October 30th 2023.
Monday 13th November - PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF DATE!
· Tokens and Medallions of the Monneron Brothers By Mick Martin.
Monday 4th December.
Monday 8th January (2023)
Meetings are held at the Abbey Baptist Church, Abbey Square, commencing at 7.00 p.m.
· The annual Christmas Dinner will be arranged for lunchtime on Saturday 9th December 2023 at the Bull at Streatley ( www.bullinnpub.co.uk/christmas ), if enough people let us know they wish to attend. The Bull has their Xmas menus on the website.
· Please continue thinking about Short Talks for January, and Auction lots for March!
· Also continue to think about joining the committee, the club cannot continue beyond June without new committee members.
Our speaker, Maurice Bull, needed no introduction because he had been a Club member for many years and already told us, in 2009, about the publication of his book the Half-Crowns of Charles I 1625-49 (vol. 4) - Mints at Oxford and Bristol. Following this he set himself the task of acquiring Oxford half-crowns and designing a typology to illustrate and understand more about the historical and practical aspects of mint operations. He also kindly donated a copy of his new book ‘Charles I Oxford Mint Halfcrowns (1642-1646)’ on which his talk was based.
The focus was on die engravers who were instructed to maintain a sufficient number of die replacements. Dies were replaced when they became unserviceable, leading to evidence that many coins dated 1642 were in fact struck as late as 1644. There were no overdates in the Oxford and Bristol issues. It appears that dies were handed in at night and reissued the next day in random order. This meant that there is a huge variety of die-pairings.
This practice meant that on occasions, dies remained unused for a period of time and in the damp conditions, became rusty. The evidence from the coins is that the dies were wire-brushed which led to scratches on the coins, which had previously been mistaken for tooling. This is evident from the identical scratches on die-linked coins. In this period, many coins were defaced with a knife by anti-Royalist sympathises.
The mints and the civil war
The mint produced 62 Shillings out of each Troy pound of silver, out of which two shillings paid for royalties and costs. This meant each shift would entail the striking of 750 coins, which meant the moneyers would have to work fast. There were large donations of silver plate from Oxford colleges and gentry, which were supplemented by a weekly supply of bullion (£100) from Thomas Bushell’s mines in Aberystwyth.
Thomas Bushell was a multimillionaire and donated more to the King’s war fund than anyone else. He petitioned the King to open a branch mint in Aberystwyth Castle, which was granted. In 1642 King Charles ordered Bushell to transfer his mint to Shrewsbury. He produced new dies with radical new reverses which incorporated – May God arise, may his enemies be scattered, and other changes. However, Shrewsbury mint was short lived and the mint was transferred to Oxford following the battle of Edgehill.
Oxford mint, opening in 1642, became the third and largest mint of Charles I, operating until Sir Thomas Glenham surrendered the City to Fairfax in 1646. Once again, Bushell used his Shrewsbury dies until they were unserviceable, so many coins attributed to Shrewsbury were in fact minted in Oxford. In terms of the Oxford plume which generally features, there is a strong argument that the larger plumes related to the coining of silver brought from the Netherlands by the Queen.
Following the recovery of Bristol for the crown by Prince Rupert, Bushell was instructed to divert his £100 of pure silver to the Bristol mint. This had the consequence that the accumulated Oxford silver plate had to be refined before minting.
Maurice developed a typology to relate the dies of half-crowns to assist with the source and chronology of the coinage. In the course of his study, he calculated that some 500 to 700 coins have survived, and he had analysed about half of them. The coins, photographs and analysis now reside in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, but the book is available to everyone.
Maurice answered questions from members and was thanked for his talk which had given a series of insights into the operation of King Charles’s mints in the Civil War.
Be reminded that subscriptions are now due. It would be most appreciated if members yet to renew their subscription would please do so at the next meeting. Please see our treasurer Peter. For anyone who does not pay their subs, this issue of the newsletter will be the last they receive.
· London Coin Fair – Holiday Inn, Bloomsbury, London – November 4th.
· Midland Coin Fair – National Motorcycle Museum – November 12th.