Coins, Tokens and Historical Medals (5 & 6 June 2019)

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Date of Auction: 5th & 6th June 2019

Sold for £1,200

Estimate: £1,000 - £1,400

The Trial and Acquittal of John Lilburne, London, 1649, a silver medal, unsigned [by D. Ramage], draped bust left, iohn lilborne saved by the power of the lord and the integrity of his ivry, etc, rev. myles petty ste iles abr smith ion king, etc around central rose, 34mm, 12.94g (MI I, 385/3; E 177). About very fine and toned, very rare, and with an interesting provenance; the first major work by David Ramage £1,000-£1,400


Provenance: SNC March 1968 (2156); I.R. Lilburn Collection; SNC February 2008 (CM 1153).

Ian Robertson Lilburn (1927-2013), Coull House, Aberdeenshire, was a direct descendant of John Lilburn (1740-99) of Tweedmouth, who in turn was said to be descended from one of Lilburne’s 10 children.

John Lilburne (1614-57), a Puritan who converted to the Quaker religion in the year before his death, fought for the Parliamentarians in the Civil War and was present at Edge Hill and Marston Moor, although between these two engagements he had been captured by royalists while in the parliamentary garrison at Brentford. An agitator for the the freeborn rights of Englishmen, he spent most of the later 1640s incarcerated in the Tower for denouncing his former military commander, the Earl of Manchester, as a royalist sympathiser. A campaign to free him spawned a new political party, the Levellers, which had a strong following in the New Model Army although Lilburne had begun to see the reality of life under Cromwell’s diktat and his supporters actively agitated for King Charles’s son, in exile in France, to finance the Leveller movement. Parliament passed a motion for Lilburne to be tried for high treason, as the King had been, but unlike the case of the monarch, a jury of 12 would decide Lilburne’s fate. The trial, which started on 24 October 1649, lasted two days and the jury, whose names are on the reverse of the medal, found him not guilty. For the next two years Lilburne remained politically inactive, but after a dispute concerning the ownership of collieries in his native co Durham, he was sentenced to pay a fine of £3,000 to the state and was banished for life