King Charles I shilling struck during the English Civil War sells for world record price at auction
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A King Charles I shilling struck during the English Civil War has sold for the world record price of £12,600 at auction. The 380-year-old silver coin had a notional value of only five pence - but shocked auctioneers by selling for triple its estimated price.
The mint condition piece, made in York by his royal supporters, fetched a new world record for a York-made coin dating to the English Civil War. The coin depicts a profile of King Charles I wearing armour and a crown on one side, and a coat of arms on the other.
The coin has survived in pristine condition, most recently being held in the cabinet of a local Yorkshire academic. The auction also saw a ‘biscuit size’ Charles I pound coin from 1642 sell for £23,560.
Gregory Edmund, the Tudor and Civil War Coin Consultant at Spink of London Auctioneers, said: "With all eyes on the forthcoming coronation, it is no surprise to see record prices being paid by collectors for the rarest Royal heirlooms, particularly those with such emotive history as these fascinating Civil War coins.”
Royal supporters would keep effigies and coins of the king during Oliver Cromwell’s rule after he had helped overthrow the monarchy. Coins at the time would often depict the King as an armoured warrior or on horseback trampling weaponry, as he led his army into battle against Parliament.
Charles I reigned between 1625-1649 and became the only King to be condemned to death for treason in British history. The coins were made during a period of intensive conflict around the country, with the new Royal capital sited in Oxfordshire.
During the civil wars emergency currencies were often issued made from any precious metals available including silver plates and spoons. In the same auction, a silver pound coin from 1642 said to be the "size of a digestive biscuit" and weighing 120g sold for £23,560.
A Charles I Halfcrown struck at Hartlebury Castle, Worcester sold for £8,400. The same denomination cut from silver tableware during the siege of Newark in 1645, sold for £3,000. A silver Halfcrown struck at Bristol in 1644 made £1,560.