Oliver Cromwell (1656-58), Gold Broad of twenty shillings dies by Simon, issued 1656 and minted in Pierre Blondeau’s Drury house, London mint. Laureate head left, legend with toothed border surrounding, OLIVAR. D. G. R P. ANG. SCO. ET. HIB. & PRO. Rev, crowned quartered shield of arms of the Protectorate, date either side of crown, legend and toothed border surrounding, legend reads PAX. QVÆRITVR. BELLO., straight grained edge, 9.08g (Schneider 367; WR 39 R2; N.2744; S.3225). Choice extremely fine with proof like fields with underlying brilliance.
The Cromwell gold Broad of Twenty Shillings is a great rarity, especially in higher grades of preservation, and an historic memento from the era of England’s Civil War and its aftermath.Oliver Cromwell was born in April 1599 and was the father of nine children, two of whom died in infancy. The Civil War was the first and only war in British history to result in the abolition of the monarchy. After Cromwell and the forces of Parliament proved victorious, in January 1649 King Charles I was brought to trial for treason, on the grounds that he had fought against his subjects. Charles refused to recognise the court as having any power over him, and thus offered no defence. Appearing dignified but disdainful, by a majority of one (68 judges to 67) the King was condemned to death, and he was executed on January 30th at Whitehall London. Cromwell moved quickly, and he was instrumental in establishing the Commonwealth of England. From 1649 the coins struck during the Commonwealth have inscriptions in English in place of Latin, as a ‘more accurate’ expression of Protestantism. The cross of St George and the Irish harp replace the royal coat of arms. Eventually, Cromwell moved fully into the limelight. The Protectorate, with Oliver Cromwell as sole ‘Lord Protector’ was established in December 1653, and work on a new coinage featuring a portrait of Cromwell, complete with laurel wreath, was authorised two years or so later. These coins made an appearance in the period 1657-1658, but production was limited because of the sudden death of Cromwell on September 3rd 1658. The small number of Cromwellian portrait coins produced are of high quality and all were machine made, struck from dies by Thomas Simon (1618-1665) in the presses of the Frenchman Pierre Blondeau. These are sometimes described as ‘patterns’ but we have no reason to believe they were not intended to circulate. The obverse of the gold Twenty Shillings or Broad features the laureate head of Cromwell left, and the reverse has the crowned shield of the Protectorate. The edge is grained, there is an inverted obverse/reverse die axis. Ironically, the obverse and reverse legends are in Latin once again. This specimen is struck on a slightly thinner flan, which is acknowledged to be the rarer of the two types