A Commonwealth Crown, 1653, and an Oliver Cromwell Crown, 1658/7

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by robinjojo, Nov 22, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Yesterday, I posted a thread on my Oxford half pound, issued by Charles I in 1643, at the onset of a conflict that had a profound effect on British history, and the history of what became the United States, over a century later. That conflict was the English Civil War, 1642-1651.

    While the Oxford half pound is the numismatic epitome of the Royalist or Caviler side of the conflict, the Parliamentarians, or Roundheads, the side that prevailed, also had their distinctive coinage: the coinage of the Commonwealth of England, under the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell.


    Oliver Cromwell, whose great, great, grand uncle was Thomas Cromwell, chief minister to Henry VIII, was a political leader and military strategist of the New Model Army (1645), who was instrumental in leading the parliamentarian cause during the civil war to their ultimate victory over the royalists, culminating in the trial and execution of Charles I in 1949, and the establishment of the Commonwealth in 1651.

    Oliver Cromwell is one of the most controversial figures in British history. Critics sight the regicide of Charles I, his virtual monarchical powers as Lord Protector and his harsh treatment of Catholics, especially in Ireland. On the other hand, Milton and Carlyle viewed Cromwell as a hero of liberty and of the representative republican cause. Others viewed him as the champion for the Protestant cause in a profoundly divided England.

    However, old grudges do die hard. When Charles II, the son of Charles I, returned to England at the start of the Stuart Restoration and following the death of Cromwell and the resignation of his son, the second Lord Protector, Richard Cromwell in 1659, he had Cromwell's body exhumed, hung in chains and beheaded in 1660.

    The 1653 Commonwealth crown was purchased in 1986, at my first Coinex show in London. I remember the seller, a coin dealer from Lincolnshire, who seemed a bit dismissive of the coin, viewing it as a "stock" coin as I recall. Well, that worked to my advantage, and I have now owned this coin for nearly 35 years.

    This is the first coin, as I recall, to have the legends in English.

    England, 1653
    Obverse: THE. COMMONWEALTH. OF. ENGLAND, English shield (St. George) in center, surround by a wreath, sun symbol above.
    Reverse: GOD. WITH. VS, shields of England and Ireland in center, V and date above.
    43 mm, 10 h.
    29.8 grams

    Bull 6

    D-Camera Commonwealth crown 1653, Coinex 1986,, 29.8 g,, 11-22 -20.jpg

    The second coin is considered a pattern or medallic issue by some numismatists, though there are examples that show circulation wear, so I think the intent of the mint was to produce these coins for general use.

    This is the Cromwell crown, dated 1658, with dies produced by Thomas Simon. This particular coin is the overdate variety, 1658/7.

    On the obverse there is a pronounced die break that runs across the bottom of Cromwell's portrait. This die break appears in other examples, sometimes even more severe, indicating that the obverse die was used beyond its life expectancy. 1658 was the year that Cromwell die, so perhaps the mint decided not to make any additional dies; certainly the returning Stuarts would see to it that they were all destroyed.

    This coin's legends have reverted to Latin, abandoning the English of the Commonwealth coinage.

    This coin measures round 38.5 mm, and weighs 30.1 grams

    KM-D207, S-3226, ESC-10

    D-Camera Oliver Cromwell, crown 1658 over 7, Glenn Shincke,, 30.1 g, S-2945A, 11-22 -20.jpg

    Please post your Commonwealth coinage, or any other coinage of the period.

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2020
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  3. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    Nice coins! I love this part of English history.

    I've posted mine a couple of times already, and written about some of them https://www.cointalk.com/threads/the-stuarts-remember-the-5th-of-november.369495/, but no harm in doing so again :angelic:

    This is a shilling rather than a crown, but still a sizable coin with a very similar 'puritan' design:

    Commonwealth silver shilling, 1651. 32mm, 5.8g. THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND. Value XII, GOD WITH VS (S 3217).

    I believe Commonwealth coinage wasn't only the first to have entirely English legends - it was the last.

    This is a Charles I siege ninepence, struck during the Civil War:

    Charles I, Ninepence, Newark, 1645. C R (Charles Rex). Obs (obsidium, Latin for siege) (S 3144).

    I also believe this token is from the period - the turmoil at the time (and the lack of small change) often led businesses to take coinage into their own hands:

    Lead farthing token, 1650-1652. 14.65mm, 1.73g. CHRISTOPHER.FLOWER around fleur-de-lis. Shield containing Draper's Arms (M Dickinson 62D)
    . Christopher Flower was a London draper.
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  4. The Eidolon

    The Eidolon Well-Known Member

    Here's my only Cromwell Era coin:
    1/2 Crown, 1653
    The two sides are greatly off-angled from each other.
    Cromwell half crown 1653 copy.jpeg
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  5. jgenn

    jgenn World Crown Collector

    I once found a paper that refuted the idea that the 1658 is an overdate but can't for the life of me find it again. There apparently was only one die used and it's in the Royal Mint Museum. The die crack occurred early in the issue as many examples show this feature.

  6. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    Nothing I can contribute with but admiring those two gems : congrats and thank you for sharing

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  7. jgenn

    jgenn World Crown Collector

    Although I could not find the paper I mentioned that refuted that the appearance of the 8 as an overdate I did find a few other interesting papers that indicate that there is only the one issue of 1658, possibly with a recut die. Also the die crack apparently occurred so early in the issue that no examples are known without it.

    https://www.britnumsoc.org/publications/Digital BNJ/pdfs/1942_BNJ_24_23.pdf
    http://www.britnumsoc.org/publications/Digital BNJ/pdfs/1966_BNJ_35_17.pdf
    https://www.britnumsoc.org/publications/Digital BNJ/pdfs/1976_BNJ_46_9.pdf
  8. robp

    robp Well-Known Member

    Commonwealth halfpenny, the last hammered halfpenny issued. ex Marshall 150, Spink 31/3/2004. Came with the distinctive Marshall ticket, which in this case is 5x the diameter of the coin!
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  9. robp

    robp Well-Known Member

    And my representative example of a Cromwell coin - a shilling.
    Owen F Parsons 939, Baldwin’s 12, 27/5/1997, from A H Baldwin Oct. 1947 (£3/10/-)
    Andrew Wayne Collection 1204, London Coins 4/6/06
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  10. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter


    If you look closely at the enlarged view of the reverse, you'll see what looks pretty much like the top of a seven under the eight.

    I don't know what else it could be. Perhaps a defect in the punch used for the eight?
  11. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    A nice example!
  12. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you.
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