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Cromwell crown die

A handful of medieval dies have survived in the Royal Mint Museum but from the second half of the 17th century an outstanding series of punches and dies has been retained which represents an enormously valuable resource.

Una and the Lion five-pound piece


Of particular interest is the die for the obverse of the 1658 crown, which clearly displays a prominent crack across the lower half of Cromwell’s bust. It is possible to trace the course of this crack on successive coins, from a small raised feature that appears on early pieces, to the uneven jagged line apparent on later specimens. Another important feature of the die is that it was designed to be housed in a press and as such forms part of that period of transition between the abandonment of making coins using hand-held tools and the full-scale adoption of screw-press technology under Charles II.