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The Silver Coins of England

Edward Hawkins, 1841
Sole Monarchs of England - Henry IV and Henry V

Table of Contents

Henry IV., 1399 to 1413.

We now approach a series of coins, which, in most cases, we are unable, with our present means of information, to appropriate to the rightful monarch. Within the period of 90 years four kings of the name of Henry ascended the throne, all of whom struck coins; and yet none of them gave any mark, by which his coins might be distinguished from those of his predecessors, until Henry VII. in the 18th year of his reign added the numerals VII. This is the more remarkable as Henry III. had distinguished his coins by the numerals III. or by the word TERCI.

To this series of coins no one has perhaps paid so much attention as the Rev. E. J. Shepherd, and it is from his communications that we are enabled to give such information, touching the coins of the respective kings, as may either with certainty be relied upon, or received on a fair presumption that it is correct.

During the greater part of the reign of Henry IV. the weight of the coinage remained the same as it was in the reigns of Edward III. and Richard II. but, in his thirteenth year, he reduced the weight from 18 to 15 grains for the penny. If therefore any piece be found with the name of Henry in the proportion of 18 grains to the penny it belongs to Henry IV.

Heavy Money.

Groats: HENRIC D. G. REX ANGL Z FRANC D. HY. annulet in two quarters. Snell ii. 25. Rud. Sup. i. 40.

Half-groats: Of these one only is known. (323). Rev. Jos. MARTIN.

Penny: MM. cross patee, HENRIC REX ANGL Z FRANC. Rev. CIVITAS EBORACI. an open quatrefoil in centre of reverse, weight 16 6/10. MB. (337). v. r. The weight, and the style of the bust, so strongly resembling that of Richard II. compel us to assign this piece to Henry IV. It appears, by mistake, in the plate under Henry VI.

Halfpence: The weight of these small pieces is not always nicely adjusted, and cannot there fore be entirely depended upon, still there are halfpennies which were undoubtedly struck before the 13th year of Henry IV. Though much worn they greatly exceed 7 ½ grains in weight, and the head, especially in the form of the hair, is of the type of Richard II. and very different from the usual type of the Henries. They are very rare. They read HENRICVS REX ANGL. MM cross, have crosses between the words, and are struck in London. (324). MB. weight 9 ¼ grains, Rev E. J. SHEPHERD. 8 ½ v. r.

Light Money.

Although the heavy coins alone can be assigned with certainty to Henry IV. there are some, very rare also, which it is fair to presume to belong to him, but which, weighing only in the proportion of 15 grains to the penny, must have been struck after his 13th year.

Groat: type resembling Richard II. and not the usual Henries. MM cross, pellet on one side and over the crown, a trefoil on the breast and after POSVI, and small trefoils between the words, HENRIC DI GRA REX ANGLIE Z FRANC. on the rev. the Roman N is used. MB. (325). Some are without the Roman N. Rev. E. J. SHEPHERD, the obverse of his coin and that of MB. are from the same die. v. r.

Halfgroat: of this type, none yet detected.

Pence: Hair at the sides of the head and a cross on the breast, exactly after the manner of Edward III. and Richard II. annulet at one side of the head, mullet on the other HENRIC DI GRA REX ANGL MM cross, struck at London. (326.) Rev. E. J. SHEPHERD, weight 14 gr. These are very rare. Another reads HENRIC . . . REX ANGLIE, some object between HENRIC and REX. annulet to the left, pellet to the right of crown, cross? on breast. Rev. MM. small cross or quatrefoil, Roman N in legend exactly like the pennies of Edward III. (327). MB. v. r.

The scarcity of these types is a subsidiary argument that they belong to Henry IV. as he issued but very few coins after his 13th year.

Henry V. 1413 to 1422.

There is no distinctive mark whereby we may recognise any of his English coins. It may chance that some of the pieces, which are attributed to Henry IV., may be part of his early coinages, before the great coinage which took place at the end of his reign and the beginning of that of Henry VI.

Richard II | Table of Contents | Henry VI

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