1648 Charles I Pontefract Shilling

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Charles I (1625 – 49) , Pontefract besieged, posthumous shilling, 1648, in the name of Charles II, CAROL:II:D:G:MAG:BF:ET:H:REX around, HANC:DE VS:DEDIT in two lines in centre, crown above and date below, rev. POST:MORTEM:PATRIS:PRO:FILIO, castle gateway, central tower with flag divides PC, OBS to left (S.3151; N.2649; SCBI Brooker 1235, same dies)

An incredible piece of civil war numismatic art. Struck from cut silver plate and made after the execution of Charles I. The wonderful details of both the obverse and reverse excellently formed and the intricately engraved brickwork on the castle superbly well struck and in high relief. Virtually Extremely fine and  very very rare in such a fantastic state of preservation !

Pontefract and the Civil War 

The medieval castle at Pontefract, in West Yorkshire, was key to the royalist hold of the region. It was besieged twice, first just before Christmas 1644, enduring bombardment; during the short periods lacking warfare the castle still lacked access to normal supplies. It was surrendered in July 1645, only to be attacked again in the early summer of 1648 during the second segment of the Civil War. The royalist army refused to surrender even after the king was captured, tried, and executed, declaring the city to be the property of the king’s son and employing the city’s motto, “Post mortem patris pro filio”, in support of the monarchy. After a continual siege of nine months, the city and castle were surrendered to Oliver Cromwell himself. Because the castle had long been poorly maintained and was difficult to defend, Parliament ordered it demolished before the year ended. J.J. North comments that the “main issue of Pontefract consists of shillings, which have a representation of the castle gateway as reverse type. As the siege continued after the death of Charles I, some of these bear the name of his son Charles II, with the inscription POST MORTEM PATRIS PRO FILIO (After the death of his father, for the son).” On the other side appears the Latin slogan HANC DEVS DEDIT (“God has given this”) and the date (very clear) below, yet another indication of the monarchy’s ancient claim to rule as its divine right. C.E. Challis illuminates the rarity of these late Civil War issues thus: “Apart from their numismatic interest, which they share with the siege-pieces struck in the beleaguered royalist fortresses at Carlisle, Newark, Pontefract and Scarborough, all the royalist provincial coinages of the civil war have one thing in common, fewness of numbers. For all his access to the silver from Wales and the plate of colleges, aristocrats and the like, Charles I never achieved a bullion supply in any way commensurate with that of Parliament. In all probability the output of all his mints during the entire conflict was no more in total than two or three average month’s output at the Tower between 1642 and 1645.”

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