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delivered to the treasurer in order to coin 50 ounces of gold into unicorns, to “be of the wecht of the auld unicorne,” and of the fineness of the gold of the mine-not of the mint as Lindsay31 makes it. But because the keys were lost, and the said irons could not be got, another minute appears on the Books of Council, authorising the locks to be broken open and new ones made.

1519. In the following year another authority, in similar terms, is given to James, Earl of Arran, to coin 50 ounces of gold.

It would thus appear that unicorns were coined in the reigns of three successive sovereigns, though as the same dies were used, and the same weights kept, it is impossible to distinguish this later issue. There is even some reason to suppose that a coinage of unicorns took place during the minority of James VI. For in the treatise by Acheson, above referred to, it is stated that in the Regent Morton's time, a golden basin, of the capacity of four English quarts, was presented by him to the King of France, filled with coins called unicorns32 ; both the basin and its contents being made of the native gold of Scotland.

1523. In 1523 Queen Margaret applied for permission to coin money, gold and silver; but this was refused.33

1524. In August of the following year an act was passed which is not found in any of the published col. lections. It is preserved in the State Paper Office (Henry VIII., vol. ii. No. 63)34, and provides that certain French money "sous, tracentes, and karolusis” being alloyed with copper, have course in the country; and as it is thought expedient that no alloyed money should pass

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31 P. 136.

82 Nicolson, p. 305. 33 “Cal. of State Papers, Scot.," vol. i. p.

16. 34 Cal., vol. i.,

p. 18. VOL. XIII. N.S.


current in the kingdom, except at a competent price, it ordains the “sou” and the “tracent” to go for fivepence the piece, and the karolus for fourpence and no more. In the same parliament "ye Scottis croune of wet” is to go for “xvij Sh.,” and “ye Scottis demy” for" xviii Sh.," and the other money as before.

On the 16th November another parliament35 was convened, and the Archbishop of St. Andrews, the Bishop of Aberdeen, and the Earls of Arran and Argyle were appointed to look, inter alia, to the striking of money. A penny of gold and another of silver were to be coined as the aforesaid lords thought expedient, and the gold of the mine-apparently native gold—was to be used.

1525. In February, 1525, the Lords of the Secret Council ordered 36 a new coinage of gold and silver : viz., "ane crowne of gold, and ane grote of silver.” This crown of gold is what is generally now called the “ecu” of James V. It was to pass for 20 shillings, and nine were to be made out of the ounce of gold. The groat was to be xd fine 2 grs., eleven of them were to be in the ounce, and they were to pass for 18d. 37

About this time the Pitscottie Chronicle tells us that "the Earle of Angus . . . . caused stryk Cunyie of his awin, to witt ane grot of the valour of xviij d. quhilk efterwards was callit the Douglas Groatt.” An entry in the Treasurer's account38 of date 17th August, shows a coinage between 25th June and said day, which in all probability was the one referred to above. At this time the price39 of native gold was £7 the ounce, and the seignorage due to the king was 25 shillings on the coined ounce of native gold, and 18 shillings for each pound weight of



“ Scots Acts," vol. ii. p. 286. ** Lindsay, p. 230.

37 Vol. ii. p. 314. 35 MSS. Com. Thes., Reg. House, Edin. 3 Lindsay, p. 232.


coined silver, and the price of the ounce of fine silver was 17 shillings.

1526. In June, 1526, an act40 was passed enforcing the previous acts regarding the course of the money and the import of bullion. Archibald Douglas, Treasurer and Provost of Edinburgh, was appointed, by himself or by his deputies, to search at all parts of the realm, and seize any one exporting money, and to have for his pains one half of the money escheated, the other half to go to the king. In November of this year parliamentůl sanctioned the agreement entered into between Archibald Douglas and James Acheson, goldsmith, burgess of the “Cannongate,” by which the said Acheson is to have freedom and privilege to coin gold and silver, he paying 20 shillings for the pound of coined money to the king, and the king to pay the warden's fee, the assayer's fee, and the fee of the “Sykaris of the Irnis ;” and for the ounce of gold of native mines (of which the price is £7), the king's seignorage is to be 26s. But if the gold is dearer than £7, then the seignorage is to fall to 158.

In the same parliament42 all mines of gold and other metals are conceded to Joachim Hochstetter, Quintin de Lawritz and others for the space of forty-three years. Another enactment43 provided that "feigners and counterfeiters” of our sovereign lord's money should be severely punished, and all provosts, baillies, &c., were to search for and apprehend all those who counterfeit money, that they might be dealt with by the Lords Justices.

1527. In the following year the “ Cunzie hous” was erected at Edinburgh44, and a formal contract entered

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into between the King and Hochstetter about the coinage, which will be found in full in Lindsay's Appendix (No. 10). One hundred and seventy-six groats were to be struck outof the pound of silver, of the value of 18d. each. Hochstetter and his Company might also strike two other coins, viz., one of the value of 12d. or two-thirds of the former, and the other of the value of 6d., or one-third of the first; or they might strike other coins either of higher or lower value, but the same amount was always to result from the same weight. For each pound of silver they were to pay 20 shillings of seignorage, and not less than £3,000 Scots were to be coined in the year. The contract was to last for ten years, and the king was to appoint two Scottish men to see that the prescribed conditions were carried out.

In the MS. Treasurer'g45 accounts several entries occur about this date of money arising from coinages; but as no particulars are given, they throw no light on the period.

1532. In May of this year the parliament ordained that, with the view of keeping gold and silver coin within the realm, the former acts made for that purpose were to be put into sharp execution.

1535. In June, 1535, a statutet was passed in similar terms, and appointing searchers at the various ports, who were to retain one-third of all they seized, and James Colvile, of East Wemyss, Adam Otterburn, and Sir John Campbell of Lundy, were appointed searchers throughout the realm, with power to appoint deputies under them at the various ports, and seeing that the “mater of cunye” is “subtile and cañ not wele be decydit bot be the avise of men of craft," therefore the lords ordain the Lord Treasurer, the Comptroller, the Provost of Edin



Com. Thes.,” MSS. Reg. Ho., 1527—1537.
“ Scots Acts," vol. ii. pp. 336, 343.



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burgh, Sir John Campbell of Lundy, the Clerks of Registers, Mr. Francis Bothwell and the Dean of Aberdeen, to convene with men skilled therein; and their joint recommendations were to be referred to the Lords of Articles. In the same way they were to take action about the mines.

1539. In the Treasurer's account47 for this year an entry of certain sums of money arising from the coinage of seventeen pounds, fourteen ounces troy weight of gold coined "in ducatis." These are undoubtedly the bonnet pieces of 1539, and this reference gives us the name by which these coins were generally known at the time.

From this account it also appears that Alexander Orrok was master of the mint at this period.

1540. In the following year several statutes48 are given in the “Scots Acts” forbidding the export of money, and providing punishments for those who counterfeit the coins of the realm. In the Treasurer's accounts of this year, rendered the following one, an entry occurs of "centum et triginta unciarum auri lucrati in mora de Craufurd et terris de Coreheid ponderis le trois wecht conitati in ducatis."

1542. In the account rendered in August, 1542 (from September, 1541), one hundred and fifty-nine ounces “auri Scoticani” are entered as being coined during that period into ducats. The date 1541 or 1542 does not occur on the bonnet pieces, though this entry shows that they were coined in these




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