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    The Celebrated "Reddite" Pattern Crown by Thomas Simon

    Charles II silver Proof Pattern "Reddite" Crown 1663 PR35 PCGS, S-3354B, ESC-431 (R5), L&S-7. By Thomas Simon. Struck en medaille, edge reads REDDITE . QVÆ . CÆSARIS . CÆSARI & CT. POST, followed by a sun appearing out of a cloud. One of the most famous rarities of the English milled series - the 'Reddite' Crown, produced in 1663 by Thomas Simon in conjunction with his Petition Crown of the same dies, widely regarded as his masterpiece and perhaps the most finely engraved coin in Britain's history.

    Multiple efforts to introduce milled coinage to Britain were made in the 16th and 17th centuries, for the most part to counteract the effects of clipping (as the irregular hammered issues were too easy a target for this unscrupulous practice) which had plagued coinage for centuries. It was only after the English civil war of 1642-51 and establishment of the Commonwealth of England that milled coins became a priority, resulting in a handful of 1651 milled patterns and ultimately in the Cromwell portrait coinage of 1656-58. The engraving for these high-quality pieces was undertaken by the young Thomas Simon, appointed joint chief engraver in 1645 at the age of around 22; after impressing parliament through his great seal of the Commonwealth, he was made chief engraver to the Royal Mint. Simon's coins were notable for featuring an edge inscription, the ultimate guard against clipping and edge filing.

    In 1658 Oliver Cromwell died, and two years later the monarchy was restored with the return of Charles II. Initially Simon produced various medalettes and coronation pieces for the King, yet in 1662 the Dutch John Roettiers was appointed by the Tower Mint as chief engraver. Having spent over a decade demonstrating his skill, this infuriated Simon; however, it was this long service to the anti-Royalist Commonwealth which likely led to Charles ending Simon's Royal patronage. In order to reinstate himself as the foremost medallist in England, Simon produced his Petition Crown with three varying edge inscriptions, including the present "Reddite" type. Needless to say, what he created is still thought to be one of Britain's foremost pieces of medallic art.

    The Petition Crown bore a two-line edge inscription to the King encouraging him to compare his exemplary work with that of Roettiers - the present piece carries a different inscription which gives it its name, translating to "Render to Caeser, the things which are Caesar's" and features an image of the sun emerging from behind a cloud in reference to the Restoration of the monarchy after the Commonwealth period. It can be interpreted that the Reddite inscription implies considerable arrogance on Simon's part, stating that the role of chief engraver was his by right and that he was conquering Roettiers' attempt through his skill. However, this pride was not misplaced, and despite Simon not regaining his control over the Tower mint engraving, the Roettiers depiction of Charles's portrait almost immediately begin to resemble Simon's from 1664 onwards.

    Supposedly just ten examples of the Reddite Crown are known, at least three of which are held by museums and are thus not available for commerce. Of the remainder, most have encountered heavy handling or other hardships. The present selection exhibits moderate wear with some scratches and handling marks in the fields; yet even with this loss of highpoint detail, the intricacy and elegance of the designs are breathtaking and the minute stippling within the legends and Charles's drapery (a trademark of Simon's) is still easily apparent. The planchet has toned to a deep gunmetal gray, charcoal elements cloaking the devices and further enhancing the visual appeal. Demand for this celebrated British Crown far, far outstrips supply, and this may represent one of the few opportunities high-tier collectors will have to add an example to their collection.

    Ex. Rowley Butters Collection (St James Auction 9, 18th June 2008, lot 334); Dr. D. Rees-Jones Collection (Spink Coin Auction 117, 19 November 1996, lot 118); Spink Numismatic Circular, March 1990, no. 1107; Norweb Collection )Spink Coin Auction 48, 13 November 1985, lot 442); Private transaction to Norweb family, July 1962, USA; G.R. Blake, Seaby Coin and Medal Bulletin, June 1957; Seaby Coin and Medal Bulletin, March 1948, item CR79; H.E.G. Paget, Glendining (25 September, 1947, lot 230); T.B. Clarke-Thornhill Collection (Glendining, 27 May 1937, lot 605); Richard Cyril Lockett Collection (Sotheby's, 28 May 1927, lot 55); J. P. Morgan Collection; Sir John Evans Collection

    More information about Great Britain Coins, also known as Great Britain.

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    April, 2020
    24th-27th Friday-Monday
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