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as should be appointed, and two grains of remedy of weight were allowed on each piece containing one ounce weight-another proof that the twenty-pound piece was a coin and not a medal. Mention is made in the contract of ten-pound pieces and five-pound pieces; two shillings were to be allowed to Acheson for each ounce of coined gold, out of which he was to pay ninepence to Peterson for his share of the work.
1577. In May the Regent and Privy Council directed a proclamation to be made, forbidding any one to transport gold or silver out of the kingdom; and more especially it was declared illegal to take away "his hienes awin siluer money of testanis and xxx, xx, and x schilling pecis," under pain of forfeiture of the money and moveables, not only of the offender, but also of the owner and captain of the ship in which it might be taken; and the ship itself was to be forfeited.
Towards the close of the year the King assumed the government himself, and sent certain Commissioners to the Earl of Morton, desiring him to give up the "irenis of the cunziehous," which was accordingly done.
1578. The Parliament of Scotland met at Stirling on the 25th of July, 1578, and passed an act ordering the coinage of a piece of silver of the fineness of eleven deniers, and giving full power to the Privy Council to give directions about the type, weight, and value of the said piece. It was also declared illegal to export Scottish money out of the kingdom. Accordingly, on the 29th of July, the Privy Council ordered all the silver pieces to be brought to the Mint before the first day of March, and delivered to the Master of the Mint, and 32/ to be paid
27" Scots Acts," vol. iii. p. 108, c. 23.
for the xxx/ piece, and so on at the same rate. All the good money was ordered to be countermarked with a crowned thistle, and re-issued from the Mint at the rate of 36/9 for the xxx/ piece, and others at the same proportion. None were to be current at all unless they were countermarked. This price could not have been of long continuance; and according to Moysie,28 these alterations in the value of the money were altogether "mislykit be the commone pepill."
On the 18th of September, an act of the Privy Council given at Stirling, referring to the Act of Parliament already mentioned, ordered the coinage of a piece of silver of the fineness of eleven deniers, to be called the twomerk piece, and to be current for 26/8, with the half in proportion. The type is minutely described, and the coin is now known as the rare "thistle dollar," though the name given to it in the above is a more accurate designation. A new gold piece was also ordered by this act. It was to be called the Scottish crown, and was to pass for forty shillings. The standard was to be twentyone carats fine. The type is minutely described, both in the parliamentary statute which followed shortly after, and in the act of Privy Council; and the non-appearance of the coin in any collection has puzzled Scottish Numismatists not a little. Lindsay 29 says, "Of the coinage described and ordered by the act of 1579-if, indeed, it ever took effect-no specimens now remain." But it will be seen that a later act of the Privy Council altered the type and value of the gold coinage; and it is now certain that the Scottish crown was never issued. The act of the Privy Council authorising these alterations is
Memoirs," p. 10; "Records of Convention of Burghs," p. 560. 29 View of the Scottish Coinage," p. 148.
almost identical in terms with the parliamentary act of 1579, immediately to be noticed. The ounce of gold was to cost £20 at the Mint, and the ounce of silver 34/. On the same date, another act of Privy Council declared that any one who refused to take the silver coins, countermarked as directed by the act already noticed, should suffer death and confiscation of goods. As the silver coinage was not coming into the Mint, a later act of Privy Council extended the time from the 1st of March to the 1st of May.
1579. At Stirling, on the 15th of May of the following year, the Privy Council ordered a proclamation to be made extending this period still further-first to August, and then to the 20th of October.
In the Register of the Privy Seal is a letter of this date confirming to the various officers of the Mint the privileges and immunities they had enjoyed from the very earliest period.
In October30 the Scottish Parliament passed an act ratifying the acts of the Privy Council, as to the proposed silver two-merk piece and the Scots gold crown. These two-merk pieces, with the halves corresponding, were only coined in 1578, 1579, and 1580. Lindsay31 is incorrect in supposing that the silver pieces with the crowned thistle and the date 1581 belonged to this series. It will be seen that the coinage of 1581 had no connection with the thistle dollars. Wingates2 suggests some doubt about the commonly received names for these coins, though in describing the accurately drawn plates of his work, he erroneously calls the sixteen-shilling piece of
30 Vol. iii. p. 150, c. 31.
31 View of the Coinage of Scotland," p. 279.
1581 the half-thistle dollar.33 Perhaps the extreme rarity of this merk piece may have caused this confusion. It is not described in Lindsay's Descriptive Catalogue, though the specimen existing in the Sutherland Collection was communicated to him; and in his notice of the thistle dollar he has confused the English and Scottish weights. A specimen of the merk piece existing in my own cabinet, formerly in the Wigan Collection, was noticed lately in the Numismatic Chronicle, and I have since got another one of 1578. The act of this year fixes the price of the ounce of fine silver at 36/, and the ounce of fine gold at £21.
1580. An act of Privy Council, dated the 28th day of April, altered the act of Parliament of the preceding October, and ordered, in place of the gold piece therein authorised, another coin, double the weight and value, to be called the Scottish ducat (now commonly called the bareheaded noble). The price of fine gold is fixed by this act of Council at £21 the ounce, the same rate as formerly. Shortly afterwards (4th May) another act of Privy Council authorised the coinage of six hundred stone weight of silver into half-merk and forty-penny pieces, "beirand the like forme circumscription wecht and fynes as they are presentlie currant within this realme."
In October a payment occurs in the Treasurer's accounts to G. Hay for some repairs in the "cunzehous," but without any details. From another entry in the same record, it appears that F. Gray was the graver of the dies of the new coinage of gold.
On the 27th of February the Privy Council and Estates
P. 115, Pl. 35, fig. 14.
34 Comp. Thes. MS. Reg. Ho.
convened in Parliament passed acts ordering all the base money within the realm (except the stamped placks and pennies), to be reformed to the fineness of eleven deniers, with two grains of remedy as well under as above; and to be recoined in such form as the Privy Council might order. It appears from an act of Privy Council in 1581, that they ordered the coinage of the 16/, 8, 4/, and 2/ pieces (of which the type is correctly given), of eleven penny fine. The weights, &c., are referred to a contract which, it will be seen, cannot now be found. These pieces were not minted till 1581. The act of Parliament also sanctioned the issue of the ducat, and fixed the price of silver at the Mint at 44/ per
Authority was also given to the Privy Council to let the Mint and its profits.
1581. The Privy Council, in July, ordered proclamation to be made in all the chie. boroughs of the country to the effect that all should receive the late coinage of thistle two-merk pieces and gold ducats, and that it was illegal to break down any coined money of the realm.
Four months later, we find an act of the Scottish Parliament 37 putting an end to the contract about the money which had been entered into with Alexander Clerk, of Balbirnie, and others, evidently the one above noticed, and recalling the silver coinage they had issued. appears from a later Privy Council minute that this contract was to last for three years, but it was put an end to on account of the coinage being so unprofitable.38 The coinage was the crown thistle series, with the date
36 Vol. iii. p. 191, P. C. R., 27 February 1580.
37 Vol. iii. p. 215, c. 10.
July, 1582. Acts iii. p. 402.