World Gold - 1653 Gold Crown of the Commonwealth, NGC MS65
GREAT BRITAIN. The Commonwealth Period, 1649-1660. Gold Crown, dated 1653 with the Sun as mintmark. The obverse features the English shield in palm and laurel wreath, THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND surrounds. The reverse features both English and Irish Shields, and the legend GOD WITH VS surrounds. Here is an exceptional example, if not the finest known (certainly the finest graded!) of this smallest Gold denomination of the government of the regicide Protector Oliver Cromwell, boasting glowing lustre and rich detail for thoroughly pleasing quality. The Commonwealth Crowns are the final gold Crowns struck using the hammered process, to be replaced ten years later with the milled coinage of Charles II.
A thorough study of the entire roster of graded gold Crowns from England between 1600 and 1707 show that this very specimen is tied with another as finest for the denomination! NGC has certified only 55 coins in all states-of-preservation. 13 of these coins are certified as Mint State. Only two are certified as Gem Mint State-65, the present coin and another dated 1651. The period this study covers is actually for coinage struck between 1544 and 1662 and covers the reigns of Henry VIII, James I, Charles I, Oliver Cromwell and Charles II.
The Commonwealth coinage was introduced in 1649 to mark Parliament's victory over Charles I and monarchy as a whole, and Oliver Cromwell likely took vindictive pleasure in removing any likeness of a King or Queen, and changing the decadent Latin legends to more Puritan English. These new coins were loathed for their ugliness, and dubbed 'breeches money' in reference to the twin shields of England and Ireland resembling a pair of trousers, a factor which did not stop the Mint producing vast quantities of these coins.
All gold coins of this period are struck in 22 carat gold and are the first British coins to have legends in plain English.
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