Silver shilling of Charles I
Stuart, issued around 1638
Charles I ascended the throne in 1625 on the death of his father James I. His reign saw a power struggle between king and parliament. In 1629, following its dissolution, Charles chose to rule without parliament. England was split between supporters of parliament and royalists, which led to Civil War breaking out in 1642. The parliamentarian army, formed by Oliver Cromwell, defeated the royalists after which Charles was captured, tried and eventually beheaded in 1649. The coinage reflects the upheavals of the reign and is varied and extensive. Before the Civil War, virtually all coins were struck at the Tower Mint in London, as was this example. The obverse shows the king's portrait with the legend CAROLVS D G MAG BRI FR ET HIB REX - Charles, by the Grace of God, king of Great Britain, France and Ireland. The value of the coin is shown in Roman numerals behind the portrait - XII (12d).The reverse of this type bears the legend CHRISTO AVSPICE REGNO - I reign under the auspices of Christ.