Having had some exposure to Nicholas Briot’s earlier experiments, it is hardly surprising that Thomas Simon turned his hand to machine struck coins as well. Working with French engineer Pierre Blondeau, Simon’s skill at portraiture is clearly demonstrated on these coins of the Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell. King in all but name, it is remarkable how the design of these pieces exhibits a return to long established coinage tradition. After years of relatively plain Commonwealth coins featuring English inscriptions and a conspicuous absence of portraits, the head of a ruler is restored along with Latin inscriptions. The death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658 stalled any further work and Pierre Blondeau returned to France leaving his machinery in Simon’s care.

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