The Oxford Crown

The Oxford Crown

Oxford Crown, 1644.  Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.


  • CAROLVS D: G: MAG: BRIT: FRANC: ET HIBER REX. 'Charles, by the grace of God king of Great Britain, France and Ireland'.
  • DEVS DISSIPENTVR INIMICI EXVRGAT. 'Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered”,  from Psalm 68.
  • RELIG. PROT. LEG. ANG. LIBER. PARL.1644 OXON. Summarising the king's ostensible war aims: to uphold the Protestant religion, the laws of England, and the liberty of Parliament.

Commentary. During the English Civil War, Charles I established his headquarters in Oxford. Between 1643 and 1646, a mint was set up in New Inn Hall, on the site now occupied by St. Peter’s College.  Much of the gold and silver minted into coins there came from melting down college plate.

Only eleven specimens of this particular coin are known, two of which are in the Ashmolean Museum.  Its most remarkable feature is the detailed portrayal of Oxford as viewed from the north, a cityscape unparalleled on English coinage. The city wall and moat can be seen in the foreground. On the skyline is Magdalen Tower (to the left) and the spires of St Mary's Church and All Saints Church (subsequently reconstructed, now Lincoln College Library).

Further information. Basic descriptions of this coin are available at here and here. A detailed account of the products of the Oxford mint can be found here. Colour photographs of the products of the mint are available here.

Credits: Howard Hotson (November 2016)