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The Nicholas Briot pattern Halfgroat of Charles I

Pattern coins, whether they be hammered or milled, silver or gold, an off metal striking in an exotic metal, piedfort, standard or thin flan sizes – they will always hold a special place in the numismatist’s mindset. The allure of a pattern coin within a collection is axiomatic; they are struck or minted using specially and carefully prepared dies. In many cases, they have frosted fields, display a relief in the main design or around the legends, ultimately more intricacy and a higher level of precision in their execution is evident, the planchets are also usually specially selected. Herein, the whole process differs significantly to currency coins of the day.

In our upcoming Auction (number 105) we have on offer a Charles I, Pattern Halfgroat issued by Nicholas Briot. Briot’s pattern Halfgroats for Charles I seem to either be the portrait type or the 1640 no legend, large crown (North 2688), non-portrait issue.

Our example is the Silver type [they were also offered in Copper], bare headed bust facing right in an elaborate ruff contained within an inner linear circle, the legend reads CAR DG MAG BRIT FRAN ET HIR, lozenge stop above King’s head. These exact coins were fastened to Briot’s first coinage between 1631-2 (references: North 2687; Brooker 1255). The reverse displays two crowned interlocking C’s which denote the denomination of a two pence or half-groat, a ‘B’ signed below for the designer, all contained within a linear circle, beaded borders both sides, the legend reads FIDEI DEFENSOR, which translates to defender of the faith. A fascinating little coin, a classic example of the proficiency and ability of Nicholas Briot, with an excellent provenance trail. Be sure to register and set a reminder for this auction.

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