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EM17570

Scotland, James III Penny class III, crux pellit regal issue of three pennies

Scotland,James III (1460-88),copper Crux Pellit regal issue, type III, "three-penny" Penny, rosette in centre of orb upward, beaded circles and legend surrounding, IACOBVS+ DEI+ GRA+ REX,rev.Latin cross in double tressure of four arcs, mullet on each lower cusp either side of cross, beaded circles and legend surrounding, +xCRVXx PELLITx OIx CRIIx, weight 1.98g (Holmes IIIL; S.5311).Toned with surface marks, otherwise very fine for issue and comparable in quality with plate coin in Standard Catalogue.

The Latin legends translate as "James by the grace of God King" and on the reverse "the Cross drives away all sin."

These issues were once thought to have been an ecclesiastical issue under Bishop James Kennedy (1408-65) the grandson of King Robert III of Scotland. However, expert numismatist on the coinage of Scotland Joan Murray, argued convincingly in her 1977 article that these coins are the regal three penny bits mentioned in contemporary documents also called colloquially "Cochrane's Placks." See article 'The Black Money of James III' in Coinage in Medieval Scotland (1100-1600). The Second Oxford Symposium on Coinage and Monetary History (= British Archaeological Reports 45, Oxford (1977)), 115-30.

National Museums of Scotland numismatist Nick Holmes further ventured in his 2008 British Numismatic Journal article "The Scottish Copper Crux Pellit Issue - a Typological Analysis" that these coins may have been the responsibility of Robert Cochrane, the Earl of Mar, a favourite of King James III, who had been authorised to strike the coinage as recorded in The History and Chronicles of Scotland by Lindsay of Pitscottie written less than 100 years after the event. Cochrane was subsequently hanged from the Lauder Bridge Berwickshire in 1482 at the time that these black money coins were cried down, having not been a popular coinage and from which Cochrane had profited.

Holmes suggested the coins were probably made outside of the Scottish Mint as the King began to distance himself from the issue, and surviving records of payments for this coinage are made out to individuals, which would not be the case with official coinage produced within the Mint. Additionally the physical letter punches used to make up the dies for these black coins do not match the letter punches used on other coinage produced within the Mint. In the absence of further documentary evidence surviving this is the best fit scenario for production of this coinage to date.

These coins today are hard to locate in a good state of preservation with all design elements showing clearly.

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