King Charles I English Unite coin, Richmond Island, 1628

Contributed by Maine Historical Society


This English Unite coin, a denomination of twenty shillings, was found in Richmond Island in the cache of coins hidden by Walter Bagnall.

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.

The obverse of the coin depicted the King's head crowned, with the text "CAROLUS D.G. MAG. BR. IR. ET. HI. REX." ("Charles by the grace of God, King of England,...") along the rim. The reverse showed the shield and the arms of England, France, Scotland and Ireland.

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About This Item

  • Title: King Charles I English Unite coin, Richmond Island, 1628
  • Creation Date: 1628
  • Subject Date: 1628
  • Town: Richmond Island
  • County: Cumberland
  • State: ME
  • Media: Gold
  • Dimensions: 3.3 cm x 3.3 cm
  • Local Code: 819*19
  • 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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