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Description

Cromwell gold 50 Shillings 1656. S-3224. WR-38, rated R.4: 11-20 known. Dies by Thomas Simon. One of the great rarities in the early English milled series. The comments in the new Spink catalogue bear repeating, as this coin has often been confused in its origins: "The Protectorate was established on 16th December 1653, with work on the production of portrait coins authorised in 1655. Although often referred to as patterns, there is in fact nothing to suggest that the portrait coins of Oliver Cromwell were not intended for circulation." As the first minting evidently occurred in 1657, and the 50 Shillings is identical in design to the more often seen Broad (worth 20 Shillings) but two and a half times as heavy, perhaps it is most appropriate to call this coin a prototype rather than a pattern. Most known are certainly not preserved in Mint State, which suggests that they were in fact used, if only for a short time. Of course it is also reasonable to assume that some were carried by Cromwell's closest associates. Like most known, this coin has been lightly cleaned but some of the mirror surfaces remain and the strike is crisp. Uncirculated, or what the British like to call "Good EF" because the surfaces are not splendid. The portrait is classic Thomas Simon, who designed the portraits and shields for Cromwell. Despite a few scuffs in the obverse field, this is nonetheless an excellent example of this classic gold rarity.

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Auction Dates
January, 2004
12th
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
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