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FM20304

Anne 1702 VIGO Shilling, the first issue of silver struck from captured treasure

Anne (1702-14), silver Shilling, 1702, VIGO. below first draped bust left, Latin legend and toothed border surrounding, ANNA. DEI. GRATIA., rev. crowned cruciform Pre-Union shields, garter star at centre, date either side of top crown, J type 1 and letter O type zero, Latin legend and toothed border surrounding, .MAG BR. FRA ET. HIB REG., weight 6.00g (Bull 1387; ESC 1130; S.3585). Toned, a pleasing very fine and an example of the earliest coin struck from the Vigo treasure.

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

The most intrepid of stories lays behind the capture of the Vigo treasure as opposed to the other companies or privateers who had their mark placed upon the coins in other reigns. The Battle of Vigo Bay occurred on 23rd October 1702 and it was after the Battle that the treasure largely of silver, with a tiny proportion of gold was captured and transported back to Southampton on the south coast of England. From there the treasure was brought with great pomp and ceremony to London, overseen by the Mint Master himself, one Mr Isaac Newton, to then be turned into coinage at the Royal Mint in the Tower of London. The treasure consisted of absolutely thousands of pounds in weight of silver, but a mere seven pounds and eight ounces of gold.A wonderful account of the whole story and subsequent striking of coinage is detailed in the new book "The Metal in Britain's Coins" by Graham Birch, Chapter 8, page 100.

We note the calendar year output of silver for 1702 is a mere £355 the smallest of the reign, followed immediately by £2,226 worth for 1703 which included VIGO silver, even more was struck into 1704 at £12,422 worth but all the other Vigo coins are dated 1703 including second bust Shillings. The 1702 VIGO Shilling is a one year only type along with the 1702 without VIGO and a rare issue of Welsh silver with plumes on reverse.

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