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JM33048

Charles I 1644 Triple Unite Oxford Mint, initial mark Shrewsbury Plumes, OXON

Regular price £49,500
Regular price Sale price £49,500

Charles I (1625-49), gold Triple Unite of three pounds, 1644, crowned armoured half-length figure of King left, holding upright sword and palm branch, Oxford plumes with bands in field behind, Latin legend and beaded borders surrounding, initial mark Shrewsbury style plumes, CAROLVS. D: G: MAG: BRI: FRA: ET: HIBER: REX. rev. abbreviated Latin Declaration inscription on continuous three line scroll at centre, RELIG: PROT /:LEG: ANG: / LIBER PAR:, date and OXON. in two lines below, three Shrewsbury style plumes over III value in field above, Latin legend commences upper left within scroll and toothed border surrounding, terminal mark five pellets, EXVRGAT. DEVS. DISSIPENTVR. INIMICI:.: weight 27.13g (Beresford-Jones dies VII / S11; Schneider 303; N.2385; Brooker 841; S.2729). Struck on a full broad flan with some raised die striations evident as usual for this issue, good portrait detail on the King, just a hint of weakness on some high points, nick on nose, hairline raised die flaws on reverse, small area of scratches below left reverse plume, a little weak in parts of Declaration and date below, otherwise practically extremely fine with a good provenance once being part of the Herman Selig Collection, very rare this well preserved.

The abbreviated obverse legend translates as "Charles, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland. The abbreviated reverse Declaration translates as "The religion of the Protestants, the Laws of England, the Liberty of Parliament". The outer reverse legend translates as "Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered"

The gold Triple Unite represents the largest hammered gold denomination ever produced in the English series of coinage at a face value of Three Pounds. 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. When the Triple Unite was introduced as currency it was more than double the value of any previous English 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. Charles I 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 as currency is featured in the edition produced around the 18th February 1642/3, and features a woodcut illustration of the new denomination (dies 1/S1 combination). 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, as there are only three reverse types known of 1644, of which this coin is an example.

These magnificent gold coins were struck for only three dates, 1642, 1643 and 1644 with some variation as there are 24 different varieties of obverse and reverse across these three dates, plus an extremely rare 1642 piece struck in Shrewsbury.

Today it is estimated from the 25 different die combinations across three dates that are known that a total surviving population equates to circa 250 pieces.

Provenance:
Ex Spink and Son Ltd, purchased 1976.
Ex Herman Selig, part one, Spink Coin Auction 70, 15th May 1989, lot 141.
Ex Mark Rasmussen, Numismatist, 2006, List 11, item 71.

Ex Sovereign Rarities Auction 1, 25th September 2018, lot 50.

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