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Marvellous in our Eyes: The Story of James I’s Rose Ryal, a Regal Symbol of Wealth and Prestige

James I (1603-25), Rose Ryal of Thirty Shillings, second coinage, mm Rose | Baldwin’s

The Rose Ryal of James  I was  a thirty shillings piece issued for use in England from 1604 – 1619 as part of the second coinage, which was an adjustment of weights so that denominational value reflected the actual value of the gold in circulation.

Prior to James I’s accession to the throne, the value of gold had risen and smaller gold denominations were introduced whilst the weight of continued larger denominations were reduced slightly.

The Rose Ryal was a large, impressive coin, weighing over 13 grams and measuring 42 millimetres in diametre. The coin’s obverse featured a ‘full’ portrait of the enthroned monarch James I, while the reverse showed a crowned Tudor rose with a shield at the centre, surrounded by the inscription “A. DNO. FACTV. EST. ISTVD. ET. EST. MIRAB. IN. OCVL. NRIS.” This Latin inscription translates to “This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.”

The Rose Ryal was minted in limited quantities, with only 4,800 coins produced in the first year of issue. The coin’s value was equivalent to thirty shillings, which was a significant amount of money at the time. The Rose Ryal was primarily used as a gift or as a way of demonstrating wealth and prestige rather than as a circulating coin.

Despite its limited use, the Rose Ryal remained in circulation for a long time, with examples being found as late as the 19th century. Today, the coin is highly sought after by collectors and can command a high price at auction.

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