Jacobean touchpieces, English, 1610-1620.

Image number: 10285147

Jacobean touchpieces, English, 1610-1620.

Three gold touchpieces issued by James I (1603-1625), used in the ceremony of healing by touch, thought to cure a widespread disfiguring form of tuberculosis called scrofula. The practice of 'Touching for the King's Evil' relied on the belief that the monarch possessed supernatural powers and that gold held curative properties. A newly minted coin showing an image of an angel would be used to touch the sufferer's afflicted part, and would thereafter be worn by the patient as a medal on a ribbon around his neck.

Image number:
Science Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
Date taken:
12 January 2004 15:48
Image rights:
Science Museum

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