Sovereign Rarities Ltd
Auction 4  21 Sep 2021
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Lot 238

Starting price: 6400 GBP
Price realized: 10 000 GBP
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Charles II (1660-85), silver Crown, 1662, first laureate and draped bust right, rose below, legend and toothed border surrounding, CAROLVS . II. DEI. GRA., rev. inverted die axis, crowned cruciform shields, interlinked pairs of Cs in angles, garter star at centre, date either side of top crown, .MAG. BR.FRA. ET.HIB. REX., edge inscribed in raised letters widely spaced between grained borders, .DECVS. ET. TVTAMEN*, 30.06g (Bull 340; ESC 15A; S.3350). Faint adjustment marks, struck like a proof with gently reflective surfaces and a handsome grey-gold patina, some very light rub to highpoints, about extremely fine and highly appealing.

The Latin legends on this coin translate as "Charles the Second, by the grace of God" on the obverse, "King of Great Britain, France and Ireland" on the reverse, and finally on the edge "An ornament and a safeguard" a reference to the prevention of the edge being clipped or mutilated by the unscrupulous.

The new issue of machine made "milled" coins were introduced to the public in the latter part of the year 1662, with the production of these English silver Crowns, the first denomination issued proudly by this method. The smaller denominations of Halfcrown and Shilling would follow dated 1663 with the Sixpence not arriving till 1674, the Twopence in 1668 and other small silver from 1670. It is worth noting that the Crown is the only dated silver denomination of 1662, the first year of widespread milled coinage in England.

It seems there was good reason for the issue of the silver Crowns first as in the year 1662 King Charles II sold the town of Dunkirk back to the French for five million French Livres, the town having been captured by the Parliamentarian forces in 1658. This created a massive influx of silver into the Mint to convert to British silver, reportedly 1,500,000 silver Ecus transported in 300 chests from December 1662 until mid-1663 at a total weight of 108,636 pounds. Naturally, the biggest denomination in silver would be the most efficient way to work through the supply, hence the Crown being the coin of choice. There are two distinct varieties of silver Crown dated 1662 as well as a number of more minor variations, the main one being whether the coin carries a rose under the bust or not. It has often been conjectured that the rose indicates silver supplied from the west country of England, so perhaps the non-rose variety would mean silver from the Dunkirk sale.

The Roettier brothers from Holland had come to prominence as engravers during the exile of Charles II in the Parliamentarian period, and were held in such favour by Charles that he promised them positions in his Mint at the Restoration. This famously led to the competition in 1663 between the former Parliamentarian engraver, the highly regarded Thomas Simon and the brothers Roettier. However, the fact Simon had worked for Oliver Cromwell meant his position was doomed from the start leading to his famous "Petition Crown" to the King dated 1663, arguably the most magnificent piece of milled engraving work in the British coin series, to no avail. The Roettiers were in favour and Simon was relegated to working on the small silver only.

Proof pieces of pleasure would have been struck for very important people connected with the Mint, more importantly to give a preview of how the new coinage would look, and for its artistic merit to be appreciated as it was made by the new machine-made method.

Ex Capt. H.E.G. Paget, Glendining, 25-27th September 1946, lot 213, ' struck like a proof'
Ex H. M. Lingford, Part I, Glendining, 24-26th October 1950, lot 281, 'struck like a proof'
Ex Glenister Collection, Part II, Spink Coin Auction 14004, 26-27th March 2014, lot 1628

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