Commonwealth, Oliver Cromwell, Death of Cromwell, 1653-58

The translated reverse legend of this medal reads; ‘the people shall not lack an olive tree’. The phrase suggests that Richard Cromwell’s succession would continue the work of the Protectorate.

This example of the Dutch memorial medal is stuck from a second set of obverse dies. The first obverse die has stops in the legend that sit in the midline of the lettering rather than at the bottom as pictured here. Slightly different folds in the drapery and greater prominence to Cromwell’s facial hair can also distinguish the second portrait. The second die was required to replace the first die due to its rapid deterioration; some examples of the medal have a number of cracks that run through the base of the portrait, this damage eventually required a replacement. The reverse die experienced similar issues but remained in use through the refurbishment of the die; this process involved polishing out the surface damage to remove surface splits. Whilst the reverse die remained fit for striking, there is a noticeable reduction of detail to the pastoral scene at the base of the medal.