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    Description

    Elizabeth I Trade Coinage. Silver 'Portcullis Money' 4 Testerns ND (1600-1) XF45 NGC, Tower mint, 13.80g, S-2607B, Pridmore-2. Mintmark 'O'. An absolutely fascinating piece of economic and colonial history, and an extremely rare survivor from the Anglo-Spanish war. This famous conflict erupted in 1585, primarily through religious disputes between Catholic Spain under King Philip II, and Protestant England under Queen Elizabeth I. However, it would be naive to omit the role played by the massive commercial disputes between the two countries, both of whom were at the time heavily occupied with colony building and the creation of trade routes. The present coin represents this economic facet of the war. Spain was enjoying huge success with its popular trade currency of 1, 2, 4, and 8 Reales, furthering its monopoly on Atlantic trade, and England decided they must compete with this bread-and-butter contributor to Spain's prosperity. Accordingly, the 1, 2, 4 and 8 'Testerns' were introduced, given this name in the Royal Warrant authorizing their production (although these coins were essentially Reales, being struck to exactly the same size and weight as their Spanish counterparts). These Testerns, produced at the Tower Mint, bore Elizabeth's regnal cipher and more notably a portcullis, perhaps to represent the slamming down on Spanish trade, leading to their being dubbed 'Portcullis Money'. Brought aboard the first voyage of the 'Company of Merchants of London Trading into the East Indies' (a mouthful later shortened to the better known 'East India Company'), the coinage was an utter failure, as suspicious traders in the East Indies refused to accept this unfamiliar currency. Accordingly, no more Portcullis Money was produced rendering the coinage a considerable rarity.

    This bold survivor of a short-lived currency is gunmetal gray, handsomely toned a darker shade within the recesses, little if any actual wear across its remarkably well-struck surfaces. The present theory is that the only surviving specimens of this type were souvenirs retained in London, which would certainly explain the lack of circulation on this specimen. The sole certified example by NGC or PCGS; visually iconic and simply wonderful to behold, a piece of genuine numismatic and colonial history, worthy of a premium bid and a place within the finest English or colonial cabinet.
    Ex. Parsons (1954), lot 914


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2018
    17th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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