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Shilling of Charles I

This is the first find from a small group that came in from John Wells. It’s a shilling of Charles I. I’ve seen a few similar coins as detecting finds but this one is rather special.

On the obverse is a finely executed bust of King Charles and most of the stops in the legend are lozenges. On the reverse is a shield of arms and this side, too, has lozenge stops in the legend. On both sides the mint mark is an anchor.

Mint mark anchor was used on some fairly common shillings of Charles I but this isn’t one of them. Nicholas Briot, the famous French engraver, cut the dies for a series of coins that were made by machinery. They were far superior to those struck by hand at the Tower Mint in London. However, he also made the dies for some shillings that were made by the traditional method of striking by hand. See numbers 2861 to 2862C in the Standard Catalogue.

The coin featured here is a product of Briot’s second hammered issue. It is fairly obvious that it was struck by hand but it is equally obvious that the dies are of a higher quality than normal for the Tower Mint. The reference number in the Standard Catalogue is 2861A.


The obverse would grade VF+, the reverse VF. A minus point is the slightly irregular edge. This is a very rare coin, which to a specialist in the reign of Charles I shouldn’t be worth any less than £1,000.

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