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Records of the Coinage of Scotland
From the Earliest Period to the Union collected by R. W. Cochran-Patrick of Woodside in 2 volumes (1925)


The object of the present work is to bring together the documentary evidence relating to the Coinage of Scotland.

Upwards of seven hundred and seventy records and papers are given, of which more than five hundred and fifty have never been printed before. They have been selected from the Acts of the Parliaments of Scotland, the Records of the Privy Council, the Acts of the Lords of Council, the Exchequer Rolls, the Accounts of the Lord Treasurer, the Registers, Warrants, and Accounts of the Cunyie House preserved in the General Register House, Edinburgh, and the Miscellaneous MSS. and Papers bearing on the History of the Scottish Mint deposited in the Public Record Office, London, the Libraries of the British Museum, the Faculty of Advocates and the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, the Collections of MSS. at Oxford, and several private libraries and charter rooms.

The papers are printed without abridgment. When contractions are used the words have been given in full; proper names have been printed with capitals, and punctuation has occasionally been added in some of the earlier records where the sense was obscure. With these exceptions the documents are printed exactly as they are found in the original MSS.

The Acts of Parliament are taken from the Record Edition, and I am indebted (among many other acts of kindness in connection with this work) to the late Professor Cosmo Innes for giving me access to the Index and to the additional volumes of the Acts, which have not yet been published. The other documents, of which the originals exist in Scotland, either in public or private collections of MSS., are printed from copies made with his usual care and accuracy by Mr Walter Macleod, and the proofs again collated with, and corrected from the originals. The papers, of which the MSS. are not in Scotland, are printed from copies supplied by the official custodiers of the documents, to whom I take this opportunity of returning my thanks for their great trouble and unvarying attention to the demands made on them for information.

While giving much curious information on questions affecting early trade and commerce, these records will be found to furnish data which will enable numismatists to make several important changes in the appropriations of the Scottish Coins.

The entry in the Chronicle of Melrose (Introd. p. cvii.), shows conclusively that the change of type in the early Sterlings, from the short to the long double cross, had taken place and was a matter considered worthy of notice by the Monkish chronicler two years before the death of Alexander II. The appropriation of the St Andrew (PI. III. fig. 10) to James I. has already been doubted, for numismatic reasons, by two such excellent judges'" as the Rev. Mr Pollexfen and Mr E. Burns, F.S.A. Scot. (to both of whom I have been much indebted during the progress of this work), and their doubt is fully confirmed by the records. It is probable that the small copper coins usually assigned to James IV. (PI. III. fig. 23) were first struck under the authority of the Act of 1466. The undated Coinages of Mary and James YI. are now arranged in their proper chronological sequence. The Coinage of 1581 (PI. VIII. figs. 10, 11, 12, 13), is shown to have no connection with the Thistle Dollar set (PI. VIII. figs. 7, 8). The Coins issued between 1605 and 1610 (PI. X. figs. 16, 17, 18, PI. XI. figs. 1, 2, 3), are for the first time restored to the Scottish series. The Farthing Tokens (PI. XII. fig. 16) were issued in the reign of Charles I. The early issue of Half Merk, Forty and Twenty Penny Pieces (PI. XII. figs. 17, 18, 19), is distinguished from the later Coinage (PI. XIII. figs. 12, 13, 14) of the same value. The Three Shilling and Two Shilling Pieces (PI. XIII. figs. 15, 16) are now shown to be a separate coinage. The Turners (PI. XIII. fig. 17.) were minted in the reign of Charles I. The supposed Half Testoon of Mary (Lindsay, PI. VIII. fig. 180), the Jetton of 1553 with the monogram (Lindsay, PI. VIII. fig. 181), the Jetton with M (Lindsay, PI. VIII. fig. 182), and the supposed Bawbee of Mary (Cardonnel, Billon PI. I. fig. 19), were never intended for currency. The supposed Quarter Testoon of 1558-59 (Lindsay, PI. VIII. fig. 189) was not issued in standard Silver. It is now certain that the sixteenth of the Thistle Merk (Lindsay, p. 59, 1st Supp. p. 5), was never minted. Many of the rare gold pieces figured by' Lindsay were pattern pieces, and were never in common circulation.

Much new information regarding the standard legal weights and values of the various coins will be found in the Records. While every endeavour has been made to search all sources where it was likely that original documents relative to the Scottish Coinage might be found not only in Great Britain but in most of the public libraries and in several private collections in Northern Europe, it is possible that documents may yet be discovered which will throw light on some points that are still obscure. I shall always be glad to have any such brought under my notice.

