Silver pattern crown of Charles II, by Thomas Simon (about 1623-65)

London, England, AD 1663

A 'Contest of Art' for the right to make coinage

Thomas Simon was the most prominent medallist and seal engraver of the Commonwealth (1649-60) and was chief engraver at the Mint at this time. After the Restoration of Charles II, he lost his post of chief engraver to Thomas Rawlins, Charles I's old engraver, though he continued to do much of the work at the Mint. He produced the 'Petition Crown' for the 'contest of art' with the Roettier brothers to decide who would produce dies for the new machine-made coinage of 1662. The Roettiers won the contest, probably not due to political reasons, and certainly not to artistic superiority, but because Simon had difficulty producing dies robust enough for the mechanized press. He continued work at the mint as engraver of the king's seals.

The edge of this pattern crown carries the 'Petition' of its name: 'THOMAS SIMON MOST HUMBLY PRAYS YOUR MAJESTY TO COMPARE THIS HIS TRYALL PIECE WITH THE DUTCH AND IF MORE TRULY DRAWN & EMBOSSED, MORE GRACE FULLY ORDER'D, AND MORE ACCVRATELY ENGRAVEN, TO RELEIVE HIM'.

The marking of the edges of coins as a guard against clipping was only now being adopted in England. Simon's skill in this difficult area is evident.

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More information

Bibliography

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

G. Vertue, Medals, coins, great seals and (London, Geo. Virtue, 1753)

Dimensions

Diameter: 40.000 mm
Weight: 29.930 g

Museum number

CM Grueber 726

CMB33460

Location

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