Rare 400-year-old coin could fetch £50,000 at auction

The Independent
The Independent

A rare gold coin minted by Charles I during the English Civil War could fetch as much as £50,000 when it is sold at auction later this month.

Known as a Triple Unite, the coin was the worth 60 shillings or three pounds and was only minted for three years while the king had set up court in Oxford during his war with Parliament .

The large coin, which weighs almost 27g, dates from 1643 and features an image of Charles holding a sword and olive branch.

On the other side it has in Latin the slogan “The religion of the Protestants, the laws of England and the liberty of Parliament”, emphasising how Charles was trying to curry favour with those supporting the parliamentary side in the Civil War which had been sparked in part by fears the king might turn the country to Catholicism and rule as a tyrant without parliament.

It will be sold as part of a collection of 220 historical coins by auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb on 22 September.

Christopher Webb, from Dix Noonan Webb, said: "Far exceeding the size and value of any previous denomination struck in the British Isles, the Triple Unite was as much a propaganda piece for the King as it was a means of meeting the enormous expenditure of the war.

"Despite his Catholic origins, the reverse proclaims his defence of the Protestant religion, English law and the liberty of Parliament.

"Furthermore, having been forced to leave the vast resources of London behind, it proved he still had the authority and financial wherewithal to produce a numismatic masterpiece, made by one of the country’s finest engravers, at his new war headquarters in Oxford."

The coin collection being sold at auction belongs to Michael Gietzelt and focuses on pieces from the Civil War era.

German-born Mr Gietzelt opened an antique shop in Berlin in 1977 and he started collecting coins after receiving presents from his mother and great-grandfather.

The auctioneers said they expect the whole collection to raise as much as £420,000 when sold.

Among the other notable coins being sold are a broad coin worth 20 shillings minted during the reign of Oliver Cromwell in 1656 which is expected to sell for at least £20,000, and a very rare Rebel Money Crown issued by the Catholic Confederacy of Kilkenny which could fetch between £3,000 and £4,000.

Two unusually shaped, crude-shaped shillings or siege pieces from Carlisle and Pontefract, are estimated to sell for around £12,000 and £6,000 respectively.

Mr Webb said: "Carlisle was defended by the Royalist forces under Sir Thomas Glemham from October 1644 until the following June, when it was surrendered to the commander of the investing Scottish army, David Leslie, later Lord Newark.

"The city was never assaulted, the siege being rather in the nature of a blockade, and the surrender was brought about in part by the scarcity of food, and in part by the hopelessness of relief."

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