Explore ‘Cromwell’s England’ from home

The American Numismatic Association (ANA) Money Museum has revived its 2007-08 exhibit, “Coins, Crown & Conflict: An Exploration of Cromwell’s England,” in a virtual format.

The exhibit is based on the history of the English Civil Wars and features some of numismatics’ greatest rarities, including the “petition crown,” plus several early U.S. coins. Together, they probe the period starting with the reign of Charles I and the English Civil Wars to the first years of the restored British monarchy under Charles II—all through the coins, medals, people and objects associated with Oliver Cromwell, an English general who led the Parliament of England’s armies against King Charles I during the English Civil War.

Cromwell has been the subject of speculation and research since his death 350 years ago, according to the virtual exhibit’s introduction.

“Some have praised him as a great reformer and supporter of religious freedom, while others have reviled him as a tyrannical dictator who killed Charles I. One thing we know is true: Cromwell’s era (1599-1658) was one of great change in England in religious, economic and political terms, and his actions and the events of his lifetime form one of the pivotal points in the history of Great Britain and her colonies.”

The American Numismatic Association Money Museum is hosting more than a dozen virtual exhibits on its website.

During the English Civil Wars, Cromwell rose to become an MP, cavalry commander, general and eventually the “Lord Protector of England, Scotland and Ireland.”

“Numismatically, this period of English history saw the conversion of English coinage from traditional handmade ‘hammered’ coins to mechanized ‘milled’ coins,” reads the exhibit website. “The conversion process was not smooth and evolved in fits and starts over a period of 25 years involving several talented mint engineers and engravers: Nicholas Briot, Thomas Simon, Peter Blondeau and John Roettiers. Traditional mint authorities resisted this change to the utmost of their powers, but Charles II finally forced them to accept modernization in 1662.”

The Geoffrey Cope Collection, one of the finest collections of coins from this period, helps to tell the story of this turbulent time in English history.

Located in Colorado, the Money Museum recently reopened to the public – with new pandemic guidelines – after being closed due to COVID-19.

To view the museum’s virtual exhibits, visit bit.ly/31P3PPc.

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