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Cup Runneth Over

Published May 31, 2024 | 2 min read

By Sydney Stewart

Benjamin D.R. Hellings, the Jackson-Tomasko associate curator of numismatics at the Yale University Art Gallery, has compiled a comprehensive reference on the elaborately decorated Naseby Cup. Published in April, The Naseby Cup: Coins and Medals of the English Civil War contains 185 full-color illustrations and offers an in-depth look at this rare artifact. 

John and Mary Frances Fitzgerald (Lord and Lady of the Manor at Naseby) commissioned the cup to commemorate the Battle of Naseby, which took place on June 14, 1645. The English Parliament, led by Oliver Cromwell and Sir Thomas Fairfax, defeated the Royalist army of King Charles I. Silversmiths Charles Reily and George Storer constructed the drinking vessel in 1839. 

“The Naseby Cup is one of the most exceptional numismatic objects in the world.”

Standing 2 feet tall, the artifact features 72 coins, counters, badges, and medals from the English Civil War period (1642-51). Many of the specimens are exceptionally rare, including a 1652 New England shilling and a copy of the original 1644 Oxford crown of Charles I. The cup’s innovative design also allows both the obverse and reverse of each piece to be seen.

“The Naseby Cup is one of the most exceptional numismatic objects in the world and in the Gallery‚Äôs encyclopedic collection of art,” says Hellings. “It is of historic and numismatic significance and is an intricate work of art that offered an excellent opportunity to integrate numismatics into the large study of both art and history.”


A version of this article appears in the July 2024 issue of The Numismatist (money.org).