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Before and After

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Cromwell Halfcrown, 1658
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Royal Mint Output 1603  to 1662

          Displayed above is the output of Tower mint from 1603 to 1662, the latter period of hammered coinage. This period encompasses the reigns of James 1, Charles 1, Commonwealth and the start of Charles II, when hammered coinage was issued. One can clearly see that gold coinage dominated James I reign particularly towards the final years. Charles I started off strong in gold but tailed off as the Civil War took its toll. During the Civil War years in particular silver was the preferred coinage. Commonwealth saw a very slow start in gold and after 11 years a total which was equivalent to just one year of what was produced under Charles 1. The next two charts summarize the trends very clearly. Total Outputs of each period are plotted as face value and percentage values.  

Before After % Gold and Silver
Face Value in

The “Before and After” data shows that gold coinage share of mint output was on a downward trend from 1603. The Commonwealth period fits into the data, and supports the idea that gold coinage was losing market share to silver coinage. It’s only when one also looks at the face value of what was produced that one sees output during the reign of Charles I was very high due to an incredible rise in the quantity of silver being produced. Hoard finds tells us that this was primarily halfcrowns, shillings and sixpences for everyday use. The Civil War caused mint output of silver to peak before falling and tailing off to 1649. It must not be forgotten that Charles I vacated the Royal mint and established his primary Provincial mint in Oxford in 1642. There were several Provincial mints and records are sparse as to what was produced. The Commonwealth years in comparison were very lean years compared to prior outputs at the mint. With the re-call of Commonwealth coinage in the early 1660’s much of the metal surrendered was used to coin the hammered issue of Charles II and used as an exchange to remove the old coinage from the streets. It can be seen that the primary reason again for low output was availability of metal. This was resolved with the sale of Dunkirk to the French in 1662. The Sale of Dunkirk took place on 27 October 1662 when Charles II of England sold his sovereign rights to Dunkirk to his cousin Louis XIV of France for five million livres. The production of milled coinage started shortly thereafter.