Dec 8, 2009
Dec 8, 2009

Unite: Charles I (obverse); Crowned Shield (reverse)

Unite: Charles I (obverse); Crowned Shield (reverse)


Part of a set. See all set records


Nicholas Briot

(French, c. 1579-1646)


Diameter: 3.3 cm (1 5/16 in.)

Weight: 9.061 g (0.32 oz.)

The Norweb Collection 1969.194


Did you know?

This was the first coin milled or produced by machine in England, previously all issue was hand struck.


In 1625 Nicholas Briot came over from Paris and obtained employment. In 1628 he was commissioned to design portraits and in 1631 records show that he was working at the Tower mint. On his first appointment to the English Mint he was authorized to install machines for striking medals. He was formally empowered on 11 February 1629 to extend their use experimentally on coining. The results were scrutinized in 1631 by a royal commission and the following year he was formally appointment as engraver-general in England and had an augmented salary of 300 pounds. From then till 1638 Briot minted a small fraction of the gold and silver coin by machine. By means of the even pressure of the screw press on a rolled planchet obtained from the rolling mil, and by a collar which kept the metal from flowing unevenly, Briot was able to produce a neat round coin. His fame, however, lies in that he was the finest die-cutter England had known since Alexander of Brugsal engraved the famous profile portrait of Henry VIII (1485-1509). Like Mestrell (1561), Briot met with great opposition from his co-workers, but because of his great artistic ability he was backed by Charles, and no one could therefore displace him. During the Civil War he was retained by the Tower, but his influence can be seen in some of the coins struck at Oxford and York, and h also worked in Scotland on some of the Scottish coins. He died of natural causes in 1646, four years after the Civil War had started.

See also
MED - Numismatics
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 
Credit line: 
The Norweb Collection

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