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The Silver Coins of England

Edward Hawkins, 1841
Sole Monarchs of England - Mary

Table of Contents

Mary, 1553 to 1558.

When Mary ascended the throne, she announced her intention to restore the coins to their original standard of 11 oz. 2 dwts. fine silver to 18 dwts. alloy; instead of which she actually made it less fine than she found it. Edward's last coinage was 11 oz. 1 dwt. fine, Mary's was 11 oz. fine and 1 oz. alloy. The weight was in the proportion of 8 grains to the penny, the base pieces weighed 12 grains. Before her marriage she coined groats, half-groats, and pence.

Upon the groat she is represented in profile to the left, crowned and wearing sometimes a cross suspended to her necklace. She is styled MARIA D G. ANG. FRA or FR. Z HIB REGI. A pomegranate, after her name, serves as MM. rev. shield and cross fleuree, the legend VERITAS TEMPORIS FILIA. a pomegranate after the first word. (429). Rud. xi. 1. Sn. v. 5. MB. The motto, with the device of Time drawing Truth out of a pit, was adopted by the persuasion of her popish clergy, in allusion to her endeavours to restore the abominations of popery, which had been in a great degree suppressed by her predecessors.

The half-groat varies from the groat only in size, weight and abbreviated mode of expressing the legends. (431). Rud. xi. 2. Sn. vi. 1. MB.

The penny had the bust crowned as the others, the legend M. D. G. ROSA SINE SPINA, no MM. or inner circle on either side; rev. shield and cross, leg. CIVITAS LONDON. Rud. xi. 3. MB. In Sn. v. 2. an inner circle is marked, perhaps erroneously. Another, perhaps unique, has the legend VERITAS TEMP FILIA, with the pomegranate. (430). MB.

There is another penny issued by her which weighed 10 grains, but had only 3 oz. fine silver to 9 oz. alloy. This has a rose instead of the Queen's bust, with MM. a rose, rev. similar to the other pennies, CIVITAS LONDON. Rud. xi. 4. Sn. v. 6. MB.

Her first coinage after her marriage did not differ much in appearance from the former; on the groat; her husband's name was added to her own, PHILIP Z MARIA D G REX Z REGINA; and the old legend of the reverse was recurred to, POSVIMVS &c. No inner circle on either side. MM. lis. (432). Sometimes ET was used, Rud. xi. 5. sometimes the old Z. Sn. v. 8. MB.

The half-groat was similar, the titles somewhat abbreviated. (433). Rud. xi. 6. Sn. v. r.

The penny resembled the former penny; having however MM. lis, and reading P Z M D. G. ROSA &c. (434). Rud. xi. 7. Sn. v. 3. MB. Upon these half-groats and pennies an oval pearl, instead of a cross, is suspended from the necklace. Rud. in 3, 5, 7, has erroneously omitted both. The base penny resembled the former base one, except in the slight alteration of the royal names. (435). It is sometimes without MM. Rud. xi. 8. Sn. v. 7.

It was not long however before the appearance of her coin was changed, for in the first year after her marriage her husband's bust appeared facing hers, as described by Butler,

Still amorous, fond and billing
Like Philip and Mary upon a shilling.
The new coins consisted of half-crowns, shillings, six-pences. If groats, half-groats, and pence were struck, they were of the same type as those previous to the introduction of the king's bust.

The half-crown is perhaps only a pattern for an intended coin never issued, for two only are known. On one side is the bust of Philip to the right, in armour; above, the crown; below, the date 15 54. leg. PHILIPPVS D. G. ANG. FR. NEAP. PR. HISP. no MM. On the other the bust of Mary to the left, in her usual dress; above, the crown between 15 54. leg. MARIA D G R ANG FR NEAP. PR HISP. (438). Rud. xi. 13. Sn. v. 18. MB. The other specimen is in the Hunter Museum.

The shillings represent similar busts of the king and queen face to face, with the crown over them, with their titles as Sovereigns of Naples Princes of Spain, without any date, Rud. xi. 16. Sn. v. 12. MB. or with 15 54 at the sides of the crown. Rud. xi. 9. Sn. v. 9. (436). MB. The reverse has an oval garnished shield, crowned, impaling the arms of Philip and Mary, the figures x ii at the sides of the crown, now first introduced in that place, to indicated the value of the coin. The leg. POSVIMVS &c.

Upon other shilings the titles were REX ET REGINA ANGL. the reverse being the same as upon the others. These are without date. Rud. xi. 17. Sn. v. 13. MB. or dated 15 54. Rud. Sup. iv. 31. Sn. v. 11. MB. or 15 55. Rud. xi. 14. Sn. v. 15. MB. or with the date 1553 under the heads. Rud. xi. 11. Sn. v. 10. MB.

The sixpences are similar to the shillings, having VI, at the sides of the crown. With the Neapolitan and Spanish titles they occur with the date 15 54. Rud. xi. 10. Sn. v. 14. MB. Without those titles they have the date 1554 under the heads. Rud. xi. 12. Sn. v. 16. or 15 55 at sides of crown. Rud. xi. 15. Sn. v. 17. or 1557 under the heads, MM. lis. (437). These two are the only pieces of this coinage which have a MM.

Upon the reverse of these shillings and sixpences the cross was omitted, as it had been before on the testoons, or shillings, of Edward VI.

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