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Silver pattern crown (5 shillings) of Oliver Cromwell


Diameter: 38.000 mm
Weight: 30.070 g

CM E3448

Room 46: Europe 1400-1800

    Silver pattern crown (5 shillings) of Oliver Cromwell

    London, England, AD 1658

    The Lord Protector 'crowned'

    A new coinage was issued during the English Commonwealth, with inscriptions in English and the shield of St George as the main design. There was also an attempt within the Commonwealth mint to re-introduce mechanization to coin production. Between 1656 and 1658 Pierre Blondeau used dies engraved by Thomas Simon, chief engraver of the mint, to strike experimental coins showing the portrait of Oliver Cromwell as Lord Protector. They had old-style Latin legends, as here, where the reverse inscription translates 'Peace is sought through war', reflecting the militant pride of Cromwell's army. The coins were of high quality, but the project was ended by Cromwell's death in 1658. The coins do not seem to have been issued for circulation, but did become popular collectors' items after the Restoration.

    Puncheons made by Simon were later used in the Netherlands to make a set of false dies, which were acquired by the Royal Mint in 1700, in the belief that they were original dies. In the 1730s these were used to make restrikes, along with a new crown die, also made from the original puncheons.

    H.W.A. Linecar and A.G. Stone, English proof and pattern crow (London, Spink, 1968)

    M. Lessen, 'A summary of the Cromwell coinage', British Numismatic Journal-7, 35 (1966), pp. 163-72


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