some such Money the latter end of her reign, every chandler, tapster, victualler, and others, made tokens of lead and brass for Halfpence.

The following particular state of the coinage, from the twenty-second of August, in the twenty-third of Queen Elizabeth, to the last of August in her fortieth year, being seventeen years, is inserted from an old mint-book of the time, which, from several circumstances, appears to have belonged to Sir Richard Martin the mint-master.

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