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The Silver Coins of England

Edward Hawkins, 1841
Sole Monarchs of England - Henry VII, Third Coinage

Table of Contents

Henry VII., 1485 to 1509.
Third Coinage

In his eighteenth year, Henry VII. issued a new coinage, which is here considered his third, of workmanship superior to the preceding and of different types, but of the same weight and fineness. It consisted of shillings, groats, half-groats and pennies.

The shilling was the first coin of that denomination which was issued in England. It weighed twelve pennies or 144 grains. The obverse represents a profile of the king, wearing an arched crown. The titles are HENRIC or HENRICVS DI GRA REX ANGLIE Z FR. or FRANC. On the reverse is displayed, for the first time, the royal shield, bearing quarterly the arms of France and England upon a cross fourchee, with a lis or a trefoil between the forks; the exterior legend continued the same as upon the former coinages, but the interior legend, consisting of the name of the mint was discontinued. MB. Rud. vi. 18. 20. Mr. Dimsdale's sold for 8. 8s. One variety adds VII. after the king's name and reads ANGL Z FR. (383). MB. It is extremely rare. Another reads SEPTIM instead of VII. MB. Rud. vi. 19. Sn. iii. 8. This is extremely rare. These are the first instances in which the number is annexed to the king's name, except in the reign of Henry III. All these pieces have MM. lis.

The type of the groat is similar to that of the shilling. The legends vary in the same manner, and the numerals VII. and the word SEPTIM both occur on them The lis is the MM. on the reverse of that with SEPTIM (384.) This coin is extremely scarce, supposed unique, and was bought for the Museum at Willet's sale, 1827. Those with VII. have MM. Cross crosslet, MB. Pheon, Rud. vi. 17. 21. MB. Greyhound's head, MB. and Lis. 16. Sn. iii. 7. One in the British Museum without the numerals reads HENRICVS. MM. lis. All with numerals read HENRIC.

The half-groat is similar to the groat, with and without numerals; none has occurred with the word SEPTIM. The MM. are the Lis, Rud. vi. 14. Sn. iii. 6. Cinquefoil, 15. Martlet, (385). of these the MB. has two, one weighs 28 grains, the other full 24. Pheon. Rud. vi. 22. MB. Those struck at York have two keys below the shield upon the reverse, and have MM. a martlet. Rud. vi. 23. sometimes a cinquefoil on the obverse, and a martlet on the reverse (386).

The pennies of this coinage have the king seated upon his throne, crowned, holding a sceptre and orb; his titles as on the larger coins, omitting France. The legend of the reverse consists of the name of the city where the coin was struck, Durham, York and London.

On the reverse of the Durham pennies, letters at the side of the shield indicate the Bishop by whose authority they were struck, as D. S. for Dunelmensis Sherwood? MB. Rud. Sup. iv. 8. Sn. iii. 2. or I. S. for John Sherwood, who was Bishop from 1483 to 1494. Rud. Sup. ; iv. 5. The upper limb of the cross on the reverse terminates in a crozier, and the MM. of the obverse is a crozier issuing from the king's left hand; at least upon the former coin (387), the latter we have not seen and Ruding's plate only gives the reverse. In Rud. vi. 25. a similar coin is given but no letters appear and all the limbs of the cross are fourchee. Upon other Durham pennies are the letters R. D. for Ricardus (Fox) Dunelm, Bishop from 1494 to 1502. MB. Rud. vi. 12. The upper limb of the cross terminates in a mitre, over a coronet, and sometimes the arm of the throne in a rosette, MB. or a cross, SIR H. ELLIS. The letters DR, which are given in Rud. Sup. iv. 6. Sn. iii. 3, may indicate the same Bishop, or perhaps Ruthall, Bishop from 1508 to 1524, or about one year during the reign of Henry VII. MB. (388).

The York pennies are generally without MM. and where we have seen one it was too indistinct to be described. The throne varies in form and decorations, sometimes is without a back, and in some pieces the king holds the sceptre in his left hand, the orb in his right. (389). Rud. Sup. iv. 4. Two keys are always under the shield on the reverse. Rud. vi. 11. MB.

There are pennies of similar type struck in London and probably by this king, but the work so much resembles some of which must have been struck in the reign of his successor that there is some difficulty in ascribing these correctly. The only difference perceptible is the form of the king's throne; upon those pennies of Durham which, by the initials of cotemporary Bishops, are limited to the time of Henry VII. the backs of the chair are expressed by one thick line, surmounted by an ornament, not reaching to the inner circle of the coin. Upon those pennies which in the smae manner are limited to the time of Henry VIII. these lines are double, and reach up to the inner circle; they are also, perhaps, rather more neatly executed. According to this principle, slight as it is, we ahve arranged these pennies. One of this description with the name of London has a very small cross in the place of MM. MB. Another has MM. lis. Rud. vi. 13. Sn. iii. 5.

Henry VII, Second Coinage | Table of Contents | Henry VIII, First Coinage


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