E-Auction 37

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Closing November 18, 2020
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    The Punched Hammered Coinage of 1696

    E37, Lot 104:

    The Punched Hammered Coinage of 1696. Elizabeth I. 1558-1603. AR groat. 1.78 gm. 23 mm. Second issue. Cross-crosslet i.m. S. 2556. Worn; punched to establish its acceptance as currency. Extremely rare.

    The Great Recoinage of 1696 was an effort to combat rampant clipping of earlier hammered issues, both by issuing new coinage featuring milled edges as proof against clipping and by buying back clipped coinage based on weight. Coins that were still full weight were certified by means of a punched hole, as seen on this piece. How can we be sure this piece was holed in the 1696 recoinage? Brown notes four criteria: A full size coin with no clipping; piercing that conforms to the Act—central, no metal loss; signs of having been in circulation at least 50 years; jagged edges showing little sign of wear.

    We have no clear record of how many pieces were “rejoined” thus, though this is the first groat recorded. Many such pieces probably ended up melted as later collectors assumed the hole was merely damage. The piece is a metal-detector find along with other coins from the era of hammered coinage. It is full sized with both rings though underweight from wear; the punch is off-center but it does preserve the portrait, a preference that is arguably understandable; the wear and the date of issue more than satisfy the 50 year requirement; the edges are jagged though somewhat burnished down from minor friction after the punch.

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