Charles II 1671 Shilling Plumes both sides

Charles II 1671 Shilling Plumes both sides

Charles II (1660-85), silver Shilling, 1671, plumes below second laureate and draped bust right, legend and toothed border surrounding, CAROLVS . II. DEI. GRATIA, rev. crowned cruciform shields, interlinked pairs of Cs in angles, plumes at centre, date either side of top crown, .MAG. BR.FRA. ET.HIB REX. weight 5.93g (Bull 520 R2; ESC 1035 R2; S.3376). Toned with some tiny flecks, with a hint of underlying brilliance, a bold very fine for this first year of this very rare issue.

The Latin legends translate as on the obverse "Charles the Second, by the grace of God" and on the reverse, "King of Great Britain, France and Ireland".

The Shillings produced with the plumes mark both sides signify silver sourced from the Welsh mines in the county of Cardiganshire. Such mines had been worked from the time of James I, originally by Sir Hugh Myddleton and later by Thomas Bushell, however mining activity was irregular at intervals, as the area was susceptible to regular flooding of the adits that Bushell had constructed. By the time of the Commonwealth only one adit was in regular operation at Talybont and continued to be just about serviceable by the time of the Charles II milled plumes coinage. The Society of the Mines Royal formed a subsidiary from joint stock raised totalling £4,200 in £100 allotments as the "Undertaking for the Working of Mines Royal in the Counties of Cardiganshire and Merioneth" and from 1671-78, a seven year period the area around Talybont was worked, producing relatively small quantities of silver. From George Boon's 1993 article in the British Numismatic Journal from which this information is taken, we can see that only some 290 pounds troy of fine silver was successively mined and presented at the mint by the Treasurer for the Mines Royal Mr Henry Kemp in this time of activity, which would amount to some £900 of face value only. In addition to the silver mined there was a large quantity of lead, potter's ore, and lithage that could be sold to the glass industry. All in all the whole activity over the eight years would have grossed some £4,500 of income, however all the expenses of development, wages, smelting, refining and transportation had to come off and the company found itself in severe difficulties by 1678. The company therefore leased rights to individual miners and it seems Anthony Shepheard took on the activity from 1679 to 1685. From surviving Mint records it can be gleaned that only some 36 pounds 2 oz. of silver was used for the coinage of the shillings dated 1671. This would mean a mintage in this initial year of a maximum of 2,731 shillings, meaning surviving coins today are likely very rare indeed.



Purchased from A H Baldwin and Sons Ltd, Winter 2007.


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