Charles I 1625-1649AD Gold Unite Provincial Issues Oxford 1644AD


Code: FM751

Charles I 1625-1649AD Gold Unite Provincial Issue, struck at Oxford castle 1644AD, during the English Civil War.

S2735, mintmark Plume, 33mm, 8.29g

Such coins were produced at a time of duress, when the King had moved his Capital from London after the Battle of Edgehill, to the Royalist Universities of the City of Oxford, where he made a state entrance on 29th October 1642. The King lived at Christ Church, with the Queen installed at Merton; the Royalist Parliament met in the Upper Schools and Great Convocation House; the Privy Council at Oriel; and the Mint worked at New Inn Hall from the 3rd January 1642/3. These magnificent gold coins were struck for only three dates, 1642, 1643 and 1644 with some die variation. When the Oxford Unite was introduced to currency it would have been seen as a magnificent piece of propaganda against the Puritan cause, to show that though the King had moved from London, Oxford was a rich alternative City. Perhaps the King was inspired by similar, extremely rare Scottish coins produced some 70 years earlier by his Father, King James VI of Scotland in 1575-6. The King had introduced the first regular newspaper printed in Oxford the “Mercurius Aulicus” from the 1st January 1642/3 (1642 old calendar style), and the introduction of the new provincial series as currency is featured in the edition produced around the 18th February 1642/3, and features a woodcut illustration of one of the new denominations (Triple Unite). This is thought to be the first ever illustration of a current coin of the realm in contemporary print. As the new year in the old calendar style commenced on the 25th March this means all the 1642 dated coins were produced in only a very limited time from mid-February to probably April at latest when 1643 dated pieces were no doubt produced. It seems the issue of this series ceased with the great fire of Oxford as reported in the same newspaper of 6th October 1644. The abbreviated obverse legend translates as “Charles, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland. The abbreviated reverse Declaration translates as “The religion of the Protestants, the Laws of England, the Liberty of Parliament”. The outer reverse legend translates as “Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered” An extraordinary piece of English history rarely available to private commerce and a pleasure to own.

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