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The Silver Coins of England

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

Table of Contents

Charles I., 1625-1649.

Crowns of the Tower Mint: Type 1. a. The first coins of this reign represent the king on horseback, ruff round his neck, his armour plain, his sword raised; the horse caparisoned, with a plume upon his head and crupper. The king's titles are, with slight occasional variations, CAROLVS D. G. MAG BR FRA ET HIB REX. The reverse has a square shield, garnished, with the arms blazoned, as upon the coins of James I.; the ends of a cross appear, issuing from beneath the arms, extending to the edge of the coin, and dividing into four poarts the legend CHRISTO AVSPICE REGNO. MM. Lis. Rud. xviii. 1. Snell. ix. 7. MB. Long cross. MB.

Type 1. b. Sometimes the shield has over it a plume, and in that case has no appearance of the cross. MM. Long cross. MB. Castle. MB.

Type 2. a. The next type represents the king, smaller, upon a smaller horse, the sword resting upon his shoulder, a ruff round his neck, narrow scarf across his body, no plume upon the crupper of the horse, the housings marked with a broad cross. The shield is oval, garnished, the garniture encroaching upon the shield at the top and bottom, the ends of a cross appearing from underneath, C. R. above. MM. Harp. Rud. xviii. 8. MB.

Type 2. b. Sometimes the shield has a plume over it between the letters C. R. and no appearance of the cross. MM. Plume. Rud. xviii. 2. Snell. ix. 13. MB. Rose. Rud. xviii. 5. MB. This type seems to be the production of a different and better artist than the preceeding. Snelling says that this type commenced with the castle MM. i. e. in 1627. The earliest specimen we have seen is with the plume MM. 1630.

Type 3. a. In this type the horse is without any caparisons, and carries his head low; the king wears a falling laced collar instead of a ruff; his scarf is broad and floats behind; the sword is held upright; the armorial shield is oval garnished. MM. Bell. MB. Crown. MB. Ton. MB. Anchor. MB. Triangle. MB. Star.

Type 3. b. Sometimes a plume is over the shield. MM. Portcullis. Rud. xviii. 3. MB. Crown. (475). MB. Ton. MB. This is the latest MM. with which the plume appears as indicative of Welch silver.

Type 4. The horse in this type is somewhat foreshortened, with a long mane extending in front of the chest; shield, as in type 3, without plumes. MM. R within brackets. (476). MB. Eye. Rud. xviii. 4. MB. Sun. MB.

Type 5. The horse large, tall, head erect, elegant and spirited, the mane extending in front of the chest, shield like that of the preceeding. MM. Sun. (477). Rud. xviii. 7. MB. In this plate the mane is not noticed.

The spirit, the neatness, and minuteness of some of the details of this and some of the other pieces, except the first type, induces us to believe that they are the earlier productions of Thos. Simons. Those coins, which have the plumes over the arms, were struck from silver produced from the Welch mines.

Briot's Crown: The king is here represented in the same manner as in type 3, but the horse is more quiescent, the mane short and the workmanship less spirited; the shield is oval, decorated with garniture, of which the upper part is in form of a lion's head; at the sides, C. R. crowned, and over it a large crown. MM. B and a small flower. Rud. xxi. 10. Sn. x. 6. MB. This coin is very neat, round, well formed, but the workmanship not very spirited; it was probably executed in the year 1633, and served as a model for the type introduced that year with the portcullis MM.

Nicholas Briot was a native of Lorrain, and was employed as Graver-general of the French coins, but disgusted at the treatment he received, offered his services to King Charles I., who established him in the mint at the Tower in 1628. By the means of machinery he made the coins more perfectly round than they had ever been before, and the neatness of his workmanship has been universally admired. To him has been ascribed the improvement, which took place soon after this time in the execution of the coins; but the tameness, which marks the designs upon his undoubted productions, is conclusive evidence that for the spirit and animation, which characterise the horse and the rider upon the coins, we must look for some other artists, and we shall find them in Simons and Rawlins. The warrant granting him a residence in the mint was dated Feb. 1629, it does not appear however to have been acted upon, as he presented a petition upon the subject in Oct. 1630; and as late as June 1631, a commission was appointed to see the warrant executed. In Jan. 1633, he was appoointed chief engraver.

