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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A lozenge-shaped shilling minted at Newark during the 1646 siege.
A lozenge-shaped shilling minted at Newark during the 1646 siege.

Siege money or money of necessity is a form of Notgeld (emergency money) that was issued in times of war or invasion, such as during a siege.

In the early modern period, it was necessary in Europe because at that time coinage had an intrinsic value and even though a town was besieged commerce had to continue and soldiers had to be paid. There are examples from the Eighty Years War (1568–1648) and the English Civil War (1642–1651). There is also related coinage issued by some field commanders such as Duke of Ormonde in Ireland who did not have ready access to official coinage minted by the civil authorities (see Civil War mints).[1]

The issuing of money during sieges is not restricted to that period; for example during the Siege of Khartoum (1884–1885) currency in the form of paper money was issued by Governor-General of the Sudan, British Major-General Charles George Gordon.

Eighty Years War

During the Eighty Years War a number of towns and cities issued their own currency (money of necessity), for example during the siege of Leyden (1574), the authorities issued diamond (square) silver coinage struck with a circular die. When silver ran out they used the same die to print money on cardboard. This was the first usage of paper money in Europe.[2]

English Civil War

During the First English Civil War a number of garrisons issued their own siege money they included Carlisle (1645), Scarborough (1645) and Newark-on-Trent (1646).[3][4] Of these the siege money of Newark was the most plentiful and compared to other similar coins minted at the same time more has survived. Around 2011 a rarer Scarborough siege sixpence sold for £42,000,[3] while in 2012 a Newark shilling sold for 1,900 USD.[5]

During the Second English Civil War the besieged garrison of Pontefract Castle issued siege money. The coin design was changed to "for the son" after the trial and execution of Charles I on 30 January 1649.[3][6]



  • Fraser, Paul (25 May 2011), "The Story of English Civil War siege money", CoinWeek, retrieved 28 September 2017
  • Homren, Wayne (26 April 2015), "Selections from the Slaney Collection of English Coins", The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS), retrieved 28 September 2017
  • Siege money of the Dutch Revolt (PDF),, retrieved 29 September 2017
  • "STUART, Siege money. Newark. 1645-1646. AR Halfcrown...", Classical Numismatic Group (CNG), 23 May 2012, retrieved 28 September 2017
  • "STUART, Siege money. Pontefract. 1648-1649. AR Shilling (29mm, 4.68 g, 12h). In the name of Charles I. Dated 1648.", Classical Numismatic Group (CNG), retrieved 28 September 2017
  • "O'Brien Coin Guide: The Ormonde Money of 1643-44", The Old Currency Exchange, 21 May 2015, retrieved 29 September 2017

Further reading

  • Korchnak, Lawrence C. (December 1990), "Dutch Sieges of the 16th and 17th Centuries", Numismatist
This page was last edited on 24 July 2020, at 16:19
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