Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Elizabeth I (17 Nov 1558 - 24 March 1603) Coinage and History

This is another part in the coinage and history series, I fear I have been somewhat slow with the release of posts with this, though a lot is dependent, on when I purchase new coins. I have also been experimenting with Photographing the coins as opposed to scanning them to get the best image.

The picture above is of a Shilling from Elizabeth I it is from the year 1560-1561 Mintmark-Cross-Spink-2555-A. The Obverse portrait side may look the worse for wear, but it was very common with the larger coins for them to be weakly struck. So this is still a very nice example given that it has not been clipped, another practice that was very common. The practice of clipping is very much what it sounds like, people would clip small potions of the sliver off of the coin, pretty much whatever they felt they could get away with.

This coin is also interesting as it was minted at the start of Elizabeth I great recoinage of the realm, as the coinage under her Brother Edward VI, and Her Father Henry VIII had been debased mostly under Henry VIII, in order for him to finance his wars and household, This is where Henry The VIII received the nickname old Coppernose from, as the silver would wear away on the high points of the coin and reveal the base metal, most offten than not on the nose first.

At this time when Elizabeth, was still very early into her queenship, The Tudor house was not in great financial shape as the spending under her father and mismanagement had sorely pressed the royal coffers. Elizabeth I though had been very good at managing her estates, so she used the funds from them to finance the recoinage, just one other little thing of interest Elizabeth I also used some of the royal households silver service to be melted down and used in the recoinage as well. You will find below some more information on The House Of Tudor. I hope you have enjoyed this and please feel free to leave any comments or feedback you may have.


Elizabeth I (17 Nov 1558 - 24 March 1603) - born 7th September 1533The Virgin Queen Elizabeth or ‘Gloriana’ un-did Catholic Mary’s work as England reverted to Protestantism and pacified the religious divide. Skilled at politics, she was lucky to be surrounded by talented advisors, but angered them by avoiding the issue of marriage and of course never had children. She assisted Dutch Protestants, and is most famous for defeating her unpopular brother in law, Philip II during the Spanish Armada war of 1588. Her reign is also known for the introduction of the potato and tobacco from the “New World” by Sir Francis Drake.

A long and prosperous reign ended in 1603 when Elizabeth died of old age at 75.A significant reign for coinage as the first machine made pieces were struck from the presses of the Frenchman Eloye Mestrelle in 1561. However they were not popular as production was slow with the horse drawn mill press, though the quality was very good. Mestrelle was dismissed in 1572 and later executed for his collusion with forgers in 1578 some historians believe this may have been engineered by rivals. Elizabeth enjoyed a long reign and this covered many different denominations being issued at various times.

The gold crowns were again issued and it was not till 1600 that the large silver crown was again minted. In 1559 the old debased coins of Edward VI were called in for counter marking at a lower face value and the silver fineness was restored to 0.925 by 1582. A new denomination the three-farthings was introduced to help with small change transactions. The first attempt at international trade coins occurred in 1600-01 with the Portcullis Money for use in the East Indies with weights equivalent to the already popular Spanish trade Reales.

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