Contributed by Maine Historical Society
Purchase a reproduction of this item on VintageMaineImages.com.
This English sixpence coin was hidden by Walter Bagnall on Richmond Island before his death in 1631. The front of the coin depicted Elizabeth, crowned, with a rose behind her back. The rim was stamped with the text "ELIZABETH D.G. ANG. FR. ET HI. REGINA," or "Elizabeth, by the grace of God, Queen of England, France & Ireland." The reverse featured a shield with the year 1579 and the Latin motto "POSUI DEV. ADIVTOREM. MEV.," or "I have made God my helper." The coin is perforated on two sides.
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 in 1631 and burned down the trading post. This act was a redistribution of power and asserted Wabanaki jurisdiction of the area. It is thought that Bagnall hoarded and buried money just before his murder. A trove of coins and a signet ring were discovered on the site in 1855. The number of coins and their international span demonstrates the far reaches of the fur trade in Maine.
About This Item
- Title: Queen Elizabeth I English sixpence coin, Richmond Island, 1579
- Creation Date: 1579
- Subject Date: 1579
- Town: Richmond Island
- County: Cumberland
- State: ME
- Media: Silver
- Dimensions: 2.5 cm x 2.5 cm
- Local Code: 819*16
- Object Type: Physical Object
Cross Reference Searches
Standardized Subject Headings
- Coins, British
- Coins, English
- Colonists--United States--Maine
- Elizabeth I, Queen of England
- Maine--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
- Richmond Island (Me.)
- United States--History--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775
- Wabanaki Indians
For more information about this item, contact:Maine Historical Society
485 Congress Street, Portland, ME 04101
(207) 774-1822 x230
Use of this Item is not restricted by copyright and/or related rights, but the holding organization is contractually obligated to limit use. For more information, please contact the contributing organization. However, watermarked Maine Memory Network images may be used for educational purposes.
More to Consider
Please post your comment below to share with others. If you'd like to privately share a comment or correction with MMN staff, please use this form.