England 1601-02 crown
This specimen is lot 1066 in Stack's Coin Galleries sale (New York, April 2010). The catalog description noted, "ENGLAND. Elizabeth I, 1558-1603. AR Crown. Seventh issue. Tower mint. Mintmark: 1, 1601-1602. Crowned bust of Elizabeth I left wearing elaborate dress, holding scepter and globus cruciger. Rv. Garnished arms over long cross fourchée. Toned. Good Very Fine." This date is listed in the SCWC for 1601 and 1602 with a very high catalog value.The second specimen was lot 4383 in Goldberg sale 74 (Los Angeles, June 2013), where it did not sell. The catalog description noted,
"Great Britain. Crown, 1601. Elizabeth I, 1558-1603. Mint mark, 1. Obverse: Crowned portrait of Queen left. Reverse: Large shield of arms. Nicely toned, and a good size flan. This compares well with other Elizabeth I Crowns offered during the last few years. A handsome piece with none of the metal flaws, flan cracks or other striking irregularities which usually plague this impressive issue. NGC graded EF-45.
This coin was struck just a couple of years before the death of one of England's greatest monarchs. A firm pragmatist, Elizabeth had maintained peace within her kingdom, and she managed to avoid war with her neighbors. But by 1588 King Philip of Spain had decided to attack England and teach Elizabeth a lesson she would remember. England was a bastion of anti-Catholicism and Elizabeth had long provided a base and refuge for Philip's rebellious subjects in the Netherlands, but she was now supplying soldiers to fight alongside the Dutch. Once faced with the hated prospect of war, however, Elizabeth acted decisively.
The invading Spanish Armada, of which it was originally said 'the ocean sighed under the burden of it' was sighted off the coast of Cornwall on 19th July 1588 and the warning beacon fires flamed along the coast of southern England, alerting everyone to the defence of his native land. As the Armada had anchored off Calais for the night, Francis Drake sent in fire-ships, loaded with anything inflammable that could be found. The panicking fleet sailed north and was slowly decimated by the harrrying English and storms. The invasion failed.
It was during her reign that the foundations of the future British Empire were laid and here began England's association with America, indeed Virginia was named after Elizabeth I. She always appreciated that England was important as a jumping-off point for the New World.
In her last years, unlike other long-lived monarchs, Elizabeth did not lose her grip. She even contained her infatuation for the handsome Earl of Essex, a boy of 17 when he came to court, and 34 years her junior. In 1601 Essex dared to lead a rebellion against Elizabeth. He was executed on 30 November 1601, around the time this silver Crown was minted. On March 24 1603 Elizabeth died. She was the last and greatest of the Tudors."
Recorded mintage: unknown.
Specification: silver, the first specimen 29.90 grams.
Catalog reference: KM 7, North 2012, S.2582, Dav-3757.
- Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700, 6th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.
- Kraljevich, John, and Frank Van Valen, Coin Galleries: Selections from the Estate of Louis E. Eliasberg, Jr. and other important properties, New York: Stack's, 2010.
- Goldberg, Ira, Larry Goldberg, John Lavender and Steven Harvey, Goldberg Sale 74: the pre-Long Beach Sale, featuring the Arden Collection, Los Angeles: Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, 2013.