Letter: Not just a pretty phrase: the Latin in your pocket

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The Independent Online
Sir: 'Decus et Tutamen' (Letters, 15 July) is generally translated by numismatists as 'An Ornament and a Safeguard' since it both decorates the coin and protects the edges from being clipped, which was a major problem when the coinage was made of silver.

According to The Standard Catalogue of British Coins published each year by B. A. Seaby Ltd, the phrase, from Virgil, was noted on the vignette in Cardinal Richelieu's Greek Testament by Evelyn, who subsequently suggested it to the Royal Mint officials as a most suitable inscription for our early milled silver coinage.

Yours faithfully,

TIM EVERSON

London, SW20

15 July

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