Search results

Start typing

Charles II, touchpiece c.1660

2.11 cm (diameter) | RCIN 443149

  • At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II reintroduced to England the ceremony of 'Touching for the King’s Evil' – an ancient practice carried out in the belief that the monarch possessed a Christ-like ability to cure victims of scrofula (a disease of the lymph nodes) by laying his hand upon them.

    At the ceremony, sufferers were given a coin known as a 'healing piece' or 'touchpiece' to wear on a ribbon around the neck, which showed that the patient had been healed by the monarch. By the time of Charles II a gold coin called an angel, worth as much as 11s., was given as a touchpiece. The obverse shows St Michael slaying Satan, depicted as a Dragon; the reverse a sailing-ship. Initially it seems that Charles handed out angels from the previous three reigns as touchpieces, but in February 1665 a new form of the angel was minted for use as a touchpiece, not valid as currency.

    From Charles II's return to England in May 1660 until his death in 1685, it is reckoned that he touched over 105,000 people to cure them from scrofula.

    Entry adapted from Charles II: Art & Power, (London: 2017)

    1 medal : gold
    Obverse: A ship sailing left. CAR . II . D . G . M . B . FR . ET . HI . REX.
    Reverse: St. Michael slaying the dragon. SOLI DEO GLORIA
    Die axis: 12h
  • Medium and techniques

    2.11 cm (diameter)

    3.51 g (Weight) (whole object)

The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.