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Dix Noonan Webb
Auction 195  22 Sep 2021
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Lot 215

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Estimate: 600 GBP
Price realized: 950 GBP

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The Michael Gietzelt Collection of British and Irish Coins (1625-1660)

Commonwealth (1649-1660), Farthing [1654], in pewter, issued by Tobias Knowles, tk within wreath of roses above shield bearing cross moline, rev. shield bearing Irish harp, sun with rays over and around, 6.64g/6h (Whittell, TCSB March 2015, fig. 2; Cooke 816; BMC 373; cf. DNW 136, 612). Some surface corrosion, fair to fine, very rare £600-£800


Provenance: Dorotheum Auktion 509 (Vienna), 18 May 2009, lot 2457.

Tobias Knowles (1601-68), originally from Kingston-upon-Thames, pewterer, served in the army, first for Charles I and then on the Parliamentary side during the Civil War, rising to the rank of captain. With the advent of Commonwealth rule, Knowles petitioned Parliament to be allowed to make farthings for the state and in so doing recover the £5,468 he reckoned it had cost him to support the Parliamentary cause in the War. Initially his efforts came to nothing, probably because David Ramage and his cohort of moneyers in the Tower were already running a very profitable enterprise manufacturing tokens for private merchants. Undaunted, Knowles presented a second petition to 'his Highnesse the Lord Protector' in March 1653/4 and then took it upon himself to produce farthings containing a quarter of an ounce of fine pewter. These entered circulation on 26 April 1654, but no authority had been given for their issue and they were prohibited by order of the Council of State through an announcement in the issue of Mercurius Publicus for 4-11 May 1654. Knowles is known to have been associated with the band of token manufacturers active during the decline of the Protectorate and the early years of Charles II's reign and it has been demonstrated by Christopher Whittell that Knowles had a hand in producing the coinage for Lord Baltimore, governor of Maryland, in 1660
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