Contributed by Maine Historical Society
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This Laurel coin, an English gold coin with a value of twenty shillings, was part of a trove of coins hidden by Walter Bagnall on Richmond Island. The coin was named for the depiction of King James' head decorated with a laurel crown. The text stamped on the coin read "JACOBUS.D.B.MAG. BRIT.ET.HIB.REX.," or "James by the grace of God King of England..." The number of coins in Bagnall's cache and their international span demonstrates the far reaches of the fur trade in Maine.
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.
About This Item
- Title: King James I English Laurel coin, Richmond Island, 1623
- Creation Date: 1623
- Subject Date: 1623
- Town: Richmond Island
- County: Cumberland
- State: ME
- Media: Gold
- Dimensions: 3.3 cm x 3.3 cm
- Local Code: 819*23
- Object Type: Physical Object
Cross Reference Searches
Standardized Subject Headings
- Charles I, King of England, 1600-1649
- Coins, British
- Coins, English
- Colonists--United States--Maine
- 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
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