Exeter Crowns. The first we have to describe, as probably belonging to this city, represents the king in profile, the horse rather coarsely executed but with a good deal of spirit, the shield oval and garnished, MM. Rose of a peculiar form. The coin is round and neat. (478). MB. The form of the rose and of the garniture leave little doubt as to the correct attribution of this coin to Exeter.

2. Others, with this kind of rose as mint mark, are less neat and round, and have the king's face nearly full; the sash behind in a bow; shield like the last, no date. (479). Sn. xiii. 16.

3. With date, at the end of the legend, 1644. Rud. xviii. 6. xxv. 2. Sn. xiii. 14. MB.

4. Another has the same date with the MM in the middle of the figures. Rud. Sup. v. 21. Sn. xiii. 15. MB.

5. Another has the date 1645. Rud. Sup. v. 22. Sn. xiii. 18.

6. Another of this last date, instead of mint mark on rev. has Ex for Exeter. Rud. xxv. 4. Sn. xiii. 13. MB.

7. Another has MM. castle, 1645. 9480). rud. xxv. 3. Sn. xiii. 19. MB.

8. Another, same MM. and date, has on rev. Ex. MB. On these pieces with castle MM. the sash is not in a bow, but floats behind. Sn. xiii. 17.

Oxford Crowns. Upon the obverse the usual crown type, but the horse small and short, rudely and badly formed, neck arched; plume behind the king, MM. sometimes a plume. The reverse has an inscription in two lines RELIG PROT LEG ANG LIBER PAR; with some slight variations. This inscription is in conformity with Charles's declaration, that he would "preserve the Protestant religion, the laws, and liberties of his subjects, and privileges of Parliament." Above are three plumes and V for five shillings, below, the date 1642. (481). Rud. xxiii. 5. Sn. xii. 11. MB. or 1643. Rud. xxiii. 6. Sn. xii. 12. MB. the legend of these coins is EXVRGAT DEVS DISSIPENTVR INIMICI. (Ps. lxviii. v. 1.) From this legend the pieces of this type have received the name of the exurgat money; all above the value of the half-crown have the value marked above the inscription on the reverse; all, below that value, behind the king's head on the obverse.

The coin, peculiarly called the Oxford crown, is very beautifully executed by Rawlins, with great spirit and attention to details; underneath the horse is a view of Oxford with its name OXON. and R, the initial of the artist's name. MM. a kind of cross fleury, or rather a pellet with four florets issuing from the edge. The type of the reverse resembles that of the preceding coins, but more gracefully decorated and better executed. The inscription is enclosed between two scrolls decorated with flowers; and underneath, with the date 1644, is the word OXON. A sprig of flowers is between each word of the legend. Rud. xxiv. 1. Sn. xii. 10. MB. The Mm., in these plates, is converted into a rose or cinquefoil, and the artist's initial is omitted.

There is some difficulty in deciding where the pieces usually ascribed to Oxford were actually struck; the introduction of the plumes would lead to the belief that they were struck at Aberystwith, and some possibly were so; the first coins of this type bear the date of 1642; others, with 1643 and subsequent dates, have OX under the date, and were clearly struck at Oxford; we find that a mint and moneyers were established in this city in 1642, under the direction of Sir W. Parkhurst and Thos. Bushell the director of the Aberystwith mint. If all the moneyers were removed from Aberystwith no doubt would remain about all these coins having been struck at Oxford, but if some were allowed to remain at Aberystwith, it is probable that some were struck in one place, and some in the other, but we do not appear to have any means of distinguishing them. It has been supposed that the money of this type marked with the book or feathers only was struck from Welch silver; this however is conjecture merely, and probably incorrect, for the coins struck at Oxford from the silver produced by the melting of the plate contributed by the colleges and from other sources must have had this mark. The plume was used upon the Oxford coins, because they were struck by officers and workmen brought from Aberytswith (sic). The book was the peculiar mark of Bushell, under whose direction both mints were conducted.

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