For some weeks in March Britain’s mainstream media were agog with reports of the impending sale of a rare Civil War pound of King Charles I in Dorchester.
Timothy Medhurst at Duke’s auctioneers had been somewhat startled earlier in the year when a woman brought in a silver coin to see if it might be worth anything. She was quite unaware of its significance and had no idea where it had originally come from. It was a family piece and had been handed down through several generations.
It turned out to be a silver pound struck at Oxford following the outbreak of England’s civil war and after Parliament had seized control of the Tower Mint. The design attributed to Thomas Rawlins shows Charles mounted with sword in hand while trampling on the arms of his enemies. To the right is the plume of the Oxford Mint.
On the reverse in two lines is an abbreviated form of Charles’ Wellington Declaration uttered before the first major battle of the Civil War: ‘RELIGIO PROTESTANTIUM, LEGES ANGLIAE, LIBERTAS PARLIAMENTI’ [The religion of the Protestants, the laws of England and the liberty of Parliament].
Three Oxford plumes and two pellets are above along with the denomination XX – for 20 shillings. The date of 1643 is below. The legend from Psalm 67 reads EXURGAT DEUS DISSIPENTUR INIMICI [Let God arise and His enemies be scattered].
The coin is rare in any condition but particularly so in the gVF grade of the example offered by Dukes. Light wear appears on just the highest points. It went to the block with an estimate of £10,000-£20,000 – in keeping with current catalog value.
Its appearance sparked intense bidding particularly from phone buyers. In the end it hammered in-room to a buyer for £46,000. With Buyer’s Premium the total was £56,120 $82,747.)