The Pattern Farthings of 1654
On pages 12, 13, and 52 to 58 of this work, we have
already given several particulars of pattern farthings of Cromwell's period. There
remain, however, a few others to be described, all bearing Oliver's head,
and probably made in the year 1658. The circumstances which caused
certain persons to strike patterns for farthings about this time, are detailed
on page 52 above. No regular copper coinage was issued by the government during the Protectorate,
nor indeed until 1672, but various patterns
were made and offered to the authorities for approval.
There are five varieties of the farthings with Oliver's portrait, all
evidently the work of the same engraver, and all probably coined in 1658.
Type I. has already been fully described under the year 1651; see
plate i, no. 5, and pages 12, 13, above. We have there given the reasons
why this farthing cannot possibly have been made in 1651, and why it
must probably have been struck in 1658.
Type II. is very similar to Type I. It bears Obverse, a badly-executed
bust of Oliver in profile to the left, laureate, and with drapery round the
neck. An inner circle, of a cable pattern, nearly surrounds the bust.
Legend--OLIVAR · PRO · ENG · SC · IRL. Reverse, garnished and
crowned shield of arms, like that on Type I., and inner circle as on the
obverse. Legend--CHARITIE AND CHANGE. There are small
lozenges between the words of both legends. Copper; diameter ·85 of an
inch. Edge plain. See plate iv., no. 6.
It is engraved in--the Earl of Pembroke's plates, 1746, part, iv.,
tab. 20; G. Vertue's Works of Thomas Simon, 1753, plate xxvi, no. 8;
T. Snelling's View of the Copper Coin and Coinage of England, 1766, plate 6,
no. 10 (but with IRE for IRL on the obverse, and all the lozenges omitted
in the legends); Folkes's and Ruding's plates of Silver Coins, plate xxxii.,
Although rare, the farthing of this second type is the most frequently
met with of all Oliver's pattern farthings. Copper specimens are preserved
in the British Museum, the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow, and in several
private collections. When in very fine preservation it has sold for £10,
Mr. E. Hawkins's sale, 1868, lot 34.
Type III. Obverse, nearly similar to Type II., but from a different die:
The inner circle entirely surrounds the bust, and the letters of the legend
are wider apart. There is also a mullet, or five-pointed star, at the commencement
of the legend. Reverse, exactly similar to Type II. Copper;
diameter ·85 inch. Edge plain. See plate iv., no. 7.
This type has never before been published, and we have only heard
of three or four specimens. Our illustration is taken from a very fine
example in Mr. William Brice's collection, which was formerly in the
Thomas and Bergne cabinets. Mr. S. Addington also has one, but struck
in silver, perhaps the only pattern farthing of Oliver in that metal. A
slightly rubbed specimen, in copper, is in the Museum of the Royal Mint,
London. The British Museum, however, does not possess an example of
this Type III.
Type IV. Obverse, exactly similar to, and from the same die as the
obverse of Type II. Reverse, three pillars tied together, typifying the
three countries of England, Scotland, and Ireland. On the tops of the
pillars are placed the emblems of each nation: a cross (for England) being
on the left hand pillar, a thistle (for Scotland) on the right hand one, and
a harp (for Ireland) on the central pillar. The initial of the maker "·R·"
is below the central pillar. There is also an inner circle of a cable pattern.
Legend--THVS VNITED INVINCIBLE, with small lozenges after the
two first words, and a mullet after the last. Copper; diameter ·85 inch.
Edge plain. See plate iv., no. 8.
It is engraved in--T. Snelling's View of the Copper Coin and Coinage
of England, 1766, plate 6, no. 8 (but the small R and the lozenges are
omitted on the reverse); Folkes's and Ruding's plates of Silver Coins, plate
xxxii., no. 11 (the small R also omitted).
This Type IV. is also very scarce, being somewhat rarer than Type II.
Specimens have realized £8. 12s., Col. Durrant's sale, 1847, and £10, Mr.
E. Hawkins's sale, 1868.
Among the many pattern farthings of this period there are two (supposed
to have been made during the Commonwealth, but before Oliver was
Protector), which have their obverses similar to the reverse of this Type
IV. of Oliver. They are evidently the work of the same man, whose initial
"R" is under the central pillar. The first Commonwealth farthing has
Obverse, three pillars, legend, etc., exactly similar to the reverse of Oliver's
farthing of Type IV. Reverse, a three-masted ship sailing to the left,
within an inner circle of a corded or cable pattern. Legend--AND GOD
DIRECT OVR CORSE, with lozenges after the three first words, and
mint-mark a mullet after CORSE. Copper; diameter ·9 inch, and similar
to no. 7, plate 6, of Snelling's View of the Copper Coin. The second Commonwealth
farthing only differs from the first in not having the small "R"
under the pillars on the obverse, and in reading COVRS instead of
CORSE. It is similar to no. 9, plate xxvi, of G. Vertue's Works of
Type V. Obverse, exactly similar to the obverse of Type II. Reverse,
a three-masted ship sailing to the left, with a flag on the stern and one on
each mast. An inner circle of a cable pattern is around the design
Legend--AND GOD DIRECT OVR CORSE, with small lozenges between
the words. A mullet at the commencement of the legend. Diameter,
including border, ·9 inch. See plate iv., no. 9.
