Charles II (1660-85), Two Guineas, 1681, second laureate head right, legend and toothed border surrounding, CAROLVS. II. DEI. GRATIA. Rev, crowned cruciform shields, sceptres in angles, four interlinked Cs at centre, date fl anking top crown, legend follows MAG. BR. FRA. ET. HIB REX., no stop after HIB (Schneider 435; MCE 45; S.3335). Choice virtually mint state, with a pronounced golden lustre. Encapsulated and graded by N.G.C as MS63 and as such one of the finest known examples.
Ex Spink, Auction 223, 26-27 March 2014, lot 1660
Two guineas seem very undervalued in comparison to their five guinea counterparts in the current marketplace, therefore making them seem a very attractive prospect. An equivalent Charles II five guinea in MS63 condition would fetch between £150,000 – £200,000 in auction.
Cromwell died in September 1658 and the nation grew restless. After a year and a half, in May 1660, welcomed by Parliament, Charles entered London to a stupendous welcome from the crowds who had twenty months earlier mourned the dead Cromwell.
Charles II was a popular monarch. Britain had grown restless, and the majority now resented the austerity of the Cromwellian era. Charles was a great patron of the arts, he paid attention to Cromwell’s navy, and he founded the Royal Society which did much to further scientific enquiry and knowledge, graced by such figures as Sir Isaac Newton, Edmond Halley (of Halley’s comet fame) and Robert Boyle who formulated ‘Boyle’s law’ as the basis of chemistry. Charles II’s companions were a group of hard drinking young men who including the Duke of Buckingham, Sir George Etherage and the Earl of Rochester. But they had a biting wit which showed itself in the Restoration drama of such playwrights as William Congreve, and in Rochester’s poetry. Charles himself loved the theatre – among those he licensed was Drury Lane – and horse racing, which he established at Newmarket as the ‘sport of kings.’.