FAQ's

What makes a coin valuable?

Plus Icon

I have coins to sell, what’s the next step?

Plus Icon

How will my purchases be shipped?

Plus Icon

What happens if I’m not entirely happy with my purchase?

Plus Icon
FM20112

Commonwealth pattern 1651 Sixpence by David Ramage, extremely rare

Commonwealth (1649-60), pattern silver Sixpence, 1651, engraved by David Ramage (died 1661), made in direct competition to the milled work by Frenchman Pierre Blondeau, English shield with cross of St George within beaded inner border, legends surrounding with toothed outer border, rendered in English language with mullet stops, * TRVTH * AND * PEACE,rev. Irish arms with eight strings to harp within beaded border, legend with toothed outer border surrounding, rendered in English language with mullet stops, * TRVTH * AND * PEACE,edge inscription in raised letters and dated, * TRVTH * AND * PEACE * 1651, weight 8.21g (N.2735; Bull 219 R5; ESC 1499 R5).Attractive dark tone with brighter highlights to raised portions, dig in obverse legend and a few other light surface marks both sides, very fine, if not a little stronger in parts, extremely rare, no more than five in private hands.

These wonderful pattern pieces were presented by David Ramage representing the hammered coin workers at the mint as the best example of their work in a competition that took place in 1651. The French engraver Pierre Blondeau arrived in England in September 1649 and had invented machinery that incorporated an edge marking device to be seen as useful in the mass production of coinage. Blondeau kept his method secret whilst publishing his proposals to Parliament in June 1650. The Mint committee showed favour but the Mint itself under the Master-Worker Anton Guerdain and the powerful Corporation of Monyers headed by David Ramage fought back, eventually leading to a competition in 1651, details of which can be ready in the "New History of the Royal Mint" by Christopher Challis. It seems only a dozen pieces were submitted by Ramage of which this could well be one of them, against the 300 edge marked specimens by Blondeau. However, while the Commonwealth lasted he stood no chance of employment in the Mint, as at that time 1650-early 1651, production was low with subsequent low income and the outlay of capital required to mechanise the mint was too high. Blondeau did not get a second chance until 1656 once fortunes turned favourable at the mint due to influx of captured treasure, eventually resulting in the Oliver Cromwell portrait coinage.

Provenance:

Ex Dr Ernest Christison Carter, collection purchased by A. H. Baldwin, 1950.

Ex Spink Coin auction 6, 11th October 1979, lot 667.

Ex St James Auction 10, 6th November 2008, lot 490.

Ex A. H. Baldwin, Fixed Price List, Winter 2009, item BH066.

Spink Auction 6 gives a longer provenance chain back to the Tyssen sale in the early 19th Century including an appearance in the Hyman Montagu sale part III in 1896 lot 711, which is the only time this coin was illustrated in the auction provenance chain before Spink auction 6. The photograph in the Montagu sale however is of a different example though seemingly of the exact same weight. The Montagu example photograph shows a different aspect of wear to the border and no damage in the obverse legend. In fact, the Montague coin has appeared for sale in Spink Coin Auction 55, lot 91 where it had no further provenance given.

The interesting thing about these patterns is that Victorian Numismatist J. B. Bergne wrote an article showing the whereabouts of all the known Ramage patterns in his article "Coin Pedigrees" in the Numismatic Chronicle Volume XVII in 1854, which gives a wonderful snapshot of the known examples as of that year.

He quotes that no more than a dozen of each denomination were struck and for this Sixpence he only recorded eight known examples, one of which is the gold example at the British Museum, along with two silver ones also in that collection. This leaves a mere five extant that were recorded in 1854 and this coin by some deduction could well be Bergne example number 7 which was owned by William Brice at the time and had previously been in the collection of the Earl Pomfret which passed to Miss Hicks and then sold to Brice via the dealer Cureton.

FAQ's

What makes a coin valuable?

Plus Icon

I have coins to sell, what’s the next step?

Plus Icon

How will my purchases be shipped?

Plus Icon

What happens if I’m not entirely happy with my purchase?

Plus Icon