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The Gold Coins of England

Robert Lloyd Kenyon, 1884
Charles II (1660-1684)

Table of Contents

CHARLES II, 1660 TO 1684.

Charles II upon his restoration made no alteration in the coins, except by restoring the type used by his father, with a laureated bust substituted for a crowned one. The indenture for this coinage was made with Sir Ralph Freeman, on the 20th of July, 1660, and Unites, Double Crowns, and Britain Crowns were made by virtue of it, the dies being engraved by Simon. But it was very soon resolved to establish permanently in the mint the improved process of coining by the mill and screw, a process which had been introduced and abandoned in the reign of Elizabeth, and re-introduced under the Protectorate, though in consequence of the opposition made to it in the mint it was only used for Cromwell’s pattern pieces, and not for the public currency. In 1661 it was ordered that the necessary engines should be erected; in 1662 Blondeau was engaged to make the new money, and Roettier to engrave the dies, and it was first coined on the 6th of February, 1662-3, and was made current by a proclamation of March 27th, 1663. Of the new gold money, pieces of 100s, 40s, 20s, and 10s were made; but previously to this, on August 26th, 1661, the value of all current gold coins had been raised, the first unites of James I, 1604 to 1619, being raised to 23s 6d, and all coined since 1619 to 21s 4d, and the other coins in proportion; and accordingly the new pieces, which were of the same standard as before, had to be made lighter than the old ones, the 20s pieces now weighing 131 29/41 grs. The ancient coins made of gold of the old standard were also raised at the same time, the rose ryal of James I to 35s, and the angels of James I and Charles I to 11s 8d. As a great deal of the gold of which the new coins were made had been imported from Guinea by the African Company, the new 20s pieces received the name of Guineas, the old ones being distinguished by the name of Broads. In 1670 the weight was still further reduced, it being ordered that a pound of crown gold should now be made into Ł44. 10s by tale, the same sum which Charles I had made out of a pound of the old standard. This made the weight of the guinea 129 39/89 grs., and all subsequent guineas have been of this weight. All the coins were made of crown gold, i.e., 22 cts. fine to 2 cts. alloy, a mixture which has ever since been exclusively used.

HAMMERED MONEY. Of this there are two different coinages, one weighing 140 20/41 grs. to the unite and having no numerals behind the head, the other weighing 131 29/41 grs. to the unite and having the value of the coin indicated by numerals behind the head. Neither has any inner circle. The date of the second coinage is fixed by a warrant of November 28th, 1661, which ordered the values of all new pieces to be stamped upon them. On all these pieces the king’s bust is represented in profile to the left, laureate, long hair, neck bare, armour with scarf over it. The reverse has an oval shield garnished, crowned, between C and R. The shield is the same as on Charles I’s type 3, but the crown is broader and flatter, and the C and R at the sides are not crowned. The legends on the unites and double crowns are CAROLVS. II. D. G. MAG. BRIT. FRAN. ET. HIB. REX Rev. FLORENT. CONCORDIA. REGNA. The crowns have the obverse legend slightly abbreviated. They all have MM crown on obv. only, and they are the last coins on which any mint-mark appears. Of the first coinage, we have the Unite, Rud. xv. 2, MB. One of these has . before and after the reverse legend. The Double Crown, of which one variety has two dots after D and one before and after the reverse legend, MB., and the other has a different scarf over the armour, (129) MB.; and the Crown, of which one variety reads FR and has a dot before and after the reverse legend, Rud. xv. 4, MB., and the other reads BR: FR ET: HI:, and has all the letters smaller, : between each word on obv., rev. as the last. (130) MB.

Of the second coinage, with the numerals XX, X, or V behind the head, the Unite is like the first unite, except that the scarf is the same as that on the second double crown, and that the coin is rather smaller and thicker. Rud. xiv. 9, where, however, the difference in the scarf is scarcely shown. (131) MB. The Double Crown has bust and legends like the first unite, but the letters, and the coin itself, are much smaller and neater than in the former coinage, and there is a dot before and after the rev, legend. (132) Rud. xiv. 10. MB. The Crown is almost exactly the same as the first crown, reading FR. ET. HIB. Rud. xv. 1. MB.


For the engraving of the dies for this money there was a competition between Simon, who had made those for the hammered money and for Cromwell’s milled patterns, and Roettier, a native of Antwerp, who had been presented to the king before the Restoration. Some patterns for gold unites and double crowns (Rud. xiv. 8, xv. 3), as well as for silver coins, were executed by Simon, but those of Roettier were approved and adopted, and Simon was not afterwards employed upon English coins.

The milled coins have the king’s bust to the right (instead of like the hammered ones to the left), laureate, long hair, no drapery. The bust descends nearly to the edge of the coin, and divides the legend both above and below. Rev, four shields placed crosswise, crowned, England above, France below, Scotland to right, Ireland to left. In the centre between the shields are four Cs interlinked, from which issue four sceptres, one in each interval between the shields, terminating respectively in an orb,. thistle, lis, and harp. The legends on all are CAROLVS. II. DEI. GRATIA, Rev. MAG. BR. FRA. ET. HIB. REX., with the date at the top of the coin. There is no inner circle on either side. Before 1670 the weights were in the proportion of 131 29/41 grs. to the guinea, afterwards 129 39/89 grs. The current value of the guinea throughout the reign was 20s, and the metal was crown gold, 22 cts. fine. Many of the coins have an elephant with, after 1675, a castle on his back, under the bust. These are the coins which were made of the gold imported by the African Company, whose charter gave them the privilege of having coins made of gold or silver imported by them thus marked.

