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14.02.2021

Abbotsham Hoard

Another example of this relatively rare bird is the Abbotsham - Commonwealth hoard. Because the Commonwealth cases were dismantled and ordered to be returned to the mint for the restoration of Charles II, they are rarely seen except for those relatively rare hoards that were laid in the 1650s. (The minting of Commonwealth coins was announced on September 7, 1661, and was largely completed by the late summer of 1662.)  Since Scottish and Irish issues constituted a regular, if not small, proportion of English currency of this period, it is perhaps not surprising that the West Country hoard contains an Irish element, but not a Scottish one. 

The two Spanish-American coins in this group are a type of coin not often found in mid-seventeenth-century hoards, but there have been some instances (e.g., in a hoard circa 1644 from Barton, Lanes), and documentary sources from this period also refer to their presence.35 The two coins are of the same type. However, the latter spent some time in Brazil because they bear the countermark of the crown and "480" (i.e., 480 ricas) used there in the period 1643-52 after Portuguese independence from Spain was restored, since Spanish coins were the bulk of the local currency and would have to continue in use for several years (although with a 20 percent increase in value) until Portuguese coinage was restored. The nominal value of English and Irish silver coins in the middle of the seventeenth century was £17 12 pennies. 

Spanish pieces of eight (8 sales) were valued at . 8d. in the 1640s, and, assuming a similar level in the 1650s, they would have added 9s. to the value, giving silver a total of £18. Early James I gold was revalued in 1611, and in 1619 a lighter coin was introduced, a coin of two standards circulating together at different valuations. Taking this into account, the total value of the Gold in this find was £5 2 penny. Thus, in all, the nominal value of the find when deposited was 23 pounds 4 pennies. 

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