Petition Crown

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Petition Crown
England
Value Crown
Mass 33.1 g
Diameter 40 mm
Years of minting 1663
Obverse
Designer Thomas Simon
Reverse

The Petition Crown is a crown coin created in 1663 by Thomas Simon, an English medalist, then engraver of the king's seals at the Royal Mint. The coin was submitted directly to Charles II, King of England as Simon's personal 'petition' that only his coin should be considered as the new format for all future British coinage.

Charles II, recently returned to England in 1660 after his exile abroad, commissioned a trial from the then-official engravers to the Royal Mint for this prestigious project. Eager to take the opportunity Simon submitted his silver prototype. It carried his name beneath the King's head, and his petition engraved in 200 letters in two lines around the coin's rim (which is only 3.5mm in depth) reading:

THOMAS SIMON MOST HVMBLY PRAYS YOVR MAJESTY TO COMPARE THIS HIS TRYALL PIECE WITH THE DVTCH AND IF MORE TRVLY DRAWN & EMBOSS'D MORE GRACE; FVLLY ORDER'D AND MORE ACCURATELY ENGRAVEN TO RELIEVE HIM.

The marking of the edges of coins as a guard against clipping was only now being adopted in England. Although the coin came too late for King Charles to alter his plans, due to Simon's being in France, Simon produced an extraordinary specimen which today is in the Geoffrey Cope Collection. Another example is on exhibition at the American Numismatic Association museum in Colorado Springs, USA. It is believed that twelve original issues of the Petition Crown are extant today, with nine in museums.[1]

Simon's coin shows the bust of King Charles II draped in his flowing hair and laurel leaves, with his celebrated lovelock over his right shoulder. The portrait even shows the shadows of the King's veins on his neck. The inscription reads CAROLVS II. DEI. GRA and on the reverse are crowned shields of England, Scotland, Ireland and France, arranged in the form of a cross, with garter and a picture of St. George in the center. There are two C's interlinked in each angle. The reverse of the coin is slightly convex and the obverse concave to show the King as a stronger feature of the coin.

A sale of this coin was recorded for £12 in 1775, since then this coin's rarity has seen it become one of the most valuable British coins. In 2007 a sale of the coin for £207,100 set a new record for a British silver coin at auction.[2]

However, on 27th March, 2014 a similar crown known as the "Reddite" Crown also produced by Thomas Simon sold at Spinks in London for £396,000 including commission becoming the new world record for a British silver coin at auction.[3]

The Reddite and Petition Crowns are both struck from the same pair of dies with the only difference between them being the edge inscription. The resulting 'Petition' and 'Reddite' Crowns have long been admired as masterpieces of the engravers' art and are among the most desirable coins of the entire English milled silver series. Though the Roettier brothers continued to produce the dies for the crowns, the influence of these patterns by Thomas Simon can clearly be seen, particularly in the revised portrait that appeared in 1664 which is strongly reminiscent of Simon's ground-breaking portrait.

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