English Civil War Siege Money - a Newark Ninepence

Discussion in 'World Coins' started by John Conduitt, Sep 11, 2020.

  1. John Conduitt

    John Conduitt Well-Known Member

    I’ve been after one of these for quite some time, both for its historical significance and its unusual denomination. But whenever I go for one the price (which is always too high already) skips away out of my reach. This time I didn’t expect things to be any different, so I put in a bid just under the estimate (which was indeed high) and forgot about it. Until I got the invoice. So now I have to rearrange my finances as well as my coin collection (albeit happily).

    The coin is a Newark Ninepence, minted in Newark-on-Trent in 1645 during one of three sieges of the town during the First English Civil War. Newark was a staunch Royalist town – Charles I started the Civil War when he raised his standard in nearby Nottingham on 22 August 1642 (my son’s birthday less 368 years). Newark was situated on important roads and their army had a habit of raiding nearby Roundhead towns. Inevitably it was besieged, first in 1643, then in 1644. The last (and longest) siege began in November 1645. Despite facing plague and having to eat dogs and horses, they only surrendered in May 1646 when ordered to by Charles, who’d surrendered himself 8 miles away at Southwell.

    Charles I, Ninepence, 1645, Newark (S 3144). This is the later 1645 issue with Newark(e) spelt without a final ‘e’. Although dated 1645, it was minted in what we would call 1646, since this was before Britain changed to the Gregorian calendar (in 1752). The coins dated 1645 were minted in January-March 1645 (i.e. the end of 1645, which we would now call early 1646), and those minted after 25 March were dated 1646.

    While besieged, Newark needed money to pay the soldiers and to keep the economy going, and so minted their own coins: ninepences, shillings (12 pence) and halfcrowns (30 pence). They later added sixpences. These were all lozenge-shaped, hand cut from silverware donated by Royalist noblemen (or stolen from Leicester). Sometimes coins have traces of the cup from which they were made (or even hallmarks) or are gilt because the metal used was gilt. Some even feature the Royal arms, perhaps because the king himself donated them.

    The design is crude, as would be expected from a hastily-founded temporary mint. The obverse is a Royal crown between C R (Charles Rex) with the value below in Roman numerals. The reverse has the year and OBS Newark(e), where OBS stands for obsidium, the Latin for siege (rather than obsidian, the igneous rock).

    As expensive as these coins are, Newark was the most prolific Royalist mint. Siege coins from such places as Scarborough or Carlisle are in a different league. The Parliamentarians were also busy minting coins (from the Tower mint amongst others) but also did so in the name of Charles I, since at that point all they wanted was reform.

    Antiques Trade Gazette https://www.antiquestradegazette.co...-of-english-civil-war-siege-coins-at-auction/
    Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_money_(Newark)

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  3. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    That's a beautiful coin. I'll post my Ormonde crown tomorrow.

    While not a siege coin, more of a necessity coin, I guess, it is an important coin of the English Civil War.
    John Conduitt and hotwheelsearl like this.
  4. robinjojo

    robinjojo Supporter! Supporter

    Here's my Ormonde crown.

    The Ormonde coinage, was issued between 1643 and 1644 by James Butler, Earl of Ormonde, to pay troops loyal to Charles I during the English Civil. As necessity coins, they were struck from silver plate, with a few examples still exhibiting some patterns of the original plate.

    These were crude issues, with only the elements included needed to identify denomination, crown and the C*R monogram.

    This coin was acquired from World-Wide Coins of California, in the June 1991 auction, lot 192.

    As a typical Ormonde coin, there are areas of flatness. Clearly the priority while producing these coins was speed and quantity, at the price of quality. In many ways these coins share the characteristics of hammer struck coinage of the time, not only for English coinage, but for Spanish coinage as well.

    Ireland, (1643)
    Charles I
    Ormonde Crown, issued by James Butler, Earl of Ormonde
    Obverse: Large Crown, C*R monogram below.
    Reverse: (S) with a large roman numeral V below.
    About VF, with areas of flatness
    29.2 grams
    42 mm, 3:30 h.

    D-Camera Ireland, Ormande Crown, Charles I, D-3792, World-Wide 6-91, 29.2 g. 9-14-20.jpg

    For more information about this coinage, here is an excellent link:

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
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