BERK-AD2BA7: Post Medieval medal; touchpiece of Queen Anne

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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MEDAL

Unique ID: BERK-AD2BA7

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Description: A milled gold touchpiece medal/coin from the reign of Queen Anne (1702-1714AD).

The touch-piece is pierced at 12 o'clock of the obverse. Obverse: Ship going left. Obverse Legend: ANNA.D.G.M.BR.FET.H.REG. Reverse: George and dragon. Reverse Legend: SOLI.DEO.GLORIA.

Measurements: 21 mm in diameter, and 2.84g in weight.

Discussion:Touchpiece used in the ceremony of 'Touching for the King's Evil', a disease of the lymph glands, also known as scrofula, which was popularly believed to be cured if the monarch touched the sufferer. The custom began in France under the crusader-king, St Louis IX (1226-70). When Edward III of England (1327-77) laid claim to the throne of France as the surviving grandson of Philip IV, through his mother Isabella, he also began touching for the King's Evil. Each sufferer was given a token or touchpiece, pierced so that it could be worn on a ribbon round the neck. From the reign of Edward IV this was usually an angel, a gold coin worth 6s 8d, depicting St Michael slaying the dragon on one side, and a ship under sail on the other. The angel continued as a currency issue until the reign of Charles I, but was not revived after the Restoration. However, gold tokens, still depicting St Michael and the ship, were produced specifically for those touched by Charles II and James II. William and Mary declined to perform the ceremony, but Queen Anne revived it. One of her last 'touchings' was of Samuel Johnson, born in 1709, who in later years remembered the Queen as 'a lady in diamonds, and a long black hood.' Although the Hanoverian kings did not continue the custom, the Jacobite Stuarts did, but their touchpieces were silver.

The gold used to make these medals was 22 carat fineness.

As a gold medal with no monetary function, a touch-piece would fall within the purview of the Treasure Act and at least one has passed through the system in this way already; eg. YORYM-B32610 (2015 T176), and KENT-05E6BE 2016 T605.

An identical touch-piece can be seen on the Royal Collection Trust website, number RCIN 443192

Conclusion: It is therefore thought that this medal dates to before 1716. As the object is made of gold and is over 300 years old, it constitutes potential Treasure under the stipulations of The Treasure Act 1996.

Find of note status

This has been noted as an interesting find by the recorder.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Submitted for consideration as Treasure

Treasure details

Treasure case tracking number: 2019T129

Chronology

Broad period: POST MEDIEVAL
Period from: POST MEDIEVAL
Period to: POST MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1702
Date to: Circa AD 1714

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Weight: 2.84 g
Diameter: 21 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Monday 20th August 2018 - Monday 20th August 2018

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Ms Helena Costas
Identified by: Ms Helena Costas
Secondary identifier: British Museum Coin Specialist

Other reference numbers

Other reference: 0001
Treasure case number: 2019T129

Materials and construction

Primary material: Gold
Manufacture method: Milled
Completeness: Complete

Spatial metadata

Region: South East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Windsor and Maidenhead (Unitary Authority)
District: Windsor and Maidenhead (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Eton

Spatial coordinates


Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Discovery circumstances: Metal detecting on cultivated land
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: BERK
Created: 4 months ago
Updated: About one month ago

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