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The Silver Coins of England

Edward Hawkins, 1841
Sole Monarchs of England - William IV

Table of Contents

William IV., 1830 to 1837.

When George IV. deceased 26th June, 1830, his brother William, Duke of Clarence, ascended the throne, and the orders issued for a new coinage were grounded upon the same principles as those of his immediate predecessors. Preparations were accordingly made for striking Crowns, Half-crowns, Shillings, Sixpences, and Maundy money, of the same weight, size, and fineness, as those of George IV. The portrait upon this coinage, which bears a very strong resemblance to his Majesty, was after a model made for the purpose by Chantrey. It presents the profile looking to the right, the neck bare, the hair short, without laurel; the legend upon all denominations being GVLIELMVS IIII. D. G. BRITANNIAR. REX F. D. upon the crown, half-crown, and shilling. The truncation of the neck is marked with W. W. incuse, for William Wyon the engraver of the dies.

Crowns: The reverse of this has the royal arms, emblazoned as those of George IV. but with colours expressed, upon a plain square shield, encircled by the collar of the garter with its appendant badge; all within a royal mantle embroidered round the border, and lined with ermine; above, the crown; below, ANNO 1831. Rud. R. 18. None of these pieces were issued for circulation, but only as proofs, for the cabinets of collectors; the edges are consequently plain. No other date occurs upon any of these pieces. An extremely rare variety, in the collection of the author, has the truncation marked with W. WYON. the letters in relief.

Half-Crowns: These exactly resemble the crowns, except that the collar of the garter does not pass along the sides of the shield, but only appears underneath, with its badge. They are milled at the edge and were issued for currency. They occur with the dates 1831. Rud. R. 19. 1834. 1835. 1836.

Shillings: These pieces have for reverse the words ONE SHILLING written across the field between branches of laurel and oak, the crown above, the date below. This reverse is very neatly and elegantly executed by Merlin, but it is impossible to refrain from expressing dissatisfaction at the type; there was not much opportunity for an artist to exhibit his talents in the engraving of armorial bearings, but there is still less in the barbarous device introduced upon this coin. It appears as if the Masters of the Mint were determined not to all the chief engraver an opportunity to exert his taste or his talents in the decoration of our coins. But so it will be as long as the office of Master of the Mint is conferred upon persons, less with a view to the proper discharge of its duties, than, to remunerate them for their services in some other department of the state. Shillings occur with the dates 1831. 1834. 1835. 1836. Rud. R. 14. 1837.

Sixpences: Exactly the same as the shilling, substituting only the words SIXPENCE. They occur of the dates 1831. 1834. 1835. 1836. 1837.

Maundy Money: The reverses of these pieces have the numerals crowned between branches of oak, the date in the field; similar to those of George IV. They all occur of the dates 1831 to 1837, both inclusive.

In 1836 it was resolved to issue groats for general circulation. The obverse is the same as that of the Maundy money; the reverse is a figure of Britannia helmetted, seated, resting her right hand upon her shield, and supporting a trident with her left. The legend, FOUR PENCE, interrupted by the trident and head of the figure. Exergue, 1836. Edge milled. Rud. R. 15. It occurs also of the date 1837. Two previous patterns were made in which the figure was smaller, one had FOUR-PENCE continuously over the head, the other had in the field 4 P. These pieces are said to have owed their existence to the pressing instance of Mr. Hume, from whence they, for some time, bore the nick-name of joeys. As they were very convenient to pay short cab fares, the Hon. M. P. was extremely unpopular with the drivers, who frequently received only a groat where otherwise they would have received a sixpence without any demand for change. One driver ingeniously endeavoured to put them out of circulation by giving all he received to his son upon condition that he did not spend them or exchange them. This had, however, one good effect, as it made the man an economist, and a little store became accumulated which would be useful upon some unexpected emergence.

Cr. ½Cr. Shil. 6d. 4d. 3d. 2d. 1d.
1831, Shield & mantle++
1831, Value & wreath++++++
1834, Shield & mantle+
1834, Value & wreath++++++
1835, Shield & mantle+
1835, Value & wreath++++++
1836, Shield & mantle+
1836, Value & wreath++++++
1837, Do.++++++
1836, Britannia+
1837, Do.+

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