Charles I (1625 - 49) Bristol Mint, (1643-5) Halfcrown, 1643, mm. plume on obv., Br on rev., Bristol plumelet behind horseman, rev. Declaration, three plumes above, (Bull 638/10c; Morr. D-10; SCBI Brooker 975; N 2489; S 3007).
A truly remarkable survivor of the English civil war. As struck, with the finest equestrian portrait we have encountered for any Bristol mint Halfcrown.
Ex Arthur Chesser Collection, DNW 17th September 2013, lot 50
Prince Rupert of Rhine's capture of Bristol, at the time England's second largest city by the Royalists on 26th July 1643, was a important victory and gave the kings army a much needed major port, with great economical potential, which would help to explain the establishment of a mint branch there by Thomas Bushell. The earliest coinage issued there, derived from Oxford dies that had been bought over. The Bristol Feathers are a very distinctive feature on this coinage, and the engravers also soon marked the coinage with a Br monogram. The Halfcrowns from the mint, often have a rather rough and ready appearance, whereas the smaller denominations were carefully made.
Bristol surrendered to Sir Thomas Fairfax on 11th September 1645, by which time Bushell had more than likely retired to Lundy Island (of which he owned). Interestingly though his moneyers who had worked for him here at Bristol, appear to have continued to work until the final months of the war. A strong resemblance to the Bristol mints portraiture, can be seen in the later issued coins at Bridgnorth, Ashby de la Zouch and in the Welsh Marches halfcrowns.