FIVE GUINEAS. These have their edges marked with the words DECVS ET TVTAMEN (the legend being so placed for the purpose of being both “an ornament and a protection” to the coin against being clipped), followed by the date ANNO REGNI VICESIMO, or as the case may be. The reign was calculated as having begun on the day of the death of Charles I.

Type 1. Lovelock in front of shoulder, truncation of bust pointed. 1668, with and without elephant under bust, ANNO REGNI VICESIMO. (133). 1669, with elephant, VICESIMO PRIMO. These are of the weight of 651 22/41 grs. The following weigh only 647 17/89 grs. 1670, VICESIMO SECVNDO. 1672, VICESIMO QVARTO. 1673, VICESIMO QVINTO. 1675, VICESIMO SEPTIMO, all without the elephant. 1675, VICESIMO SEPTIMO with the elephant. 1676, VICESIMO SEPTIMO without the elephant. 1676, VICESIMO OCTAVO with the elephant and castle. 1677, VICESIMO NONO, with and without elephant and castle. 1678, TRICESIMO, with elephant and castle. All these are in MB. Rud. xv. 5.

Type 2. Weight 647 17/89 grs. Bolder work, no lovelock, truncation rounded. 1678, 1679, 1680, 1681, 1682, 1683, without, and 1681 and 1684 with, elephant and castle. The dates on the edges are respectively TRICESIMO, and TRICESIMO PRIMO, SECVNDO, TERTIO, QVARTO, QVINTO, SEXTO. All in MB. Rud. xv. 9.

TWO GUINEAS. These are similar to the five guineas, but their edges are milled and have no inscription. Type 1, weight 263 17/41 grs., type like the first five guineas; 1664, both with and without an elephant under the bust. MB. Rud. xv. 6.Type 2. Weight 258 78/89 grs., type like the second type of the five guineas; 1675, 1676, 1677, 1678, 1679, 1681, 1683, 1684, without, and 1676 and 1684 with elephant and castle under bust. All in MB. (134) Rud. xv. 10.

GUINEAS. Similar to the two guineas.

Type 1, weight 131 29/41 grs., type like the first type of the five guineas, 1663 with and without the elephant. MB.

Type 2, like the former guineas but the head a little broader, and the hair brought more forward on the shoulder, 1664 and 1665 with the elephant, Rud. xv. 7, 1664, 1666, 1667, 1668, and 1670, without. (135) MB.

Type 3. Weight 129 39/89 grs., type like the second type of the five guineas; every year from 1672 to 1684 inclusive without, and 1675, 1676, 1677, 1682, 1683, with the elephant and castle under the bust. All in MB. Rud. xv. 11.

HALF-GUINEAS. Similar to the two guineas.

Type 1 like the first type of the five guineas, 1669, weighing 65 35/41 grs., and 1670 weighing 64 64/89 grs., without the elephant. MB. Rud. xv. 8 has an elephant, but the reverse is not given, and it does not appear what the date or the weight is.

Type 2. Weight 64 64/89 grs., type like the second type of the five guineas; 1672, 1675, 1676, 1679, 1681, 1683, and 1684 without, and 1676, 1677, 1678, with, elephant and castle under bust, all in MB. (136) Rud. xv. 12.

Unite. Double Cr. Brit. Cr.
1660-1 MM crown, no numerals + + +
1660-1 MM crown, no numerals, smaller letters +
1660-1 MM crown, no numerals, different scarf +
1661-2 MM crown, numerals behind the head + + +

5 guas. 2 guas. 1 gua. ½ gua.
1663 Lovelock, truncation pointed +
1663 Lovelock, truncation pointed, elephant +
1664 Lovelock, broad bust on guinea + +
1664 Lovelock, truncation pointed, elephant + +
1665 Lovelock, truncation pointed, broad bust, elephant +
1666 Lovelock, broad bust +
1667 Lovelock, broad bust +
1668 Lovelock, broad bust on guinea + +
1668 Lovelock, truncation pointed, elephant +
1669 Lovelock, truncation pointed +
1669 Lovelock, truncation pointed, elephant +
1670 Lovelock, truncation pointed, broad bust on guinea + + +
1672 Lovelock, truncation pointed +
1672 No lovelock, truncation rounded + +
1673 Lovelock, truncation pointed +
1673 No lovelock, truncation rounded +
1674 No lovelock, truncation rounded +
1675 Lovelock, truncation pointed +
1675 Lovelock, truncation pointed, elephant +
1675 No lovelock, truncation rounded + + +
1675 No lovelock, truncation rounded, elephant and castle +
1676 Lovelock, truncation pointed +
1676 Lovelock, truncation pointed, elephant and castle +
1676 No lovelock, truncation rounded + + +
1676 No lovelock, truncation rounded, elephant and castle + + +
1677 Lovelock, truncation pointed +
1677 Lovelock, truncation pointed, elephant and castle +
1677 No lovelock, truncation rounded + +
1677 No lovelock, truncation rounded, elephant and castle + +
1678 Lovelock, truncation pointed, elephant and castle +
1678 No lovelock, truncation rounded + + +
1678 No lovelock, truncation rounded, elephant and castle +
1679 No lovelock, truncation rounded + + + +
1680 No lovelock, truncation rounded + +
1681 No lovelock, truncation rounded + + + +
1681 No lovelock, truncation rounded, elephant and castle +
1682 No lovelock, truncation rounded + +
1682 No lovelock, truncation rounded, elephant and castle +
1683 No lovelock, truncation rounded + + + +
1683 No lovelock, truncation rounded, elephant and castle +
1684 No lovelock, truncation rounded + + +
1684 No lovelock, truncation rounded, elephant and castle + +

Commonwealth (1648-1660) | Table of Contents | James II (1684-1688)

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