Country: England, Stuart
King (reign): Charles I (1625 - 1649)
Denomination/metal: Gold Unite, Triple
Date/mint mark: 1642
Type Declaration issue, Oxford Mint.
Ref. no: Beresford Jones dies III/S2; Schneider 286; Brooker 832; N 2381; S 2724.
Obv. Crowned taller half-length armoured figure left, holding sword midway in field and long olive branch in left hand not touching upper shoulder, no scarf, Oxford plume to right, 'CAROLVS D G MAG BRIT FRAN ET HI REX'. Rev. Declaration inscription in three lines on a wavy scroll, 'RELIG PROT / LEG ANG / LIBER PAR' (Protestant Religion, Laws of England, Freedom of Parliament), three Oxford Plumes and value 'III' above, date below. 'EXVRGAT DEVS DISSIPENTVR INIMICI' (Let God arise and His enemies be scattered).
45mm, 26.92g. GVF - Good very Fine, well struck with a crisp bust, light handling marks.
The Triple Unite, valued at sixty shillings, or three pounds, was the highest English hammered denomination to be produced. It was struck at the Oxford Mint set up during the first English Civil War of 1642-6 and issued between January and March of 1643 (although dated 1642 ie in the old calender) at the hurriedly set up mint at New Inn Hall in Oxford. This huge coin was issued, at least in part, for use as gifts to those whom the King wished to 'cement' to his side in the Civil War. Thus the obverse design for the coin features an armoured bust of Charles I, with broadsword raised, and yet in visual dichotomy he bears an olive branch over his heart. Charles was visually appealing to either nature of the benefactor he was seeking to entice. The first bust on these coins was very hawkish (as on this example) and next year he had it changed to a more benevolent and softer style. On the reverse he put his famous declaration – uttered at Wellington in September 1642 when he swore to to uphold the Protestant Religion, the laws of England and the freedom of Parliament. A very rare (about two hundred are thought top be in existence) and spectacular coin! In January 1642 the 'Long Parliament had seized power in London and Charles was forced to move north. He reached Nottingham by late August but then turned west to Oxford which he reached in October and set up Court and prepared for war. On the 26th of October the Civil War commenced with the battle of Edgehill and then followed the famous battles and sieges of Naseby, Newark and Oxford. Peace negotiations in Spring 1646 came to nought the war continued into a second phase when the Scots invaded in 1648. During this time it was the King's sole right and prerogative to strike coins and to support the 'Royal Cause' supporters' plate, flatware, jewellery and any precious metal was donated to the king to turn into coin to finance the Royalist effort. Coins were struck at Oxford after the mint was hurriedly set up by Thomas Bushell in January 1643 to pay for men, arms, rent, supplies etc. for the war effort but these large gold coins, the ultimate image of Royal Power, were primarily used to procure allegiance. They were never intended to be saved and most were melted down at the end of the war to be turned into current coin – when the concept of 'kingship' had changed forever. A few survived and this rare and magnificent coin, the largest British hammered gold coin, is truly emblematic of this troubled age, the last king of England to rule by divine right.