The shilling first appeared in the fifteenth century during reign of Henry VII and remained in circulation until 1990, deeming it one of the longest-running denominations in British coinage history. This James I silver shilling would have been in circulation at the time of the Mayflower’s voyage and the inscription on the obverse translates as ‘James, by the Grace of God, King of Great Britain, France and Ireland’. The reverse translates as ‘What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder’, which is taken from the Bible. These inscriptions show how James I styled himself as the king of Great Britain and politicised the coinage to imply the union of the crowns.


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