Featured An Oxford half pound, Charles I, 1643

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by robinjojo, Nov 21, 2020.

  1. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    This is a coin that I obtained from World-wide Coins of California back in the late 1980's. Normally, I do not concentrate on British coinage, but this coin has proven to be a well worthwhile type acquisition for the period of the English Civil War (1642–1651). The war had three phases: 1642-1646, 1648-1649 and 1649-1651.

    Massive and impressive, the silver half pound of 10 shillings, and the even more massive pound were produced in Oxford by Charles I, following the inconclusive battle of Edgehill on October 23, 1642, when Charles I and his queen, Henrietta moved to Oxford from London to establish their capital.


    The half pound was produced in 1642 and 1643. This coin, dated 1643, was hammer struck, as were the coins produced for Charles I at Oxford and other mints during the conflict. As a hammer struck coin, this example has good detail, but not the best artistry, especially with the profile of Charles. Still, considering the size of the coin and the skill and strength to produce it, it is still quite exceptional.

    The obverse of this coin depicts the king, on horseback, trampling arms, an obvious alluding to victory in battle and the prevailing of the Cavaliers or Royalists, was something of an illusion, as the civil war culminated with the trial and execution of Charles I in 1649, and the establishment of the Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell in 1651.

    The obverse legend reads CAROLVS: D: G: MAGN: BRIT: FRAN: ET: HIB: REX (Charles, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland).

    The reverse has a declaration design. The inner, horizontal legend reads: RELIG: PROT: LEG / ANG: LIBER: PAR (The religion of the Protestants, the Laws of England, the Liberty of Parliament). The outer legend reads: EXVRGAT: DEVS: DISSIPENTVR: INIMICI (Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered).

    45 mm, 11 h.
    60.2 grams


    D-Camera Charles I, Oxford half pound, 1643, World-wide, 60.2 g, S-2945A, 11-21 -20.jpg

    Please post your coins of the English Civil War, a period, while tragic, is steeped in a rich variety of coinage.

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2020
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  3. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    What a lovely example of an iconic type. A nice strike, round flan, and lovely cabinet toning.

    I’ll bet that even back in the 1980s that was not an inexpensive piece.
  4. robp

    robp Well-Known Member

    That's a really nice example - way better than you usually see.
  5. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Unwell Unknown Unmembered Supporter

    Imagine the effort to hand strike such a huge piece. I own some crown sized coins from the 16th century and they are only half the weight of that piece. Obviously the effort was tremendous so that similarly sized coins were not struck in Britain again until the 1797 pennies and tuppences struck by Matthew Boulton's steam presses.
  6. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you. Yes, the price was around $3,000 at auction.

    The nice thing about the auctions of Jim Elmen is that there isn't a buyer's fee, which really helped me, since at that time I was working at a non-profit, not really earning much, so I had to break the bank and also sell some coins to raise the cash needed for the half pound. I'm glad I did it, in retrospection.
  7. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you.

    Yes, many examples are worn, damaged, mishandled and/or tooled.
  8. robp

    robp Well-Known Member

    Right, this is your lucky day, as I've just added a bit of value. I knew it had to be somewhere.

    Third catalogue I looked at and it was illustrated. The coin is ex:
    Rev. Henry Christmas 618, Sotheby 1st Feb 1864,
    Arthur, Viscount Dillon 119, Sotheby 27th June 1892
    George Jonathan Bascom of NY 164, Sotheby 15th June 1914.

    I don't have the buyers named in my copy of the sale, but it sold for £4/5/-.

    I'm not going to plough through all the potential catalogues, but at least it adds a bit of history. Pics attached from the Bascom sale.
  9. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    Wow! Bravo!
    medoraman likes this.
  10. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    It’s not every day that one can point to a 106-year-old photograph of a coin in one’s collection!
  11. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    A very impressive provenance!
  12. robp

    robp Well-Known Member

    It's possible that it had wax deposits at some point which have been subsequently removed. On the illustrated reverse there are 2 lumps which don't appear on the coin. The first is that in the field level with the T and horse's chest, and the second is the obvious blockage in the reverse legend between G & A at 12 o'clock.

    Unfortunately the TPGs have been offering a service to clean away unsightly deposits such as wax which is effectively destroying historical evidence. I sent a yours miffed email to PCGS awhile ago when they were promoting it, but didn't hear back. I would implore people not to remove any wax as it will show up in old catalogues from 70-120+ years ago and so aid the establishment of provenance. Thank you.
    talerman and Stevearino like this.
  13. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    I wondered about the apparent bulge or protrusion seen at 6:00 on the rim at the bottom of the obverse photo in the original post, but curiously not in the corresponding reverse photo, nor in either of the 1914 photos?
  14. robp

    robp Well-Known Member

    The images are from wax impressions taken from the coins and then trimmed. You sometimes find slight irregularities at the edge - bits can be chopped off or a dig added to the impression which wasn't noticed. I saw the edge too, but the small mark on the rim by the I of HIB and one on the reverse at 9 o'clock plus the agreement of all the larger pits in the flan such as by the arms and behind the king add up to something that wasn't on the die, and the chance of two identically marked flans is essentially zero.

    From the OP it looks like the die axis is inverted, with the obverse bottom lump at 12 o'clock on the reverse.
    talerman and Pellinore like this.
  15. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & avid numismatist Moderator

    I noticed the mark in the field above IG in RELIG, which comes through in both sets of photographs. Definitely the same coin. I have little doubt of that.
  16. Al Kowsky

    Al Kowsky Supporter! Supporter

    robinjojo, Congrats on acquiring this sensational coin :jawdrop:! The quality of strike & condition of this coin should rank it as a great rarity :D.
    robinjojo likes this.
  17. robp

    robp Well-Known Member

    That bit you can't rely on because it is on the die. See below for one of many examples.
    lordmarcovan and robinjojo like this.
  18. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Thank you.

    I suppose it is. I really don't know the surviving population census, but it must be very low.
  19. talerman

    talerman Supporter! Supporter

    Here's a Pound

    Charles I Pound 1642 Shrewsbury mint 41 mm 119.50 g S.2918 North 2362 CC.C1PD-155. KM 237.2

    England Chas I Pound Shrewsbury 1642 LD obv 154.jpg England Chas I Pound Shrewsbury 1642 LD rev 158.jpg
    lordmarcovan, panzerman, Nap and 3 others like this.
  20. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

  21. robp

    robp Well-Known Member

    This is ok. Very difficult to get without marks. This coin somewhat optimistically graded EF! in the Lingford sale, but a reasonable VF in St. James's 12.

    They should be classed as an offensive weapon - you could certainly use them as grape shot. :)
    talerman and robinjojo like this.
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