Oliver Cromwell gold broad sells for $11,000 in UK coin auction

An Oliver Cromwell gold broad has starred as the highest selling lot in a UK auction of coins and medals held yesterday (February 18).

Oliver Cromwell gold broad
Milled Cromwellian coins were introduced as the previous hammered coins were too easy to forge

The coin, which was milled in 1656, sold for £7,000 ($10,844) to meet its low estimate. Due to Cromwell's short lived reign, Commonwealth of England coinage is very scarce.

After Oliver Cromwell had signed King Charles I's death warrant following the English civil war, he was appointed as the 1st lord protector of the Commonwealth of England. The country had changed from a monarchy to a republic almost overnight and as such, new coins had to be produced with a simple puritan design.

The first coins minted under Cromwell's rule, known as "breeches money", were hammered, meaning that they were produced by hand. However, the simplistic design was easily forged and Peter Blondeau was soon commissioned to produce superior milled coins with edge writing, such as the example at auction.

Employing dies made by Thomas Simon, Blondeau used a new form of press to produce coins bearing the bust of Cromwell on the obverse, the quality of which had never been seen before. The reverse shows the crowned shield of the protectorate.

The example at auction, worth 20 shillings, was sold in "very fine or better" condition. These coins were produced in a very low number and were once considered to have been patterns, though current thought suggests that they were actually intended for circulation.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has a remarkable Charles I emergency issue shilling for sale, which was struck in the city of Carlisle as Cromwell's men besieged it.  

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