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DM09563

Charles I Shilling Aberystwyth Mint, utilising the halfcrown reverse die, very rare

Charles I (1625-49), silver Shilling, Aberystwyth Mint (1638-42), crowned bust left, small XII mark of value behind head, plumes in front field, legend surrounding and outer beaded circle surrounding, initial mark book, .CAROLVS. D; G; MAG; BR; FR; ET HI; REX., rev. struck from the Halfcrown die, oval framed quartered shield of arms, plumes above, initial mark book at end of legend, .CHRISTO. AVSPICE. REGNO., weight 5.54g (Brooker 750 obverse / Bull 1a.3 halfcrown reverse; N.2329; S.2882). Toned, weakly struck on obverse, otherwise good fine, reverse stronger and very rare indeed with the halfcrown reverse die.

The abbreviated legends translates on obverse as "Charles, by the grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland," and on the reverse "I reign under the auspice of Christ."

This coin uses the same reverse die as the Halfcrown variety defined by Maurice Bull as 1a.3. This is distinctive in the fact that the bottom centre of the shield lines up with the upright of P in the legend and there is also a small raised dot just below the inner circle below that P. Therefore the Halfcrown die was mated with the Shilling obverse to produce this piece. The Shillings in Brooker do not have reverses that match any of the Halfcrown reverses defined by Bull even those with inner circles, therefore we conclude this instance of the Halfcrown reverse is very rare indeed with scant few survivors.

Dr Graham Birch recently called the silver mines "Britain's forgotten industry" in his new book published by Spink and available from Sovereign Rarities "The Metal in Britain's Coins" which we recommend for further reading of Chapter 11 about the coinage produced by Sir Hugh Myddelton and Thomas Bushell at the Aberystwyth Mint. The mint at Aberystwyth had its beginnings in July 1637 when Bushell had the idea of coining at the source rather than sending the mined silver for coining to London and petitioned that it would stimulate the Welsh mining industry with predictions of increased output if the adits to drain water from the mines reached their capacity, and which could lead to other mines in England being used for coining in a similar fashion. The Mint in London was against the idea, but King Charles asked for Bushell to visit and was persuaded by his charm to back him. The agreement to set up a mint in Aberystwyth Castle with the Crown taking a 10% share with overall supervision from the Warden of the Mint Sir William Parkhurst. Coins were struck at 0.925 fineness at £3/2/- a pound with Welsh plumes with Halfcrown, Shilling, Sixpence, Half-Groat and Penny. In February 1638 patterns were also approved to forward minting of Groats, Threepences and Halfpennies and all carry the open book mint mark.

Provenance:

Ex B. A. Seaby Ltd, purchased 1st December 1982.

Ex Dr John Hulett Collection, part XII, Dix Noonan and Webb, Auction 160, 5th June 2019, lot 391 the variety not noted by the cataloguers, though Hulett's ticket mentions the variety.

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