Commonwealth (1649-1660), Silver ‘Fine Work’ Shilling, 1651. Tower mint, im: sun/-. Dated 1651. (sun) Coat-of-arms within wreath, · THE · COMMONWEALTH · OF · ENGLAND ·. Rev, coats-of-arms bearing St. George’s Cross and Irish harp, · GOD · WITH · VS · 1651 ·, ·XII· (mark of value) above, 6.08g (ESC 983; North 2724; SCBC 3217.)
Choice Extremely Fine, proof like fields, attractive dark tone. A piece of ‘fine work’. Very rare.
From the Clearwater Collection.
Ex Martin Hughes Collection (Spink 139, 16 November 1999), lot 192; Seaby (23 April 1986), lot 170;
Ex. M.A. Brigg Collection (Glendining, 23 May 1939), lot 406;
Ex. C.A. Watters Collection (Glendining, 21 May 1917), lot 441;
Ex. J.G. Murdoch Collection (Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 8 June 1903), lot 404;
Ex. Hyram Montagu Collection (Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 8 November 1896), lot 690;
Ex. W. Brice Collection (purchased en bloc by Hyram Montagu, 1887); Ex. J.B. Bergne Collection (Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, 20 May 1873), lot 861;
Ex. W. Durrant Collection (Sotheby & Wilkinson, 19 April 1847), lot 731.
Such fine work pieces were produced on two occasions in 1651 and 1656, presumably in direct competition to the efforts of Blondeau’s new milled machinery, which threatened to put the hammered coin workers out of commission. Therefore our theory is the hammered workers produced these ‘best effort’ pieces to have compared to those produced on the milled presses. It would seem the work of these skilled craftsmen was more than adequate, as the advent of milled coinage did not commence on a permanent basis until after the Restoration of Charles II in 1662.