Charles I Silver Pound 1625-1649AD Oxford 1642AD English Civil War


Code: RM337

Charles I Silver Pound 1625-1649AD Oxford 1642AD, English Civil War, Provincial coinage.

51mm, 120grams, S2939, broad flan, dark tone.

Declaration type. Oxford mint, plume with bands. Dated 1642. CAROLVS : D : G : MAGNI : BRITANI : FRAN : ET : HIB : REX :, Charles, holding reins with left hand and sword in right, on horseback left, trampling arms below; plume to right / EXVRGAT : DEVS : DISSIPENTVR : INIMICI .:.:. around edge, RELIG : PROT : LEG/ANG : LIBER : PAR in two lines between parallel lines; three Oxford plumes and XX (mark of value) above, 1642 below.

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 coins were struck for only three dates, 1642, 1643 and 1644 with some variation. When the Silver Pound was introduced as currency it was more than double the value of any previous English silver coin produced, and 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 large 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 Triple Unite (the largest gold denomination of this series) as currency is featured in the edition produced around the 18th February 1642/3, and features a woodcut illustration of the new denomination. 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 great coin ceased with the great fire of Oxford as reported in the same newspaper of 6th October 1644. An extraordinary piece of English history rarely available to private commerce and a pleasure to own. The Latin legends translate as on the obverse “Charles, by the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland.” On the reverse the outer legend translates as “Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered.” A Psalm from the Bible (Psalm 68.1). The motto across the centre translates as “The religion of the Protestants, the laws of England, the liberty of Parliament.”

An imposing piece, these are the largest silver coins ever produced for currency in Britain.

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