The specimen here illustrated, and the only one which we have seen,
is in the British Museum. It is made of copper gilt, but has a white
metal edge of a chain pattern. This farthing is also engraved in Folkes's
and Ruding's plates of Silver Coins, plate xxxii, no. 12; but the engraving
reads COVRS instead of CORSE, and the chain border is not
The reverse of this farthing, Type V., is similar to that of a Commonwealth pattern
just mentioned, and which is engraved in Snelling's View of
the Copper Coin, plate vi, no. 7.
All the five types of Oliver's pattern farthings are clearly the work of
the same engraver, but a mere glance at the badly-drawn portraits and the
coarse execution of the details will convince any one that the artist was
not Thomas Simon.
However, on the reverse of Type IV., as well as on the obverse of a
specimen of Type I., [According to Mr. J. H. Burn, Catalogue of the Beaufoy
Cabinet of Tokens, 2nd edit, 1855, p. lvi., note.] is found a small letter R,
which all numismatists consider to be the initial of the engraver or maker of these
farthings. This affords one some clue, and Mr. Burn and others have supposed it to be the
mark of Thomas Rawlins, the royalist die-sinker, who was engraver to
Charles I.'s mint at Oxford during the Civil Wars. But besides the improbability
of a royalist making patterns for the Protector's coins, Mr. Burn
himself shows that Rawlins was scarcely in a position to be able to make
the pattern farthings of Oliver at the time when they actually were made,
for a letter written by Rawlins on the 27th February, 1657-8, proves that
he was then in extreme distress, and imprisoned in a low prison in London
called the "Hole in St. Martin's." [Idem, p. 137.]
From a very careful comparison of Oliver's farthings with all the
other patterns of the Commonwealth period, the Author has come to the
conclusion that the Protector's five pattern farthings were really made by
David Ramage, one of the Moneyers of the Mint in the Tower of London,
whose name the initial R will equally well suit. On page 68 above, we
have mentioned a pattern farthing which is undoubtedly the work of
Ramage, as can be proved by the documentary and other evidence given
on pages 65-68.
Now the execution of this farthing, and the style of the lettering upon
it, are identical with those of Oliver's pattern farthings; and, from the
striking similarity of workmanship, we have not the slightest doubt that
the five patterns with Oliver's head, as well as several other pattern farthings
of the Commonwealth and Charles II. were made by Ramage.
Those engraved in Snelling's View of the Copper Coin, plate 6, nos. 3, 6,
7, 8, 9, and 10, are all his work. Our belief that Ramage, who was a
regular workman of the Mint, was also a well-known maker of farthings at
this period is further confirmed by a passage we have discovered in a contemporary tract--
"And by his [Violet's] own Confession (before severall Witnesses)
the chief Abettor and Assistor of him with money at present or lately,
to carry on these his mischievous designs is, one Rammage Farthing-maker
in the Tower, whose aime in all thia business is, To suppress all Tools for
making Farthings but his own; the said Rammage having proffered a large
weekly Sum to be paid to one party, if all the Presses for making Farthings
may be but taken away about London but only his, that so he may have
the sole Trade in his hands."--Page 6 of The Great Trappaner of England
Discovered, being a true Narrative of many dangerous and abominable practises of
of one Thomas Violet, Goldsmith, to Trappan the Jewes, etc. London, printed
1660, small quarto.
The above information appears almost sufficient to justify our identification
of Ramage with the "R---" who made the pattern farthings of Oliver Cromwell. [There
is a curious notice of Ramage's family in Record Book No. IV. in the Mint. It seems
that he died in 1662, and on the 5th November in that year a warrant was issued
by Charles II., ordering the removal from the Mint buildings of "the widow and children
of David Ramage, who, as Wee are informed, have obstructed Our Service and been very obstinate."]
The following entry in tbe Council Book doubtless refers to some proposals
for making farthings, but, besides the particulars given on pages
52-54 above, we can find no other
notice of the matter among the State Papers of Oliver's Protectorate--
Thursday, 13th May, 1658,--"Upon reading the humble petition of
Sr Thomas Vyner and Edward Backwell, Goldsmiths, for the makeing of
small money, &c. Ordered, That the same be referred to ye Lord Sydenham,
Lord Mountagu, Lord Richard Cromwell, Lord Jones, Earle of Mulgrave, Lord Disbrow,
Mr Secretary, or any two of them to consider thereof,
and report their opinion therein to ye Councell."--Page 616, Entry Book,
No. 106, of the Protector Oliver's Council of State.
The Report thus ordered cannot now be found