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Obverse of 1658 Cromwell Crown
Obverse of 1658 Cromwell Crown

Reverse of 1658 Cromwell Crown
Reverse of 1658 Cromwell Crown

Close up of Figure 8 of Date Showing Traces of the Figure 7 Beneath

Close up of Figure 8 of Date Showing Traces of the Figure 7 Beneath

Oliver Cromwell Crown
It always seems strange to us that the coin issues of the "Commonwealth of England" from 1649 to 1660 carried no portrait. Charles I had been beheaded on January 30th 1649. The civil war had been fought to curb the excesses of monarchs, and the new coins symbolically reflected the removal of the King's head. The puritans and other groups were very socialistic and would appear to have actively avoided placing any portrait on their new coins because of their beliefs. As early as 1653, the monarchy had been restored in all but name, with Cromwell holding the power. Cromwell's title changed from Lord General of the Army to that of Lord Protector of the Realm, it had been suggested that he be proclaimed King, but the army objected, and Cromwell wisely refused.
Oliver Cromwell died on 3rd September 1658, and was succeeded by his son Richard. The Commonwealth soon fell into disarray, and the official monarchy was restored in 1660 in the form of Charles II.

Cromwell Coins
From 1656 to 1658 a small number of coins were issued bearing Cromwell's portrait, eight different denominations in all. It is often suggested that all were patterns, but this appears to be incorrect, possibly based on the fact that only relatively few were produced, but a large proportion of the surviving coins show considerable signs of use in circulation. Some of the denominations are extremely rare, none are common, and portrait coins of Cromwell are always in demand.
The dies for all Cromwell coins were engraved by Thomas Simon, and the coins were machine made by Pierre Blondeau.

The crown, being the largest of the coins is always a favourite with collectors, and is not as expensive as most of the other denominations. Most, if not all, Cromwell crowns have a very noticeable die flaw running horizontally across the lower part of the obverse. There may be some who would consider this to be an imperfection, but we believe that die flaws actually add to the character of many coins, and can also indicate whether a particular example was struck early or late in the life of the die.

A bust of Cromwell, facing left, with a laurel wreath and a tunic.
OLIVAR D GR P ANG SCO HIB & PRO meaning Oliver Protector of England Scotland Ireland.

A quartered shield showing the arms of England Scotland and Ireland, surmounted by a large crown.
1658 PAX QUAERITUR BELLO meaning peace is sought by war.

1658 Over 1657 Overdate
Another interesting feature of this Cromwell crown is that it is an overdate. That is the date on the die has been altered by overpunching, in this case the final 8 over a 7. It does not make this any scarcer because all Cromwell crowns show the same overdate. It does however add to the general interest, as it tends to indicate that the coin was originally intended to be issued the previous year, and may have been postponed for political reasons.

Weight30.0 grams
Diameter39 mms.

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