1651 Shilling – Commonwealth


The 1651 Shilling - Commonwealth

A silver shilling minted at the Tower (London) mint and dated 1651. Diameter is 32mm and weight of 6.11g. SCBC 3217. This coin graded as VF.

The mint mark is a Sun. See further below for explanation of the Commonwealth coins.

This coin has been cleaned and is starting to re-tone again.

The Reverse shows two coats-of-arms showing the cross of St George and the harp of Ireland. Date at top. 'XII' is a mark of value, 12 pence or one shilling.

The Obverse shows a shield with the cross of St George. Mint mark of a Sun at top. Legend in plain English.

Image credit: CNGCoins


Mintage: Not known
Minted at The Royal Mint.
Remember 1651 ?
No Monarch. England was run by a Parliament called the 'First Commonwealth Rump'. However, Charles II is crowned as King of Scotland at Scone. The English Civil War (1642-1651) continued until September when Charles II lost the Battle of Worcester. Charles hid in the Royal Oak tree at Boscobel House in Shropshire before escaping to France. On a lighter note, the first ever coffee house opens in Oxford.
Oliver Cromwell / Commonwealth (1649-1660)
Oliver Cromwell was not a Monarch but an English military and political leader and later Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland, and Ireland. As such his name did appear on coins. The actual monarch was Charles I, whom Cromwell was key in having executed.

Cromwell was an MP but after one year King Charles didn't recall Parliament for nearly 11 years. Eventually the chasm between King and Parliament led to a Civil War. Oliver Cromwell was a talented military leader and won several battles with the Royalists, eventually defeating them and putting the King on trial leading to Charles I being put to death.

Cromwell as Protectorate (1653-1658) was a controversial figure. He deposed the Monarchy yet replaced it with his own ruthless, tyrannical rule. He signed himself 'Oliver P' (P for Protector) as in the style of Monarchs; he was referred to as 'his majesty' and paid himself £100,000 per year, which was a lot of money in the 1650s.

He was offered the Crown for the Monarchy in 1657 to help get stability back to the country, but eventually turned it down. After a short illness in 1658 he died, and his son Richard became Lord Protector but that didn't last long and Richard resigned in 1659. The monarchy was restored in 1660 when Charles II returned from exile. Oliver Cromwell's body (or what they thought was his body) was exhumed and posthumously executed.

Also in this category are 'Commonwealth' coins. These were issued between 1649 and 1660. They had no portraits, instead showing the Cross of St George and the Harp of Ireland. The inscriptions were in English rather than Latin so not as to be seen as associating with the Catholic Church. The Commonwealth coins often carried mint marks: 1649-57 was a Sun, and 1658-1660 was an Anchor. The anchor shows the protectorship was that of Richard Cromwell, Oliver's son.
General Description: Shillings
The Shilling (written 1/-) is one-twentienth of a pound, worth 12 old pence (5 new pence). It is traditionally a silver coin, but since 1947 it has been made from cupro-nickel. Shillings are known as 'Bobs'.

Shillings are old coins and the English shilling has been around since about 1549, although there were 12 pence coins before that called Testoons from about 1489. The British shillings was the continuation from 1707.

After decimalisation on 15 February 1971, the coin was replaced by the five new pence piece. Originally, the 5p coin was the same size as the shilling but was later made much smaller.
Which Mint: The Royal Mint
The Royal Mint is the designated place for the UK to mint coins. It dates back well over 1000 years and is a Government-owned company. 

Formed in the reign of Alfred the Great about the year 886, during the period 1279-1812 it was generally referred to as The Tower Mint as it was housed at the Tower of London. The Master of The Royal Mint has included famous figures such as Sir Isaac Newton.

Since 2010 it has operated as Royal Mint Ltd, a company owned by HM Treasury, under an exclusive contract to supply all coinage for the UK although it also produces medals and coins for other countries. It is currently located at Llantrisant, Wales.

There is also an on-line shop at The Royal Mint Shop.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
The United Kingdom (UK) is the Union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is often refered to as Great Britain (GBR). It has a long, rich history.

The orignal coinage was Pounds, Shillings and Pence but since decimalisation on 15 February 1971, it is £1 = 100p, that is One Pound = 100 pence. The coinage of the UK is also a long history, the Royal Mint being established as long ago as 886AD when coins were hammered. Today there is perhaps 30 billion coins in circulation, and many (numismatic) collectors coins and sets are issued frequently in gold, silver and other metals.
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