Queen Elizabeth I English sixpence coin, Richmond Island, 1563

Contributed by Maine Historical Society

Queen Elizabeth I English sixpence coin, Richmond Island, 1563

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This coin was hidden by Walter Bagnall on Richmond Island, likely just before his murder in 1831. Dating to the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, the coin was stamped with the Latin text "ELIZABETH.D.G.AND.FR.ET.HI.REGINA," or "Elizabeth by the grace of God, Queen of England," and "POSUI DEVI ADIVTOREM," or "I have made God my helper." The number of coins and their international span demonstrates the far reaches of the fur trade in Maine.

Walter Bagnall was the first European settler on Richmond Island, near Cape Elizabeth, in 1628. He became wealthy by cheating the Wabanaki, specifically the female leader Warrabitta’s family, at his trading post. According to Massachusetts Governor Winthrop, "Bagnall...was a wicked fellow, and had much wronged the Indians." Bagnall had violated his social responsibilities, and as a result, Warrabitta’s brother, Skitterygusset, killed Bagnall and burned down the trading post. This act was a redistribution of power and asserted Wabanaki jurisdiction of the area.

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About This Item

  • Title: Queen Elizabeth I English sixpence coin, Richmond Island, 1563
  • Creation Date: 1563
  • Subject Date: 1563
  • Town: Richmond Island
  • County: Cumberland
  • State: ME
  • Media: Silver
  • Local Code: 819*11
  • Object Type: Physical Object

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For more information about this item, contact:

Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230

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