Nearly all coins produced until 1662 on the territorry that is now the UK and Ireland were hammered.
By law, the face value of Hammered English coins had had to correspond to its precious metal content and so, for example, a coin valued at twenty shillings would have to contain twenty shillings’ worth of precious metal content. If a coin was underweight or of low fineness it was, in effect, not worth its face value and, by issuing such inferior coins, a dishonest moneyer could make extra profit. This problem was addressed by having the name of the moneyer and mint included in the reverse legend so that any substandard coins could be attributed to their maker – a practice which continued up to the reign of Henry III and a few issues of Edward I. The collector might note that, as a general rule, the moneyer's name is found first on all issues and is usually followed by ‘on’ (meaning ‘of’) and the name of the mint. So, for example, the reverse legend might read ‘Ricard on Lund’.
In virtually all hammered issues the bust of the reigning monarch is to be found on the obverse with his or her name and, normally, title in the legend. The reverse usually bears some design and often the name of the town in which the coin was minted.
As the name suggests hammered coins, were made by placing the flan for the coin between two dies and striking the top die with a hammer so that the details from the dies would be impressed on the flan of the coin. The bottom die was fixed into a wooden table or stool, while the top die was held by the moneyer, the top die was hit, probably several times and the coin was re-weighed to ensure the flan had not been damaged; the coin was then ready for circulation. It is probable that larger hammered coins such as Charles I silver pounds were struck with the silver flan heated so as to make the silver more supple.
Hammered silver coins, as well as gold hammered coins, were often clipped, the fraudulent practice of cutting small parts off the edge of the coin. Individuals would then pass the coin on, having made a profit to themselves and a loss for the Crown. It was also considered an act of high-treason to clip coins, if you were found to be guilty of clipping coins you could expect to be hung if you were male, or burnt alive if you were a female.
Clipped coins are worth less to collectors too, although some can be considered Rare even if they have been clipped. If you’re looking for Rare Hammered Coins we have some under the category Rare Hammered Silver Coins. But be warned, these coins are worth a pretty penny. After all, they are rare...
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