Tuesday 17th July was a busy day in Parliament. Along with the previously noted Act defining the denominations, weights, and designs of the new Commonwealth coinage, an act was also passed declaring what offences shall be adjudged treason.This act is just five pages long, but the last page and a half refer to all aspects of the circulating gold and silver coinage. A brief summary is given along with a reproduction of the whole act.
This short note presents the background to the coinage trials held at Whitehall on 8 May 1651 and the details of the grained edges that were specified as part of the trials. The sequence of events can be found in the book; “The Answer of the Corporation of Moniers in the Mint“, published in 1653, which is a compilation of several documents, letters and pamphlets. These trials heralded the introduction of grained and lettered edges to the silver and gold coins to ward against counterfeiting and clipping. The grained edges of the trial pieces produced by David Ramage and Peter Blondeau are looked at in detail, along with the grained edges that can be found on later ‘milled’ coins. Features of the grained edges confirm that the Blondeau patterns and later pieces were edged using a Castaing type machine, the design and operation of which is described.
This short note reproduces an original copy of the Act of Parliament that ushered in the coins of the Commonwealth, specifying the denominations, metal content and weights of the new coins along with the designs and, for the first time, English legends.
This short note presents some counterfeits of the shillings issued during the Commonwealth. A brief summary of the official coinage is followed by images and analysis of 44 counterfeit shillings from two accumulations – the Baldwin black museum and the author’s collection. Though a relatively small sample, that there are very few die duplicates between and within the two collections suggests there are many more yet to be found. However, considering the present-day scarcity of the official issues, counterfeit shillings with the anchor initial mark make up 25% of the specimens. This may be attributed to the short period around the beginning of the reign of Charles II where there is a documented increase in counterfeiting activity attributed to the uncertainty of the future acceptability of the Commonwealth coins. XRF analysis of one group reveals that one piece is likely a genuine coin (but very damaged) and another is a 20th century fabrication as the alloy contains Hafnium, a metal
A brief look at a “double overdate” on a Commonwealth shilling.