Charles I (1625-1649), Triple Unite of sixty shillings or Three Pounds, Oxford, issued 1642, initial mark Oxford plume with bands obverse only. Legend surrounds CAROLVS: D:G: MAG: BRIT: FRAN: ET: HI: REX, classic crowned armoured half-length bust of the king facing left, holding sword and olive branch, plumes behind, all within beaded linear circle. Rev, outer legend reads commencing a 9 0 clock .EXVRGAT: DEVS: DISSIPENTVR: INIMICI, the declaration made at Wellington, Shropshire September 1642 struck in the centre, reading RELIG: PROT LEGI: ANG LIBER: PAR in three lines on continuous scroll, value and three plumes struck above, date below, 26.54g (R. D. Beresford -Jones dies III/L1; Schneider 287; N.2382; S.2724). Struck on a full flan, a comprehensive example of a truly imposing coin within English Numismatics. Underlying golden toning, with the rarer declaration inscribed on the wavy continuous scroll on the reverse. In some places double struck, pleasing. About very fine, very rare given the variety.
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 effectively 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.