Sun_Mintmark, 1649 thru 1657
Anchor_Mintmark, 1658 to 1660
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Coin Catalogue of Cromwell and Commonwealth of England Coinage issued between 1649 and 1660.

Sometimes referred to as "breeches money" this type of late hammered coinage was minted in England after a period of civil war which culminated in the beheading of King Charles I in London in 1649. For more information LINK

Hammered coins from the early years of this period bear no portrait of a king or queen for there was none. Instead there is a simple puritan design. The reverse depicts co-joined shields of England and Ireland, with a date above and the legend  "GOD WITH VS". The obverse bears the legend "THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND" and a single shield in the centre with a mintmark above, to complete the legend. In 1656 the portrait of Oliver Cromwell started to appear on coinage. It wasn’t until 1660 after the return of the monarchy that King Charles II was to appear on English coinage.

This period was also a time of innovation in minting coins. The traditional hammered technique for making coinage was coming under pressure from masters of forgery who made coins from de-based metals using crude home made dies and surface silvering. It was also quite common for people to carefully cut / clip or file the edge of a coin before passing the coin on and collecting the metal removed.for their own gain - see Rogues Gallery on this website.

The solution was offered by Peter Blondeau - milled coins - with edge writing. He was commissioned to prepare samples dated 1651 using his press. Although he completed this task, producing coins of extremely high quality the mint was not inclined to accept his innovation and fought to delay the introduction of his technology.

In 1656, after repeated attempts, Peter Blondeau persuaded parliament to take up his new press techniques, when he was finally commissioned to make the "Cromwell Coinage" using dies made by Thomas Simon, with gold and silver supplied from the mint. These coins dated 1656 - the gold fifty shillings which is exceptionally rare, a more common lower weight gold Broad made using the same dies, and around 100 silver halfcrowns - were produced and circulated within parliament.

During 1657 there was a Trial of the Pix, where retained coins from the mint were tested for both weight and metal purity. The mintmark sun which had been the universal mintmark was changed after the trial to an anchor mintmark which was used for the remaining years 1658 to 1660.

Peter Blondeau was to make one final series of silver Cromwell coins using dies supplied again by Thomas Simon but this time dated 1658. The halfcrown die was a re-make of the 1656 die with slight modifications to both the obverse and the reverse which had the effect of making the final coin more robust for general circulation. Production costs must have been significant as the denominations chosen for this milled series were all the high silver values - crown, halfcrown and shilling. A handful of Cromwell sixpences were also made and nothing at all below that value. These milled coins were made in significant numbers but not without production problems. The Cromwell silver crown of 1658 is notable for a die crack in the lower half of the coin.

Oliver Cromwell died while Peter Blondeau was producing milled coins in 1658. In the remaining years the mint reverted to making hammered coinage which seems to have been produced in very small quantities with poor quality materials before the monarchy was restored in 1660.

This website is an attempt to put together images of coins from this period. When completed this site should be an excellent reference tool for all coin collectors. Photographs of coins are high resolution images seen best when downloaded, saved and opened as a graphics file. Alternatively if your browser has “Image Zoom” you should consider using this feature as an option. Try now on one of the coin images to the right hand side.

The catalogue of images for coinage of this period has been sub-divided by denomination using English Silver Coinage (ESC) references for silver coinage. For gold coinage a similar format has been followed except there are no reference numbers.

More information sections will be completed as time allows. Recently sections on medals, die orientation, and Cromwell Portraits have been added. Also the ESC section has been expanded to recognise varieties not listed in the 1992 edition of ESC by Alan Rayner.

In the meantime should you possess a coin which is missing from this site please contact us so we might include pictures of your coin to make this reference guide more complete for everyone.

Enjoy and spread the word about this new reference website.


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1649 Silver Hammered Halfcrown

1649 Silver Halfcrown

1651 Blondeau Milled Halfcrown

1651 “Blondeau” Halfcrown

Cromwell Milled Halfcrown

Cromwell Halfcrown, 1658

The obverse of a hammered halfcrown bearing the mintmark sun in use from 1649 to 1657

1651-57 Sun Mintmark

The obverse of a hammered halfcrown bearing the mintmark anchor in use from 1658 to 1660

1658-60 Anchor Mintmark

Website Images of Commonwealth of England coinage include

1649 Gold Unite
1650 Gold Unite
1651 Gold Unite
1652 Gold Unite
1653 Gold Unite
1654 Gold Unite
1655 Gold Unite
1656 Gold Unite
1657 Gold Unite
1660 Gold Unite

1649 Silver Crown

1651 Silver Crown
1652 Silver Crown
1653 Silver Crown
1654 Silver Crown
1655 Silver Crown
1656 Silver Crown

1660 Silver Crown

1649 Double Crown
1650 Double Crown
1651 Double Crown
1652 Double Crown
1653 Double Crown

1656 Double Crown

1660 Double Crown

1649 Gold Crown
1650 Gold Crown
1651 Gold Crown
1652 Gold Crown
1653 Gold Crown
1654 Gold Crown


1649 Silver Halfcrown

1651 Silver Halfcrown
1651 Blondeau Halfcrown
1652 Silver Halfcrown
1653 Silver Halfcrown
1654 Silver Halfcrown
1655 Silver Halfcrown
1656 Silver Halfcrown
1657 Silver Halfcrown
1658 Silver Halfcrown
1659 Silver Halfcrown
1660 Silver Halfcrown

1649 Silver Shilling

1651 Silver Shilling
1651 Blondeau Shilling
1652 Silver Shilling
1653 Silver Shilling
1654 Silver Shilling
1655 Silver Shilling
1656 Silver Shilling
1657 Silver Shilling
1658 Silver Shilling
1659 Silver Shilling
1660 Silver Shilling

1649 Silver Sixpence

1651 Silver Sixpence
1651 Blondeau Sixpence
1652 Silver Sixpence
1653 Silver Sixpence
1654 Silver Sixpence
1655 Silver Sixpence
1656 Silver Sixpence
1657 Silver Sixpence
1658 Silver Sixpence
1659 Silver Sixpence
1660 Silver Sixpence

Oliver Cromwell Milled Coinage images include -

1656 Oliver Cromwell Gold Broad half Broad and Fifty Shillings
1656 Cromwell Silver Halfcrown
1658 Cromwell Silver Crown
1658 Cromwell Silver Halfcrown
1657 Cromwell Silver Halfcrown
1658 Cromwell Silver Shillin