SUSS-C201D5: A silver sixpence of William III pierced through the eye.

Rights Holder: Sussex Archaeological Society
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Unique ID: SUSS-C201D5

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A worn pierced and bent Post-Medieval silver sixpence of William III (1694-1702) dating c. AD 1694-1702. The coin has been deliberately worn smooth and bent into a gentle S-shape characteristic of a love-token. It is also pierced with a circular aperture, notably though the eye of the monarch from obverse to reverse.  As Spink (2013) p. 369-372. 

Obverse: bust right.

Reverse: crowned cruciform shields. 

Measurements: diameter: 20.85mm; thickness: 0.62mm and weight: 1.94g

Other similar recorded examples on the database include DEV-0A5CF4 which notes that according to Dr Kevin Leahy such 'Love tokens' were made using coins dating from the time of Elizabeth I (1558-1603) to the reign of Ann (1702-1714) with some Georgian examples. They were particularly common in the reign of William III (1694-1702). While 'love tokens' should be inscribed with the name of the person loved most of these defaced coins are uninscribed. Bending coins as part of an oath is an ancient practice; Manville (2014) says of such bent coins: “A twice bent coin might be carried in the pocket or wallet as a protection against the ‘evil eye’ or other witchcraft, hence the crooked sixpence of the children’s rhyme. Other so-called lucky pocket pieces might be bent to distinguish them from normal coins and prevent inadvertent spending." 

The fact that the item is pierced through the eye is notable, other obverse portraits that appear to have been deliberately defaced include: SUSS-E941A0LVPL-A5B60ELIN-DCDB5ADUR-F1470E; and PUBLIC-3AA6EC.

Evidence of reuse: Bent into a love-token and pierced

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1694
Date to: Circa AD 1702

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Thickness: 0.62 mm
Weight: 1.94 g
Diameter: 20.85 mm

Personal details

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Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Manufacture method: Milled
Completeness: Complete

Coin data (numismatics)

Denomination: Sixpence
Ruler/issuer: William III of England
Category: Modern
Type: Sixpence: William III (S 3520 - 3548)
Obverse description: Laureate bust facing right
Obverse inscription: G[VILEMVS III DE]I GR[A]
Reverse description: Crowned cruciform shields
Reverse inscription: [...]
Die axis measurement: 6 o'clock
Degree of wear: Extremely worn: poor

Coin references

No coin references available.

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: West Sussex (County)
District: Chichester (District)
Parish or ward: Lavant (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: SU8509
Four figure Latitude: 50.87425833
Four figure longitude: -0.79329862
1:25K map: SU8509
1:10K map: SU80NE
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SUSS
Created: 3 months ago
Updated: 2 months ago

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