Charles I (1625 -49), Silver Pattern Halfcrown, Raised bust of Charles bare headed facing left, wearing falling lace collar, armour with lovelock over his left shoulder, CAROLVS DG MAG BRI FR ET HIB RX, rev., ornate engraving of the royal arms in small shield, helm, crown and lion above, within Garter, Lion and Unicorn supporters, crown above, motto below, laurel border, 36 mm (Bull 696; MI 373/267; North - ; Platt I, pp. 275-76, type C).
An intriguing, fascinating and incredibly rare so well preserved pattern Halfcrown of Charles I. The finest example we have encountered of this wonderful and very rare issue. The reverse reminiscent to that of the Hereford Halfcrown later issued during the English civl war in 1645. Although historically attributed to be by Thomas Rawlins, we are of the opinion that this is infact an early pattern struck from the dies made by Vanderdort in 1625 after he was appointment by Charles I to make patterns for "his majesties Coynes and also his assistance to the engravers". The finest known of its type and a highly significant piece of numismatic history. According to the Bull listing 1 of 3 known to him.
Provenance - S&B Coins M81, July 1993. Ex Matthew Rich Collection, Ex Noble Numismatic, Ex NH Collection of Charles I.
Vanderdort is a name that those interested in art of the 17th Century will know, however his fame mostly lies in his documented catalogue of the Kings paintings, sculptures and other antiquities, however his links to the Royal family were first through his craftsmanship of being a medalist. Very little is known of his work today as an engraver or medalist, so we have tried to explore the possibility that this incredible piece is in fact by him.
It was roughly in 1609 when Vanderdort first came to England and drew the attention of Court, as such and throughtout James I reign he held several posts, one being Prince Henrys "Curator of his cabinet of Medals and Coins" which in 1612 upon his death was passed on to the young Charles I.
On the 2nd April 1625, very shortly after Charles 's accession to the throne, Charles instructed the Duke of Buckingham to summons Sir Edward Villiers to his presence who was the Master of the Mint and Abraham Vanderdort. Charles commanded Vanderdort to make patterns for "his majesties Coynes and also his assistance to the engravers". Charles demanded that a warrant be drawn up giving him an annual fee of £40 for that service. On the 5th April in letters between the Secretary of State , Lord Conway and his Attorney General Lord Coventry, a grant for Vanderdort to be given two posts for life, as Provider of patterns and life keeper of the kings coins collection for the sum of £40 per annum for each post, with King Charles signifying this approval of this petition.
By December of 1625, the Mint appear to have been at work on Vanderdorts patterns, for on the 7th of January 1625/6 there is a curious letter from the Mint addressed to Lord Conway in which it states "the imbossments are made so high they will not rise in the monies, the monies being so broad and thin as they are now made" Secondly is the letter is states that using these broad and thin dies, they wouldn't be able to coin the quantities needed and would require more time. The interesting part of this letter is it gives us the first clue as to the identity of some of Vanderdorts work.
With only a handful of coins/ patterns attributed today to be by the hand of Vanderdort, the most famous being the Juxon Medal of which Charles I famously gave according to tradition, to William Juxon, the Bishop of London, on the scaffold just before his execution, and the pattern Unites known in Silver and gold we decided ourselves to look upon their similarities in portraiture and it is without question conceivable, that this could well be also by his hand.
Given the similarities in the Kings appears on this pattern halfcrown and that of the Juxon Medal and the Pattern Unites, it is surely from the same hand not that of Thomas Rawlins.
This example of the pattern halfcrown is by far the finest we have encountered in hand or seen during our research via our archives. Normally the aren't so well struck as this, which is consistent with the Mint at the times issues they were encountering. When comparing the finer details such as the hair line and the small tuft of hair astray from the kings forehead why would another engraver copy such ? It is more in our opinion Vanderdort's artistic signature being illustrated ...