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Coins, Commonwealth era

  • Commonwealth coins
  • Commonwealth coins

More Info

The coin dates to the period of the Commonwealth of England, 1649 - 1660. Previously, the image of the king had been used to show that the coinage was backed by the government. However, Parliament had cut off the King's head and set up a military dictatorship under Oliver Cromwell, the 'Lord Protector'. This left a problem; how to show coins were 'legal tender'.The problem was made worse as many cities such as Carlisle which had issued their own coins when they were besieged during the Civil War.

The answer was to issue coins in the name of The Commonwealth of England. The coins were designed to fit the Puritan ethic. The language used was English, as Latin (which came back with the Restoration in 1660 and is still used today) was considered 'popish'. The design showed the shield of England and that of Ireland on one side with the inscription GOD WITH US and the date, while the other had the shield of England inside a laurel wreath and the inscription THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND.

Key facts: 
  • The Commonwealth Era (1649-1660) was the period of English history between the execution of Charles I and the return of his son Charles II from France in the Restoration.
  • Oliver Cromwell became Lord Protector of England. This coin shows the difficulty of creating a legal coin without using the traditional form of the King's head and latin script.

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