Charles I sixpence

When this coin turned up Lance Todd thought it was a fairly common sixpence of Charles I. However, when he looked at it more closely and then tried to pin it down he couldn’t find it anywhere.

On the obverse is a bust of Charles I with VI behind. The legend ends with HIBER REX and Lance thought the mint mark was an anchor with a tiny letter B. The reverse has a shield of arms on a cross with ends that do not pierce the inner circle.

Firstly this is a Charles I sixpence struck from dies made by Nicholas Briot, the famous French engraver who worked at the Tower of London and at the Scottish mint. The coin has characteristics that point towards it being struck during Briot’s second milled coinage. In the Standard Catalogue sixpences of this type are listed as number 2860.

At first sight the anchor mint mark on the obverse does appear to have a letter B (for Briot) below it. However, on close inspection the ‘B’ is made up of pellets rather than an upright and two curves. Only two mint marks are known for Briot’s second milled coinage: anchor and anchor and mullet. Many dies were used to strike sixpences; on some the mullet is clearly a mullet (a pierced star) but on other coins it looks more like a cinquefoil (a flower with five petals). Leading on from this, the mark on the coin found by Lance is far more likely to be anchor and mullet than anchor and B. However, after looking at dozens of examples I did not trace another Briot sixpence struck from this obverse die.

Valuation

Lance said his find is 24mm in diameter but sixpences are usually 25mm, so the coin could be slightly clipped. About half of each side is in Fine condition, the other half very weak. This is the first Briot sixpence I can remember seeing as a detecting find but specimens aren’t particularly scarce out of the ground. The condition of this example leaves a bit to be desired but it should still be worth around £60 to a keen collector.

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