Early Stuart Numismatics

Nearly every indenture in Charter Six deals with money. Coinage in the time of King Charles I is complex owing to inflation, new coin production techniques (milling of coins), and the new coins that were introduced only during the Civil War. While it is impossible to offer modern equivalents of Stuart money, owing to differences in the worth of various object and what money could buy, it is possible to get an idea of the relative value of money with some background on Early Stuart Numismatics. 

Troy System of Weights

The Troy System of weights is a system of measurement used for precious metals and stones. Pre-decimalized English money was measured by the Troy (named for the French market town of Troyes) system of weights. In the Troy system  480 grains =1 oz and 12 oz= 1 pound. Modern Americans, like myself, use the avoirdupois system of measurement wherein 437 1/2 grains= 1 oz and 16 oz = 1 pound.

Numismatics in Paleography

Much is owed to Latin for the way English currency was represented in writing. One penny is written “1d”, the d referred to denarius, the Latin word for “silver coin”. One shilling is written “1s”, and you may be forgiven for thinking the s stood for “shilling”, however, it actually stands for solidus. For paleographic purposes, one shilling is often be written as “1/-“, the “/” may look like a forward slash, yet it represents the long-S. One pound is represented either by the word “pound” written out or with a superscript “l” or  “ll” with a dash through it. The “l” stood for libra, representing weights and scales. For example, 100 poundes or 100ll

Shillings and Pence

King Charles I penny (9)

A penny was 1/240 of a pound.  Pennies (pence) were subdivided into:

  • Half-pennies (haypenny). Two halfpennies = one penny.
  • Farthings: one quarter of a penny. Four farthings = one penny.
  • Pence is plural for penny.

A shilling is 1/20 of a pound or 12 pennies.

Charles I 'Harp 1632-33' Tower Mint Shilling 017183

English Shilling of King Charles I (6)

Other Denominations

There were various denominations of coinage during the early Stuart era. These included Angels, Crowns, and other coins. 


Angels had been used since the reign of Edward IV in 1465, but by Charles I’s time the coin was primarily struck for the King’s personal use, often as touchpieces, as the coins were believed to heal those who touched them. (8)
  • Angels = 23k and 3 1/2 grains (by weight) worth 33-50 shillings or 1 1/2- 2 pounds, those it’s worth changes with inflation.
    • Half-Angels
      • Quarter Angels

Angel Coin (1)

Half Angel

Half-Angel Coin (2)

Coin - 1/4 Angel, Henry VIII, England, Great Britain, 1544 - 1547 (Obverse)

Quarter Angel Coin (4)


  • Crown=  five-shilling coin (5s) (made in both gold and silver during Stuart times)
  • Half-Crown= 2.5 shillings (2s 6d)

Charles I Crown Coin (in Silver)

half crown

Half Crown (3)


  • Struck for King Charles I, worth 20-23 shillings (about 1 pound and 3d).

Triple Unite

  • Worth 60 shillings (three pounds) and the largest denomination of struck coin in England. It was only struck during the English Civil War.
King Charles I, Triple Unite, (7)

King Charles I, Triple Unite, (7

Of possible interest:

Beier, A.L., “The Problem of the Poor in Tudor and Early Stuart England.” Google. RoutledgeSep 2, 2003.

Outwaithe, R.B. “Inflation in Tudor and early Stuart England.” Economic History Society. Macmillan, 1969.Citations

  1. CarlomorinoHenry VIII Angel 2. N.d. Coins of England. Wikipedia. Web. 16 July 2014.
  2. Spink. Half Angel Coin. N.d. Coins of the UK, London. Coins of the UK. Web. 16 July 2014.
  3. Elsen, Jean. Half crown, Tower Mint under the King Mintmark: triangle in circle, 1641-3. N.d. Coins of the UK, London.Coins of the UK. Web. 16 July 2014.
  4. Spink. Coin – Quarter-Angel, Henry VIII, England, 1544-1547. N.d. Coins, London.Museum Victoria. Web. 16 July 2014.
  5.  Silver Crown of Charles I (1634-1641). Coins of England, Charles I. Treasure Realm. Web 16 July 2014. 
  6. Charles I ‘Harp 1632-33’ Tower Mint Shilling. House Of Stuart Coins For Sale. Time-Lines. Web. 16 July 2014. 
  7. ClemchambersTriple Unite 1642. Coins of England. Wikipedia. Web. 16 July 2014. 
  8.  Schneider, H.  “Part IV, The Angels.”The Tower gold of Charles I. 303-330. PDF file.
  9. Elsen, Jean. Penny, Tower Mint under the King, 1625 – 1642
    Shield reverse, mintmark plume
    N.d. Coins of the UK, London.Coins of the UK. Web. 19 July 2014.

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