The Great Engravers Collection from The Royal Mint celebrates some of the most iconic coin designs in numismatic history. The collection continues with former Chief Engraver of The Royal Mint, Thomas Simon.
Thomas Simon was a renowned gem engraver, medallist, and coin and seal engraver who established his reputation during the reign of Charles I. When the king’s rule descended into civil war, Simon sided with the Parliamentarians, committing high treason by copying the Great Seal to aid parliament’s cause. Through his dedication, Simon was rewarded with the position of Chief Engraver, where he worked on coins, seals and medals for the newly created Commonwealth of England. Upon the death of Oliver Cromwell, the power vacuum left behind allowed for Charles I’s heir, Charles II, to return and restore the monarchy. Simon remained in his role despite his acts against the Crown during the civil war, however, Charles II instated another Chief Engraver to share the role with Simon – John Roettier, a member of the Roettier family who supported Charles II during his exile in Holland.
John and his brother Joseph were instructed to engrave a trial crown for Charles II, which seemingly prompted Simon to belatedly respond with a piece of his own. Simon was able to engrave two lines of raised edge lettering that he used to petition Charles II for his selection. We cannot be certain how Simon, during the seventeenth century, was able to produce the two lines as even with the benefit of modern minting technology, recreating the raised edge lettering is extremely challenging and we have only been able to approximate the original inscription through relearning long-forgotten techniques.
The official coinage portrait of His Majesty King Charles III, designed by Martin Jennings, features on the obverse of both coins in this set. The reverse designs feature an effigy of Charles II paired with a recreation of Simon’s quartered arms design.