An Incredible Run of Oliver Cromwell Pattern Coinage

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is thrilled to present a fantastic group of
Oliver Cromwell pattern coinage as part of the Michael Druck Collection. These
exceptional pieces will be sold the evening of Friday, January 13 near the end
of our Auction Session B. For more information please visit our website:

For centuries the British Isles have had a monarch, but for a brief period
from 1649 – 1660 this continuity was shaken. Known as the English Interregnum,
this republican era followed the English Civil War between the pro-parliament
and pro-royalist forces.  At the
conclusion of this armed conflict, King Charles I was executed and the
Commonwealth of England was established. In 1653, frustrated with the Rump
Parliament, Cromwell dissolved it and, after a proposal from Parliamentarian
John Lambert, assumed the position of Lord Protector. In this new government
Oliver Cromwell became the sole ruler of a military state a position he held until
his death in 1658 and that was subsequently held by his third son, Lord
Protector Richard Cromwell (who proved incompetent). In the seat of power
Cromwell ruled through military force. However, he was careful to avoid taking
a crown and becoming the new monarch. Oliver Cromwell’s legacy is tarnished by
his autocratic rule through his subordinate generals, the military state he
enforced, and by his violent suppression of the Irish, yet his role in holding
England together after the Civil War remains a notable achievement. The
negative factors led to a backlash against Cromwell and the Protectorate after
Cromwell’s death in 1658 from kidney stones. With the restoration of the Stuart
dynasty, the coinage Cromwell produced became an easy target, and much of the
extant Commonwealth coinage was melted and re-coined into Royal issues.

After Oliver Cromwell became the Lord Protector, a series of coins bearing
his portrait was struck from 1656 through 1658. These coins are often
considered patterns, though there is nothing in the literature to suggest that
they were not intended for use in circulation. All the coins of Cromwell are
struck by machine, from dies engraved by Thomas Simon on machinery by Pierre
Blondeau. The dies for the Cromwell portrait coinage were sold to the Dutch
after the death of Cromwell. Some imitation coins were produced right away and
after a brief series of strikings the dies were put into stasis. In the 1730s
these dies were sent back to England. John Tanner, an engraver at the Royal
Mint, re-worked these dies for usage again. He also supplemented them with a Half
Broad die, which was not originally produced in 1656.

The first pattern offered is lot 2455, a Pattern Broad struck in silver. This piece was produced
by dies cut by Thomas Simon, and was contemporary to Oliver Cromwell. The next
major pattern is lot
2457, a Pattern Half Broad. This piece is one of three incredible
Half Broad patterns in gold, with number 2457 possessing a plain edge. Lot
2458 is very similar to the preceding pattern but it features a
reeded edge. Lot
2459 differs from the other Half Broads with the “&c” absent
from the legend. This indicates that the obverse die was created by the Dutch,
and not John S. Tanner of London. Lot
2460 is a Half Broad struck in silver and it shares dies with
lot 2459, though notably earlier in their lifespan as evidenced by muted die
wear. Struck 80 years after the death of Cromwell, these Broad and Half Broad
patterns are each the sole certified examples for their respective types, with
each hailing from a population speculated to be in the single digits. Also in
this section is lot
2462, an extremely rare Six Pence pattern in silver with dies
engraved by Simon. Potentially one of the only original strikings available to
private collectors, this remains a challenging key piece in the Cromwell
series. The final Cromwell pattern is lot
2463, a Pattern Farthing with dies engraved by David Ramage. Each
piece in the series is at minimum classified as extremely rare. In addition to
these patterns, the Michael Druck Collection features a few pieces of regular
issue Cromwell coinage, some medals and a Broad “Die Squeeze in Lead.” This offering
will surely have great appeal for any collector of Cromwell, Pattern coinage,
or English coinage, so be sure to peruse the full auction sessions in the
printed catalog or online.

While we are no longer accepting consignments for our New York
International Auction, we are accepting consignments of world and ancient coins
as well as world paper money for our May 2017 Collector’s Choice Online Auction
and August 2017 ANA Auction as well as Chinese and other Asian coins and
currency for our April 2017 Hong Kong Showcase Auction. Time is running short,
so if you are interested in consigning your coins and paper currency (whether a
whole collection or a single rarity) be sure to contact one of our consignment

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