“Money of Empire: Elizabeth to Elizabeth”

The British Empire, more than any other, set the stage for the modern world in which we live. From small origins during the late 16th century, the British Empire expanded to become the largest empire in history and the most powerful global economic and military power for over a century. To celebrate the history of the British Empire, the Edward C. Rochette Money Museum, operated by the American Numismatic Association, is unveiling its newest exhibit, “Money of Empire: Elizabeth to Elizabeth,” on March 7.

“The Money of Empire exhibit will take visitors on a numismatic tour of the British Empire and explore the history of the Kings and Queens of the UK from the time of Elizabeth I to Elizabeth II through their money and medals,” said Douglas Mudd, museum curator. The new exhibit will be on display through April 2020.

Sixty-two modern nations were once part of the British Empire, most of which are now part of the Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth consists of 53 member states united by language, history, culture and shared values. Sixteen of the countries recognize the British monarch as their head of state and continue to display Elizabeth II on their coinage – making her image the most common numismatic portrait worldwide.

Notable artifacts on display include:

  • The Armada medal. The silver medal was issued in 1588 to celebrate the defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English Navy. Since the Armada was aimed mainly against Elizabeth, the head of the Anglican Church, its cause was viewed as an attack upon the Church itself and is clearly represented on the reverse.
  • An Elizabeth I, gold 1/2 Pound, 1560-61. An early English machine-struck gold coin, the piece is a rare and beautiful example of Elizabethan coinage. The exhibit has a seldom-seen set of Elizabethan gold and silver coins on display.
  • An Elizabeth I, silver 8 Real Portcullis money, 1600. This was the first English trade coin struck specifically for use in Asia. A complete denomination set is on display, a numismatic rarity.
  • A Charles I, gold triple Unite, 1642, Oxford mint. This rare gold coin features Charles’ wartime proclamation: Religio Protestantium, Leges Angliae, Libertas Parliamenti (Protestant Religion, English Laws, Liberty of Parliament).

Money Museum Background

The Money Museum includes an extensive and ever-growing collection of historical numismatic treasures. This one-of-a-kind facility showcases some of the most valuable and significant numismatic items the public cannot see anywhere else. Rarities include the Harry W. Bass Jr. exhibit, one of the most complete U.S. gold coin collections ever assembled, and two of the 15 known 1804 dollars valued together at $6 million.

The Money Museum is located at 818 N. Cascade Ave, adjacent to the campus of Colorado College and next door to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Museum hours of operation are Tuesday-Saturday, 10:30 am-5 pm. Admission is $8 ($6 for seniors, military and students). Kids 12 and under are free. For more information, call 719-632-2646 or visit www.money.org/money-museum.

The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging the study and collection of coins and related items. The ANA helps its 25,000 members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its vast array of instructional and outreach programs, as well as its museum, library, publications and conventions. For more information, call 719-632-2646 or visit www.money.org.

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