Page:Archaeologia Volume 13.djvu/174

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Examination of an Inscription

a foreign seal, it does not directly fall within my line of investigation. In the collection of seals in Scotland, engraved at the expence of the Society, there is not, as I believe, a single seal that has a date; but the Cottingham seal, of which there is an engraving in Vetusta Monumenta[1], has a date, and the difference between the mode of marking this date and that used in Mr. Boys's unknown seal, is striking. Ancient inscriptions on monuments, as you have observed, are "expressed in a circumlocution of phrases, or in Roman, or Romano Lombardic characters." On the Cottingham seal (dated A. 1322) though the inscription is in French, Latin numerals for the hundreds and tens (cccxx) are placed between mill. and secounde. On the other seal the date is noted in four common figures; nor is it an improbable surmise, that before the introduction of Arabic numerals, dates on seals were so unfrequent, because the margins would not allow room for so many characters as were necessary.

There was a still greater difficulty in dating coins that were much smaller than most seals, and, according to sir Martin Folkes, there was not a coin minted in England before the sixteenth century that had the date of the year impressed upon it[2]. Snelling suggests his belief that the penny of Edward the VIth, A. 1547, is the first English coin that bears the date of the year, which is in Roman characters; and Folkes notices a piece somewhat broader than a groat of the same year, on which the date is thus marked, M. D. X4 7. Sic in Folkes, p. 28[3]. Indeed, under the reign of Henry the VIIth he mentions a very uncommon and singular coin, of which the inscription is Mani. Tecke4. Phares. 1494; but this he supposes to have been coined by the duchess of Burgundy for Perkin Warbeck, when he set out to invade England in that

  1. Vol. I. No 5.
  2. A Table of English Silver Coins.
  3. Ibid, p. 28.