||Commonwealth pattern Sixpence 1651, ESC-1498, AU55 NGC. Engraved and struck by Blondeau, with Sun mm. This coin has exceptional eye-appeal, especially on the obverse, as it was minted from a press rather than by hand, as was the tradition in 1651. The obverse shows a small spot of alloy flaw, or possibly an ancient mark, at about 4 o'clock near the rim; the surfaces are otherwise very choice and toned a lovely ancient silvery gray with greenish-gold iridescent hues. Broad, deep rims are a particular feature of this pattern issue and here they offset the design splendidly. Very scarce and certainly among the finer examples to appear on the market recently. Peter Blondeau of Paris was sent for by the Puritanical authorities who held sway during the early Commonwealth days: sober men who sought to provide a finer looking and more evenly struck coinage than had been produced for centuries in England. Blondeau's newly invented machine, using the mill and screw technique, indeed created a wonderful coinage -- but it was very short lived due to resistance from the workers who had been trained in the ancient hammer style. These gentlemen also evinced, by their actions, the long antipathy held by many against the French, and argued for the use of an English machine-made coinage. In due course this was produced only in a spare number of patterns by David Ramage. Blondeau was slowly but surely edged out of the Royal Mint; in 1658 he abandoned his workhouse on the Strand, left his equipment behind, and returned to Paris. His beautiful, boldly made patterns are all that remain of this early move towards the milled coinage.
Realized $4,700.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.