1696-Y (YORK mint) William III Sixpence

A Nice,Toned example of an 1696 King William III Sixpence minted in

York

.

English currency was in disarray in the late 17th century. Hand struck silver coins from prior to 1662 had been clipped around the edges and thus their value (weight) reduced so that they were no longer a viable tender, especially abroad. The machine struck silver coins produced by the Royal Mint in the Tower of London after 1662 were protected from clipping by an engraved, decorated and milled edge, but were instead forged, both by casting from counterfeit moulds and by die stamping from counterfeit dies.

By 1696 forged coins constituted circa 10% of the nation's currency. The currency also had a third problem: its value as silver bullion in Paris and Amsterdam was greater than the face value in London, and thus vast quantities of coins were melted and shipped abroad — an arbitrage market. New Acts of Parliament were passed in order to create the Bank of England and protect national military security. This situation also triggered William Lowndes of the Treasury to ask the warden of the Royal Mint, Isaac Newton, for help.

Branch mints were established at Bristol, Chester, Exeter, Norwich, and York to assist with the work of recoinage. Between 1696 and 1700 the value of silver struck was £5,106,019 (£689 million
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