The Latin legends on this coin translate as “Charles the Second, by the grace of God” on the obverse, “King of Great Britain, France and Ireland” on the reverse, and finally on the edge “An ornament and a safeguard” a reference to the prevention of the edge being clipped or mutilated by the unscrupulous.
The new issue of machine made “milled” coins were introduced to the public in the latter part of the year 1662, with the production of these English silver Crowns, the first denomination issued proudly by this method. The smaller denominations of Halfcrown and Shilling would follow dated 1663 with the Sixpence not arriving till 1674, the Twopence in 1668 and other small silver from 1670.
It seems there was good reason for the issue of the silver Crowns first as in the year 1662 King Charles II sold the town of Dunkirk back to the French for five million French Livres, the town having been captured by the Parliamentarian forces in 1658. This created a massive influx of silver into the Mint to convert to British silver, reportedly 1,500,000 silver Ecus transported in 300 chests from December 1662 until mid-1663 at a total weight of 108,636 pounds. Naturally the biggest denomination in silver would be the most efficient way to work through the supply, hence the Crown being the coin of choice. There are two distinct varieties of silver Crown dated 1662 as well as a number of more minor variations, the main one being whether the coin carries a rose under the bust or not. It has often been conjectured that the rose indicates silver supplied from the west country of England, so perhaps the non-rose variety would mean silver from the Dunkirk sale, however, research is ongoing to hopefully one day find documentary evidence, as the West Country theory seems to be more of an assumption and extrapolation of when the rose mint mark was used for the Truro and Exeter area for provincial silver coins in the reign of Charles I some 20 years earlier. This sentiment was echoed by Alan Broad in his article “1662 Rose below” who also remarked that the old Commonwealth hammered cross and harp money was also being recoined so that was more likely a source for the rose below mark. This has been echoed more recently in “The Metal in Britain’s Coins” by Graham Birch in Chapter 16 “The Enigmatic Roses Coins” page 217.
The Roettier brothers from Holland had come to prominence as engravers during the exile of Charles II in the Parliamentarian period, and were held in such favour by Charles that he promised them positions in his Mint at the Restoration. This famously led to the competition in 1663 between the former Parliamentarian engraver, the highly regarded Thomas Simon and the brothers Roettier. However, the fact Simon had worked for Oliver Cromwell meant his position was doomed from the start leading to his famous “Petition Crown” to the King dated 1663, arguably the most magnificent piece of milled engraving work in the British coin series, to no avail. The Roettiers were in favour and Simon was relegated to working on the small silver only.