Great Britain 1644 pound

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Ponterio sale 168, lot 40575
photo courtesy Stack's-Bowers LLC
This specimen was lot 40575 in Ponterio sale 168 (Philadelphia, August 2012), where it sold for $69,000. The catalog description[1] noted,

"GREAT BRITAIN. Pound, 1644. Oxford Mint. Extremely RARE Fine Workmanship Oxford Mint Pound. Charles I (1625-49). During the reign of Charles I a number of factors put strain on the relationship between the King and Parliament. The King’s marriage to a Roman Catholic, failure in wars with Spain and France, the levying of taxes without the consent of Parliament and the use of antiquated laws to fine individuals led to revolts from both the Scots and the Irish as well as estranging the King from main factions in Parliament. One of the final blows before the start of the war was Charles’ attempted arrest of five members of the House of Commons, actually entering the House by force with an armed guard. After this failed arrest attempt Parliament seized control of London and Charles marched north to raise an army against them, eventually controlling the west and north of England having set up his court at Oxford in October of 1642 where this coin was later minted.

While assembled in Wellington before one of the first battles of the war the King made what became known as the “Wellington Declaration” wherein he declared he would uphold “the Protestant Religion, the Laws of England and the Liberty of Parliament”. This slogan was afterward given a Latin abbreviation which was added to the design of several of his coins including the Pound of 1644 which displays it on the reverse in a wide cartouche with fine scroll work at the top and surmounted by a banded plume mint mark. On the obverse we see Charles astride a muscular war horse which is trampling arms and armor below. This equestrian warrior image is prevalent in much of Charles’ coinage and was meant to inspire as many of his subjects as possible. However his cause was all but lost by 1645 in the face of the Parliamentarians’ New Model Army under Sir Thomas Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell. While seeking assistance from a Scottish army in Nottinghamshire he was handed over to Parliament only to broker a secret deal with the Scots leading to the Second Civil War where he was once again defeated and this time he was tried, convicted and executed.

From this tumultuous period we offer a rare finely crafted Pound from Charles’ mint at Oxford. A rarity in and of itself it is made even more striking and desirable by its full legends and detailed designs of Charles I on horseback left, holding sword with arms below. Scroll like cartouche containing inscription on reverse. Well struck on a broad planchet. Two small, natural edge cracks, toned. NGC XF-45.

EX: T. Bryan Clarke-Thornhill collection. Glendining & Co. sale, Monday, May 24th, 1937, lot # 537."

Recorded mintage: unknown.

Specification: silver.

Catalog reference: Dav-3771; S-2943 (same dies); KM-340 (same dies); Brooker-865 (same dies).

Source:

  • Lobel, Richard, Mark Davidson, Allan Hailstone and Eleni Calligas, Coincraft's Standard Catalogue of English and UK Coins, 1066 to Date, London: Coincraft, 1995.
  • Cuhaj, George S., and Thomas Michael, Standard Catalog of World Coins, 1601-1700, 6th ed., Iola, WI: Krause Publications, 2014.
  • [1]Ponterio, Richard, Ponterio sale 168: The Official ANA Auction, Irvine, CA: Stack's Bowers LLC, 2012.

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