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1697 william 3rd silver sixpence

Started by BIGDIGGER, July 29, 2012, 05:10:32 PM

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this is the second coin i have that i would like some infomation on and how much its worth if sombody could please.



With many of these great coins you find the size and weight is important. Please advise the diameter and weight if possible. If the weight is not possible the diameter will do.  Great electronic scales to the second decimal available cheaply on Ebay etc.

Also is there any letter on the coin under the bust?


its 2 grams or 1/8 ounce if thats any help


this coin was actually in the feb 2012 The Searcher magazine wen i found it.


Well diameter was more important and that weight makes it a little more complex without the diameter.

William 111 coinage is rather complex because it was the time of the great recoinage and this coin fits into that. A number of mints produced coins and various dies were used. A sixpence for example should weight 3 grams (leaching in soil can occur) and 21 mm in diameter.

So if this is a sixpence some 70 plus varieties were produced but given the date is number is somewhat reduced but mint marks are important to value.


Looks like a detector find to me. The high points on this type are the upper eyelid and the lower lip. Both are practically gone. Haven't found the official weight of this coin, but 2 grams seems to indicate copper leaching. This occurs in acidic grounds, such as forests, heather covered areas, but it can also be caused by artificial fertiliser. The acids attack the copper, but leave the silver intact, but brittle. You wouldn't have this effect with coins buried in sand.

The coin is pretty standard, portrait and name on one side, arms and titles on the other. The fun point is the centre of the cruciform shields. What you see is a climbing lion with blocks in the field. This is the coat of arms of the Nassau-Dillenburg family, a minor German noble house. So minor, it had to add the blocks to distinguish their arms from those of more important families. However, they fared well by coincidence. For more information on how they created a country, look here. On their way, the first of the William (this man's great-grandfather) picked up the title prince of Orange. The family eventually lost the land to the French king, but the title stuck.

William started life as titled and jobless. The opposition, a party of rich merchants called regents, had no use for someone who they suspected would just wage war and demand money for armies and navies. Bad call. In 1672, a grand catholic coalition of France, England, Munster and Cologne (proxies of Bavaria) aimed at finishing off the protestant Netherlands once and for all. They failed miserably, but the regents' party lost their leader to a lynching mob and William was in charge of a country.

As time went by, protestant nobles beat a path to his modest little home near Apeldoorn, where he lived with his (protestant) Stuart wife. They were sick and tired of the always arrogant, mismanaging and absolutionist Stuarts, who promoted creeping re-catholisation of England. The birth of a successor was the straw that broke the camel's back. There was a vague agreement that the prince would take over. William took it seriously, sailed from pretty Hellevoetsluis to Torbay, where things got out of hand. Against expectations, James II fled and England became kingless. Mary Stuart had a claim to the throne and William was a good, patient negotiator, so he ended up as king, together with his wife. Not a bad career for someone who started out unemployed.

William had a complicated personality. He must have known that the rioters in The Hague were planning to kill the opposition leaders, but he did nothing. Yet, in Ireland, he specifically banned plundering and robbing the dead and when his party caught an English soldier doing just that, he had the man hanged immediately. He was a brave man, but his bravery sometimes endangered his cause. At the Boyne, he was wounded on a reconnaissance trip he didn't have to make. Rumour spread that he had been killed and he had to appear everywhere to keep his army from falling apart. He got along quite well with his wife, but preferred to have count Bentinck in his bed. He was a good horseman, yet he died from falling off his horse. He didn't withdraw James' emergency coins in Ireland (gun money), but declared them valid at their approximate intrinsic value.

The spirit of William III lives on in beautifully restored Hampton Court, his favourite hang-out.

An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.