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Auction: 23006 - The Official COINEX Auction at Spink
Lot: 148

Ireland, The Great Rebellion, Confederate Catholics of Kilkenny, temp. Charles I, "Blacksmith's" Halfcrown, struck after 15 November 1642 in the style of Tower issues, + : CAROLVS · D · G · MA · BR : FR · ET · HI · REX · King on horseback riding left, holding reins and sword, with cross on housing, rev. · CHRISTO AVSPICE REGNO ·, garnished coat-of-arms; C R across field, m.m. cross pattée / harp (Nelson [1905], fig. 55 same dies; Lockett 609 same dies; Bull 20, B/2; DF 335; Spink 6557), an unusually full round specimen of this famous Royalist issue, an historic attempted piercing in centre of reverse on a richly toned flan, strictly fair at centres, nearing very fine at peripheries for issue, rare

Following the increase in racial and religious discrimination against the native Irish population during the first third of the seventeenth century, an open rebellion exploded in October 1641 as two Protestant Lords Justices had prevented the Irish parliament from passing a bill which would have alleviated Catholic grievances. Though the rebel forces failed in their attempt to seize Dublin Castle, they quickly found success at Ulster, whence the rebellion spread around the countryside. Following the outbreak of civil war between King Charles and the English parliament the next year in 1642, the rebel forces of Irish Catholics gave their support to the King, further placing them at odds with the English Protestants.

Responding to the acts of the Lords Justices, the Irish Catholics established their own council, the Catholic Confederacy at Kilkenny in 1642, as well as their own coinage during this rebellious period. Imitating royal designs, they halfcrowns, halfpence, and farthings – the so-called ‘Blacksmiths’ Money’ due to their crude manufacture. Following these centrally-produced issues, many of the ‘Cities in Refuge’ joined in coining their own local minor currency, often cruder than the Blacksmiths Money or even appearing as a counterstamp upon another coinage.

By the excellent researches of Dr. Aquilla Smith we are now satisfactorily enabled also to assign to Kilkenny those silver pieces which from their rudeness of execution are known as " Blacksmith's Halfcrowns." They were struck at Kilkenny to the amount of 4,000 under the following ordinance of " The Confederated Catholics." November 15, 1642, ''the plate of this kingdom be coined with the ordinarie stamp used in the moneyes now currant."Hence it would appear that the coin so issued is the piece described below.

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