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The 'five bob' that turned into £1,400

By This is Cornwall  |  Posted: March 29, 2010

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A SILVER coin, worth five shillings, or 25p, when it was made in Truro three centuries ago has gone under the hammer for £1,400 – more than 55 times its original value.

The crown, dated 1642-43, was sold to a mystery buyer at Spink, Bloomsbury, London, last Thursday, where it fetched £600 more than expected.

Truro mint, which produced the crown, was set up and run by a wealthy Cornish landowner, Sir Richard Vyvyan, who lived at Trelowarren, Mawgan – now the home of his Sandhurst-trained descendant, Sir Ferrers Vyvyan, 49, who was High Sheriff of Cornwall in 2008. It is believed that in 1642 Charles I commissioned Sir Richard to make the coin plate into money and to pay it over to Sir Ralph Hopton.

In 1644 the King issued a further commission to Sir Ralph to erect a royalist mint at Exeter, but Vyvyan's two surviving account books for the mint show that he had moved the mint to Exeter in September 1643, immediately after the capture of the city.

Sir Richard was knighted by Charles I in March 1636.

Truro was briefly a Royalist stronghold at the start of the Civil War and a mint was needed to pay Royalist troops, but it was a short-lived mint, and as a result Truro Civil War coins are rarer and more valuable than Exeter Civil War coins.

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