- Item 105058 - Queen Elizabeth I English sixpence coin, Richmond Island, 1579
- Contributed by Maine Historical Society
- Item 105058
- 2161px x 2161px - 7.2"w x 7.2"h @ 300dpi | Need a larger size?
- *Credit line must read: Collections of Maine Historical Society
This English sixpence coin was hidden by Walter Bagnall on Richmond Island before his death in 1631. The front of the coin depicted Elizabeth, crowned, with a rose behind her back. The rim was stamped with the text "ELIZABETH D.G. ANG. FR. ET HI. REGINA," or "Elizabeth, by the grace of God, Queen of England, France & Ireland." The reverse featured a shield with the year 1579 and the Latin motto "POSUI DEV. ADIVTOREM. MEV.," or "I have made God my helper." The coin is perforated on two sides.Show Details
Walter 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 just before his murder. A trove of coins and a signet ring were discovered on the site in 1855. The number of coins and their international span demonstrates the far reaches of the fur trade in Maine.