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BM01763

Elizabeth I, Four Testerns, trade coinage for Far East dating back to 1600

Elizabeth I (1558-1603), silver Four Testerns, trade coinage "Portcullis Money", crowned quartered shield of arms, crowned E to left, crowned R to right, beaded circles and legend surrounding, initial mark O, O:ELIZABETH. D:G: ANG: FRA: ET. HIB; REGINA. rev. inverted die axis, crowned portcullis with chains, beaded circles and legend surrounding, initial mark O, O:POSVI. DEVM. ADIVTOREM. MEVM. 13.35g (Pridmore 2; S.2607B). Evenly toned and well struck, scratches at base of portcullis, otherwise very fine and rare.

The four denominations of Eight, Four, Two and One silver Testern were an attempt at producing a trade coinage sponsored by the newly formed East India Company to be used in overseas trade principally in the Far East. However the competition against the Spanish Eight Reales and its fractions was too much at this time and ultimately the coinage did not succeed rendering the surviving coins a rarity. The surviving coins probably all being coins retained in London as souvenirs at the time.

The abbreviated Latin legends translate as on the obverse "Elizabeth by the Grace of God, Queen of England France and Ireland; and on the reverse "I have made God my Helper" a Psalm from the Bible.

Provenance:

Ex Clarendon Collection, part 2, Bonhams, 17th October 2006.

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