Proclamation of Charles II, Issued 16 August 1672
Making Current the Royal Farthings and Halfpennys and Forbidding the Use of All Others
By the King. A Proclamation for making currant His Majestie’s Farthings and Half-pence of Copper, and forbidding all others to be used.
Whereas of late years several Persons and Corporations, upon pretence that there wanted small moneys to be currant in low and ordinary payments amongst the poorer sort, have presumed to cause certain pieces of Brass, copper, and other Base Metals to be stamped with their private stamps; and then imposed those pieces upon our poor subjects for Pence, Halfpence, or Farthings, as the makers thereof were pleased to call them, whereby our subjects have been greatly defrauded, and our Royal authority and the laws of our kingdom violated: And whereas We, for the prevention of the like abuses for the time to come, did not only direct a severe prosecution of the offenders, but did likewise command the officers of our Mint to cause many thousands of pounds of good sterling silver to be coined into single pence and twopences, that so there might be good money currant among the poorest of our subjects, and fitted for their smaller traffic and commerce; hoping by one or both of these means, to have totally suppressed the unlawful practices of these offenders; since which time we have found by experience, that the mischief hath still increased, partly by having our small silver money bought in and hoarded up, that so there might be a scarcity thereof in common payments: but chiefly for the vast gain and profit which these stampers make to themselves, and for which they choose to run any hazards of law, rather than quit the hopes of their private lucre: we therefore taking the premises into our princely consideration, and believing that our subjects would not easily be wrought upon to accept the Farthings and Halfpence of these private stampers, if there were not some kind of necessity for such small coins to be made for public use, which cannot well be done in silver, nor safely in any other metal, unless the intrinsic value of the coin be equal, or near to that value for which it is made currant; have thought fit, by advice of our Privy Council, to cause certain farthings and halfpence of copper to be stamped at our Mint, according to such form and which such impression as we have directed: and we have given special charge to our officers there, that they cause such halfpence and farthings so to be coined, to contain as much copper in weight, as shall be of the true intrinsic value and worth of a halfpenny or farthing respectively, the charges of coining and uttering being only deducted. And we do further by this our Royal Proclamation declare, publish, and authorize the said halfpence and farthings of copper so coined and to be coined, to be currant money; and that the same, from and after this instant 16th day of August, shall pass and be received in all payments, bargains, and exchanges to be had or made between our subjects, which shall be under the value of sixpence, and not otherwise, nor in any other manner. And if any person or persons, bodies political or corporate, shall after the first day of September next, presume to make, vend, or utter any pence, halfpence and farthings, or other pieces of brass, copper, or other base metal, other than the halfpence and farthings by this our Royal Proclamation authorized and allowed, or shall offer to counterfeit and of our halfpence or farthings, we shall hold all such offenders utterly inexcusable, and shall cause their contempt of our laws and government to be chastised with exemplary severity.
Given at our Court of Whitehall, the 16th day of August, in the 24th year of our reign, 1672.
GOD SAVE THE KING!