With regard to the Plates, it is necessary to state that they are only intended to illustrate the Coinages noticed in the “ Records.” I have endeavoured, as far as possible, to figure Coins from public cabinets, where the originals can always be seen; and I take this opportunity of thanking the Trustees of the British Museum and the Council of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland for permission to use, for this purpose, the Coins in the National Collections, and also Messrs R. Carfrac, F.S.A. Scot.; J. Wingate, F.S.A. Scot.; Ford, and Gray, for kindly allowing me access to their cabinets for specimens which were not in the public museums.

I am also very particularly indebted to Mr Stuart Poole and the gentlemen connected with the Medal Department in the British Museum, for the great assistance I have received from them. In particular, my thanks are due to Mr C. F. Keary for selecting the various specimens from the Museum collection and superintending the arrangement of the Plates.

I have great pleasure in recording the fact, that during the course of a tolerably lengthened investigation, involving applications for permission to examine documents and papers in the private possession of many with whom I had no personal acquaintance, and on whom I had no possible claim beyond the fact that I was searching for matter connected with an historical object, I have not met with a single refusal; but, on the contrary, every facility has been afforded to me, and often very great trouble has been taken in searching charter-rooms, though in many cases with very small result. For the liberal access which was given me by the Earl of Hopetoun and his guardians, to the extensive and extremely valuable series of papers connected with the Scottish Mint at Hopetoun House (the most important of which are given in the present work), I am deeply indebted. Lady Cumming-Gordon most kindly permitted me to print the exceedingly interesting papers preserved at Gordonstoun, which throw complete light on a point hitherto very obscure.

In conclusion, I have to perform the pleasing duty of thanking those who assisted me in the execution of this work. My best acknowledgments are due to Mr Thomas Dickson, Curator of the Historical Department of H.M. General Register House, for the great help he has most ungrudgingly given me during the long time I have been engaged in collecting materials. His able advice and active assistance were ever ready when required, and his intimate knowledge of the vast stores of unprinted materials under his charge was always most kindly and freely communicated. To the Reports of Dr John Stuart, to H.M. Commissioners on Historical MSS., I am also highly indebted for indicating many sources where documents, likely to be of use, might be found. The late Mr E. W. Robertson, whose early death is justly lamented by all the students of Scottish history, was good enough to revise, and approve of, the conclusions I had arrived at with regard to the early weights and standards of the Scottish Mint, and supplied me with many curious and interesting memoranda on the subject.

The Hon. C. W. Fremantle, Deputy-Master of H.M. Mint, most obligingly gave me access to the extensive and very valuable collection of Numismatic works contained in the Library of the Royal Mint. To M. Delisle and M. Henri Cohen of the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; M. Sudre, Keeper of the Archives of the National Mint of France; M. Herbst, Copenhagen; Mr R. Sim of the British Museum; the Rev. H. 0. Coxe, Bodleian Library, Oxford; the Rev. H. Latham, M.A., Vice-Master of Trinity Hall, Cambridge; the Rev. F. L. Hopkins, M.A., Cambridge; the late Mr Hill Jamieson, Advocates’ Library, Edinburgh; Mr Small, M.A., University Library, Edinburgh; Mr George Sim, F.S.A. Scot; Mr Joseph Anderson, Museum of Antiquaries of Scotland, Edinburgh; Mr James Grant, M.A., Edinburgh; the Rev. Professor Dickson, D.D., University Library, Glasgow; and Professor Young, M.D., Keeper of the Hunterian Museum, Glasgow; I am much indebted for assisting me in my researches for unpublished MSS. connected with the history of the Scottish Mint. Mr H. W. Henfrey communicated to me an interesting notice regarding Scottish Coinage from the Entry Book (No. 106) of the Protector’s Council of State. Mr W. H. Henderson took much trouble in answering my queries regarding the provincial coinages at Linlithgow. I am also indebted to the Rev. Charles Rogers for information as to the mint at Stirling.

I hope the materials gathered together may prove of some use to those interested in the subject.


Ayrshire, N.B., Oct. 1876.

Volume 1  |  Volume 2

A View of the Coinage of Scotland
With copious tables, lists, descriptions, and extracts from Acts of Parliament; and an account of numerous hords or parcels of coins discovered in Scotland and of Scottish coins found in Ireland illustrated with upwards of 350 engravings of Scottish coins, a large number of then unpublished by John Lindsay, Esq., Barrister at Law (1845) (pdf)

The Coinage of Scotland Illustrated
From the cabinet of Thomas Coats, Esq., of Ferguslie and other collections by Edward Burns FSA Scot in 3 volumes (1887)

Volume 1  |  Volume 2  |  Volume 3

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