Henry VIII., 1509 to 1547.
The THIRD coinage of Henry VIII. took place in the 34th year of his reign; with the types underwent
some alteration, and the coin was deteriorated both in weight and fineness. The penny now weighed
only 10 gr.; and two oz., in twelve, of alloy was used.
This coinage consisted of shillings, groats, half groats, pence, and halfpence. The king is represented
with a front or nearly front face, crowned, wearing a royal mantle with a fur collar; the legend contains
his titles, including the new one of King of Ireland, HENRICI VIII DI GRA ANGL FRA Z HIB REX.
This type has generally been considered to have been introduced at the same time that the coin was
debased, but specimens in fine silver of various denominations contradict this view; they bear
however the title of king of Ireland, and must therefore have been struck only just before the
debasement. No indenture or proclamation for such a coinage is known, but it is probable that he
would not delay displaying his new title of king of Ireland upon his coins: we know he immediately
issued Irish coins.
The shillings, or testoons as they were named, have the king's bust, full faced, in royal mantle, fur
collar, MM. lis, HENRIC VIII &c. Rev. a rose crowned between the letters H. R. also crowned; the
legend POSVI DEVM ADIVTOERIVM. MEVM. MM. two lis, MB. Rud. viii. 2. Sn. iii. 38. These
plates have only one lis on the rev. Another in MB. reads ADIVTOREUM. A third with one lis on
rev. reads ADITORIVM.
The groat has the same MM. and a similar bust, but the face not quite so full, leg. HENRIC. 8. &c. Rev.
cross and shield; an annulet in each fork of the cross. MM. lis, leg. POSVI &c. MB. 3. Rud. viii. 3.
Sn. iii. 37.
Half groat same as groat in every respect. Rud. viii. 4. Sn. iii. 36. perhaps also Rud. viii. 13. Sn. iii. 44.
Penny: legend ROSA &c. MM. lis. Rev. shield, CIVITAS LONDON. Rud. viii. 5. Sn. iii. 35. The quality of
the metal induces us to assign to this coinage a York penny. Bust mantled, rev. reads CIVITAS
We shall now proceed to describe those pieces, which, from the apparent quality of the metal, seem
to have really belonged to the coinage of his 34th year. As the types of these, and of the still further
debased coinages of his 36th and 37th years, appear to be in many instances the same, no reliance can
be placed upon engravings for distinguishing the separate coinages, and our arrangement will be
derived exclusively from pieces actually examined. We cannot however venture to assert that we are
always correct, for appearances are deceitful, and we cannot resort to the only true test, an assay.
Shilling: types as in fine silver, but 8 instead of VIII. MM. before leg., a lis; after, annulet enclosing a
pellet. Rev. MM. annulet inclosing a pellet. MB. (401). or MM. obv. annulet. Rev. annulet and
pellet. Rud. viii. 6.
Groat: similar to that of fine silver. MM. on both sides, lis, annulet inclosing pellet between forks of
cross MB. Another, MM. arrow, annulet between forks. Rud. viii. 8. MB. MM. rev.
only, a picklock; a half rose between forks of the cross. MB. There are others in which the bust
is smaller, not in a royal mantle, but having a plain falling collar, like Rud. viii. 10. MM. lis on both sides,
annulet inclosing pellet in each fork. MB. or MM. martlet, some uncertain object in the forks,
probably half a rose as in some groats of Canterbury. (402). MB. One with royal mantle, no
MM. has S between each fork, leg. CIVITAS LONDON, with two trefoils before and after each word.
MB. Sn. iii. 42. not quite correct.
A Bristol groat has mantled bust, WS for mint mark on rev., and two small trefoils after each word;
nothing in the forks of the cross. MB.
A Canterbury groat has the bust with the plain collar, no MM, half a rose in each fork, leg. CIVITAS
CANTOR, a pellet before and after each word of legend. MB. Another without the pellets.
The York groat has the mantled bust, no MM, nothing in the forks, leg. CIVITAS EBORACI with two
trefoils before and after each word. MB. (403). Rud. viii. 9. Another has the plain mantle and
falling collar, no MM., one trefoil at the beginning, four in middle of legend. MB.
The half groats which we suppose to belong to this coinage are of Bristol and Canterbury, and perhaps
The Bristol one has the mantled bust, no MM.; and in the legend IR erroneously for FR. Rev. shield
and cross without any object in the fork; MM. lis, between CIVITAS and BRISTOLIE; and WS, in
monogram, at the commencement. (404). MB. Another has a lis between each fork of the
cross, one after CIVITAS, and another before BRISTOLIE. MB.
The Canterbury half groat is similar in type to the Bristol, but without any MM. It reads CIVITAS
CANTOR. Rud. Sup. iv. 21. Sn. iii. 41. MB.
York: On the authority of Rud. viii. 14. like the groat without the trefoils.
The London penny has the full faced mantled bust, with H. D. G. ROSA SINE SPINA--no MM. Rev.
CIVITAS LONDON, all in Roman letters. (405). Rud. viii. 16. MB. MM. on rev. picklock.
MB. Perhaps Sn. iii. 40. with MM. lis and old English N belong to this coinage.
The Bristol has generally the head smaller, and more of the body shown; the legend commences HE 8
D. G. &c. with a cross after the word ROSA. The rev. has lis between the words CIVITAS and BRISTOLIE,
and two pellets at the commencement; all the letters are old English. (406). Rud. viii. 17. MB.
Halfpence of this coinage were struck in London, Canterbury and York. They have all the king's bust,
front faced, wearing the royal mantle, and with the ROSA &c. legend. The reverse has the cross
fourchee with pellets in the quarters, and the name of the mint for legend. (407). Rud. viii. 18-19. One
of the London halfpence has the cross scarcely forked, and upon its centre an annulet inclosing a
pellet. MB. (408).
Henry VIII, Second Coinage |
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Henry VIII, Fourth Coinage