Charles I (1625 - 49) Exeter Mint (1643 - 46) Halfcrown, 1642, m.m. rose, king on horse of neat style, galloping over arms, in his right hand he holds a baton rev. oval garnished shield with date (1642) in cartouche at bottom (Bull 663/22 (61-35); Besly L22; SCBI Brooker 1013; N 2534; S 3071).

The 1642 Exeter Mint Halfcrown of Charles I, is one of the most intriguing and rare coins issued during the English Civil War. For decades numismatists have debated its authenticity, due to its far greater artistic detail when compared with other coins struck from this era and further confusion has been caused by its origin. Extremely rare, signs of tooling in attempt to remove its contemporary gilding


Ex H M Lingford, collection bt Baldwin 1951

Ex Alan Morris Collection

Ex Coins of Britain

Ex Roderick Richardson 2015 (with ticket priced at £19,500)

Ex M&H Coins

Ex Maurice Bull Collection

The finely detailed obverse portrays the king riding to the left on a galloping horse riding over arms and holding in his left hand a baton somewhat resembles the design used by Thomas Simons on the 1639 Scottish Rebellion medal, a comparison previously mentioned by the famous collector Miss H. Farquhar.

The mintmark rose found at 12 o’clock on this coin gives a clue too its origins as this mark has always been associated with both the Truro and Exeter Mints. With two different reverse dies being known for this type coin (one with pellets the other without) past research has indicated that this halfcrown was first struck at Truro and later again at Exeter, although this is a little speculative. A further confusing element of this wonderful variety is the date, 1642. Richard Vyvyan MP for Tregony and head of one of Cornwall’s oldest landed families was commissioned to coin bullion or plate of gold or silver ‘with dies stampes and forms as the monies now current within Our Realm of England’ on 14th November 1642. With the Truro mint having only been established in the very late months of 1642 and the Exeter Mint being established in 1643/4 is the date possibly retrospective. Could the date be in reference to King Charles raising his standard at Nottingham in August 1642,signalling the start of the English Civil War or could there be a possibly link between the date be the Kings personal visit to Exeter in 1644. Having been stuck to such a high quality, and having been made in such a small number, we believe that it would have been made as a commemorative for the Kings visit, and given to important gentry.

In the mid 20th Century D. Liddell & A. Rayner wrote for the British Numismatic Journal a wonderfully detailed and insightful account  looking into the history of this coin titled “CHARLES I TRURO/EXETER HALF-CROWNS”, where 14 examples were obtained, examined, and tested. This was coin number 8 featured in their paper.

There are only  21 known examples of this enigmatic issue, 5 of which remain in museum collections.

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