Welcome to Cromwell Coins covering coins from the period  of THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND.
Oliver Cromwell

Last updated May 2013

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Sun Mintmark, 1649 thru 1657
Anchor Mintmark, 1658 to 1660
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Copyright NE, 2006

“Fine Work” Hammered Coinage

A fine work shilling from 1651. to be compared with the Blondeau milled shilling..

             Pierre Blondeau with his patented milling techniques placed pressure on the Mint to produce higher quality coins using hammered techniques. It was accepted that cost of production was an issue in which the quality/cost relationship was going to be the key to persuading others to adopt the new milling technology. There were two crucial years - 1651 and 1656 - where the mint came under pressure to accept Pierre Blondeau’s production method. Above is a “fine work” shilling which was produced using carefully selected new dies which were perfect in every detail for 1651 coinage to produce an example of how good hammered production could be.

             Below is a “fine work” hammered halfcrown produced again to compete with the newer milling techniques. In this example however the dies are not correct in every detail showing some strange anomalies to coinage of that year - small sixes in the date being a good example of what was different on the reverse die, and the style of “W” being an example of what is different on the obverse side. There are no obvious explanations for these differences. One could assume given these details that these dies could have been prepared in 1654 and used in 1656.

A fine work halfcrown from 1656 to be compared with the 1656 Cromwell halfcrown.

           Only a handful of “fine work” pieces were actually made. This fact alone should have alerted the decision makers that hammered techniques, although capable of making good quality specimens could only achieve this in very limited numbers under strictly controlled conditions. Pierre Blondeau on the other hand produced around 100 identical sample pieces in a test run.

           The obverse and reverse dies once used, were placed into regular production so there are pieces existing which use either the obverse or reverse die only. These are not “fine work” specimens - see below for an example where the reverse die in use appears to be the “fine work” die.

Reverse die in use in normal production with a different obverse die.

Orientation 10h

Orientation 5h