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New Military Coins from The Royal Mint
ENGRAVED IN HISTORY
New Military Coins from The Royal Mint
ENGRAVED IN HISTORY

The map is a fascinating insight and reveals how well the world was understood at the time. It is depicted as a globe, with lines of longitude and latitude - concepts understood since antiquity. Lake Victoria is represented, a lake dedicated to the Empress in 1858 by the explorer Speke but actually first recorded in a twelfth century map by Muhammad al-Idrisi. Also note Lake Maracaibo in Venezuela first charted by Alonso de Ojeda and the eponymous Amerigo Vespucci, at the end of the fifteenth century. North America is notably amorphous and peripheral, indistinct from the arctic, perhaps reflecting how little commercial and cultural impact it had on Europe, other than northern fishing routes, at that time. Antarctica by contrast is drawn much larger than it is in reality and spreads east to the Indian Ocean. As the Dutch East India Company had noted land at Cape York Peninsula in 1605, it is tempting to suggest that this oversized Antarctica may include a rough and contemporary interpretation of Australia, to be charted properly in the centuries to follow.

The Roettier brothers from Holland had come to prominence as engravers during the exile of Charles II in the Parliamentarian period, and were held in such favour by Charles that he promised them positions in his Mint at the Restoration. This famously led to the competition in 1663 between the former Parliamentarian engraver, the highly regarded Thomas Simon and the brothers Roettier. However, the fact Simon had worked for Oliver Cromwell meant his position was doomed from the start leading to his famous "Petition Crown" to the King dated 1663, arguably the most magnificent piece of milled engraving work in the British coin series, to no avail. The Roettiers were in favour and Simon was relegated to working on the small silver only.

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