Coin Collecting Tips: Charles II (1660 – 1685) Halfcrowns

The first machine-struck halfcrown was issued in 1663, the year after the issue of the first crown, on whose design by Roettier it is based. The new minor silver coinage was not universally popular. Pepys records in his diary for 23 November 1663 that the financier Blackwell found it ‘deadly inconvenient for telling, it is so thick and the edges are made to turn up’. The issue of halfcrowns continued for over twenty years, broken only in 1665 during the Great Plague, and used a design which continued throughout the reign with only minor modifications. It is believed that the ravages of the plague were also responsible for the low issue of halfcrowns up to 1664 and possibly other dates.

Provenance marks used in the series are: elephant and castle (or elephant) denoting silver from the Africa Company; plume for silver Welsh mines.

Although a prolific issue spanning almost a quarter of a century, the halfcrowns were well circulated and few survive in near-perfect condition. A good fine condition specimen is, however, still an attractive coin, and many collectors will content themselves with such a piece to represent each date or type.

There are a number of interesting varieties and is prudent to examine all aspects of a coin, including the edge, when contemplating a purchase. Specimens of 1670 should always be checked for the MRG reverse, as this coin does turn up occasionally. Very fine or better specimens of this series required by serious collectors are comparatively expensive owing to their scarcity and the high demand for them. This Very Fine example is available on our website. If it’s missing in your collection…



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