King James VI Scottish half sovereign coin, Richmond Island, 1602

Contributed by Maine Historical Society

King James VI Scottish half sovereign coin, Richmond Island, 1602

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This Scottish half sovereign coin was part of a trove of gold and silver hidden by Walter Bagnall on Richmond Island before his death in 1631. The obverse depicted a sword and scepter in saltire cross, a crown, and the national emblem of the thistle. Stamped on the rim is the Latin motto "SALUS POPULI SUPREMA LEX," or "The safety of the people is the supreme law." The reverse side depicted a lion on a shield and a rose over the crown.

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: King James VI Scottish half sovereign coin, Richmond Island, 1602
  • Creation Date: 1602
  • Subject Date: 1602
  • Town: Richmond Island
  • County: Cumberland
  • State: ME
  • Media: Gold
  • Dimensions: 2.8 cm x 2.8 cm
  • Local Code: 819*27
  • 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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