Halfcrown of Charles I

Pictured here is a halfcrown of Charles I, which was found by a detectorist signing himself as Tommy. Most of the coins of Charles I that are unearthed by detectorists are low denominations but over the years I have seen a number of halfcrowns.

At first sight this is a straightforward find but Tommy noticed something that makes it very unusual: it has mint mark (P) on the obverse and sun on the reverse. He said he couldn’t trace anything like it.

This coin was struck at the mint in the Tower of London during the period that war raged between supporters of Parliament and those fighting for Charles I. Parliament needed a great deal of cash to pay its troops and its only mint was the one in the Tower. Therefore, the quantity of cash was more important than its quality. This explains why some of the coins produced during the 1640s are so badly struck.

Many of the coins might look awful but there was a strict control over some things. For example, due to the urgent need for ready cash it could be expected that muling of mint marks would be fairly common. However, this wasn’t the case and mules are in fact of considerable rarity. Over the years I’ve seen the occasional example but they are very few and far between.

The reverse on Tommy’s find is double struck and so is the obverse but not as noticeably as the reverse. The mint marks, (P) on the obverse and sun on the reverse, stand out well on both sides. In terms of its general style the coin looks like a genuine issue.

There is one anomaly. mint mark (P) dates from 1643-44 and sun from 1645-46; between the two is (R) (1644-45) and eye (1645). Therefore, if (P) was muled with another mark then (R) or eye would be more likely.

This is a very interesting find but the coin itself would need to be checked out thoroughly before it could be said to be genuine. It looks okay but contemporary forgeries are known that are very close copies of official issues.

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