Queen Elizabeth I English sixpence coin, Richmond Island, 1568

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Description

Walter Bagnell hid this sixpence coin on Richmond Island before his death in 1631. Bagnall was the first European settler on Richmond Island, near Cape Elizabeth, in 1628.

Bagnall 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.

This coin depicted Queen Elizabeth's head, crowned, and rose behind her back. The text stamped on the coin included "ELIZABETH D.G. ANG. FR. ET HI. REGINA ("Elizabeth, by the grace of God, Queen of England, France, & Ireland") and "POSUI DEV. ADVTOREM. MEV" ("I have made God my helper"). The number of coins and their international span demonstrates the far reaches of the fur trade in Maine.


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