Coins and Paper Money


These are Roman Coins.



This is the Phillip and Mary shilling, issued in 1554 during the reign of Queen Mary and her unpopular marriage to Phillip of Spain. At the Museum of the British Royal Mint, they write:

“The apparent affection between the royal couple as depicted on the coinage moved the English poet, Samuel Butler (1612-80), to write the following epigram:

Still amorous, and fond, and billing
Like Philip and Mary on a shilling.

Such romantic sentiments were far removed from those Protestant contemporaries who suffered at the hands of the queen. Bishop Hooper was burned at the stake in Gloucester on 9 February 1555, and his widow would later describe the portraits on the coins as ‘the effigies of Ahab and Jezebel’.”


This 1692 coin, which celebrated the marriage of William of Orange and Mary who were joint monarchs, holding equal constitutional power. Patriarchal society, however, would ensure that William would hold most of the power.

A significant design  development had taken place between these two coins. David Graeber writes,

The 1690s were a time of crisis for British coinage. The value of silver had risen so high that new British coins (the mint had recently developed the ‘milled edge’ familiar from coins nowadays, which made them clip-proof) were actually worth less than their silver content, with predictable results. Proper silver coins vanished; all that remained in circulation were the old clipped ones, and these were becoming increasingly scarce. (340).

What was a clipped coin? Why did people do this?