Colonel Thomas Blood, also known as 'Man who stole the Crown Jewels' - a feat that has not been repeated since the 17th C.

Col. Thomas Blood & the Theft of the Crown Jewels (9th May 1671)

Introduction You may wonder what this article has to do with coins, or Ireland. The story begins during the War of the Three Kingdoms – otherwise known as the Bishops’ War in Scotland, the Great Rebellion in Ireland, and the English Civil War. After the execution of Charles I in 1649 many of his Crown…

Isaac Newton in a 1702 portrait by Godfrey Kneller

Sir Isaac Newton, Master of the Royal Mint (1699-1727)

Introduction: Sir Isaac Newton is, perhaps, best known as an English physicist and mathematician who is widely recognised as one of the most influential scientists of all time and as a key figure in the scientific revolution.   His book “Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy”, first published in 1687, laid the foundations for classical mechanics Newton made…

Arrival of the English Flagship Royal Charles, painting by Jeronymus van Diest II from the Rijksmuseum Amsterdam (note the Dutch flag at the rear and English flag flying upside down from the main mast)

Financial Crisis (1667) avoided by Charles II, via London Goldsmiths’ Loans

Background After a brief hiatus of experimentation with a pseudo-republican government under Oliver Cromwell, the English monarchy was reinstated in 1660 but Charles II began his reign with vastly reduced powers, especially in the realm of taxation – responsibility for which had been transferred to Parliament. This was a major restriction on Charles II and…

Charles II, King of England, Scotland and Ireland, by John Riley

Banking Collapse in London (1676) as Charles II Defaults on Royal Loans

Background The Great Stop of 1672 caused five of the leading London Goldsmiths to go bust, drastically affected nine others, and ‘financially embarrassed over 10,000 wealthy families in England. The Great Stop effectively ended the ‘cosy relationship’ between the king and a small clique of private bankers that thrived on the Crown’s inability to generate…

Portrait of King Charles II, by John Riley

Monetary Crisis (1660), as Charles II Fixes Exchange Rates for Foreign Coins in Ireland

Introduction Though fresh attempts were being made in the reign of Charles II to strengthen Britain’s currency, these efforts did not prevent the monetary crisis of the 1680s which saw a fast decline of England’s currency on the international exchange markets. The basic unit of account was the pound sterling defined as the equivalent of 240 pennies…

Portrait of King Charles II, by John Riley

Proclamation of Charles II, 1672 (making current Royal Farthings and Halfpennys)

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. Charles R. Whereas of late years several Persons and Corporations, upon…