Charles I, Gold Triple Unite, 1643
Item Reference: SFP136
Charles I (1625-49). Gold Triple Unite, 1643, of 60 Shillings, Oxford Mint, mint mark plume. Crowned bust in fine style facing left, holding longer olive branch and sword, CAROLVS D G MAGN BRIT ET FRAN ET HIB REX. Rev, declaration in three lines, in ribbon, RELIG PROT / LEG ANG / LIBER PAR. Three plumes, denomination above, date below. EXVRGAT DEVS DISSIPENTVR INIMICI. (S. 2727, North. 2384 (very rare), Schneider-300 (same dies)). Smoothed in the fields on both sides, good very fine or better, a bold and imposing example. This classic from the English Civil War, struck at the king’s temporary mint at Oxford, which served as Charles’ headquarters and principal source of money from 1642 to 1646, carries not only a powerful image of the frightened, pursued king but also his famous Declaration made at Wellington in 1642 in which he extolled the Protestant religion and laws of his kingdom as well as the liberty granted to his subjects and protected by himself and his parliament. This appears on the verso side of many of his coins, in largest form on the famed Triple Unites, which carried immense “face value” and served his army by purchasing supplies for war. Unfortunately for Charles, his parliament saw things through a different lens, one without him as ruler. The king’s proclamation essentially was a declaration of war against his legions of Puritan opponents and parliament’s army, led by Oliver Cromwell. Oxford and the other regional mints, quickly assembled as the king moved from one fortified locale to another, served the purpose of converting gold in other forms (older coins, jewelry, plate) into coins asserting Charles’s kingship, and paid out to his armies as well as to suppliers. While technically not all of these are siege coins, most pieces struck at the temporary mints met exactly the same fate -- melted in order to make newer coins after the war. Within six years of the minting of this impressive coin, Charles was captured and executed. At his demise, the ancient divine right of kings eff ectively ended in across the land, and upon the Restoration in 1660 England became parliamentarian in both name and power. The huge Triple Unites made of gold fared poorly. Few exist today. All are prized by numismatists as the ultimate artistic expressions in metal of their era.