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The Silver Coins of England

Edward Hawkins, 1841
Mint Marks - Discussion of the Badges of the Edwards

Table of Contents

Discussion of the Badges of the Edwards

The boar was a badge of Edw. III., see Archaeologia, V. 17. and might therefore have been borne by any of his descendants, but Richard III. is the only one to whom we can trace its adoption. Sir Henry Ellis, who for many years has noted every passage he could meet with, either in manuscript or print, in which the badges borne by Edw. IV. are mentioned, has not been able to discover a single instance of his using the boar. It does however appear upon a groat bearing the name of Edward. Now we are distinctly told by Ross of Warwick that coins were struck by Edw. V. during his short reign; and it has been conjectured that, if such was the case, his father's head was retained upon the coin, as was not unusual at the commencement of a reign, and of which custom we have a remarkable instance in the case of Henry VIII., after the heads upon our coins had begun to assume the character of portraits. Is there not then some probability that the coins which have the boar's head mint mark and the name of Edward, were struck by the authority of Edward V. when Richard III. was protector. The portrait upon the groat which bears this mark more resembles that which appears upon coins with the name of Richard, than on the generality of those which are considered the money of Edward IV.

The objects which are called quatrefoils and trefoils are in general rather groups of four or three pellets; and can scarcely be considered as definite forms having any specific meaning or allusion. To the true cinquefoil we have generally prefixed the term heraldic.

The crown, as a common symbol of royalty, the rose, as a badge of the houses of York and Lancaster, and of the reigning monarchs of England from the time of the union of these two houses, do not require any remark or explanation.

The sun was one of the favorite badges of Edward IV., which he is said to have assumed in consequence of the appearance of three suns previous to his successful engagement at Mortimer's Cross, "and for this cause menne ymagined that he gaue the sun in his full brightnesse for his badge or cognizance," and accordingly we find it upon some of his coins; especially upon his noble, where, as well as upon some other pieces, it appears with a rose upon the centre. There is an object which occurs upon his seals and upon his coins which, though called by all writers a sun, we think it possible was intended for something else; upon one of his great seals we find it alternately with roses occupying the whole field; upon some of his other seals we find it placed as a companion opposite to a rose, and we also find it upon some of his coins. This object is always represented more like an expanded flower than a sun, with petals rounded at the ends, broader at the margin than at the centre, not with rays sharply pointed. The sun is well represented upon the noble, Rud. iii. 4. and the angel, Rud. Sup. vi. 23., but the object in question is not well represented upon any plate with which we are acquainted, we can therefore only refer to the coins themselves in support of our opinion that there is some object which has usually been called a sun which in reality may not have been intended for such. Upon one of the gold coins of Edward IV., and frequently upon the coins of Richard III., as well silver as gold, this object is represented dimidiated with the rose, under which single name it has generally been described.

As we have not been able to discover any authority for assigning to Edward IV. any flower as a badge, we have been obliged to follow in the traces of our predecessors, and give to this equivocal object the name of sun, contenting ourselves with calling the attention of our readers to the subject, that the error may be rectified, if accident or research should hereafter throw a correcter light upon the subject.

The key which appears upon many of the York coins is derived from the arms of the see.

The pall upon the Canterbury coins is adopted from the arms of the see.

The various letters which occur upon the coins are explained in the body of the work, at the pages referred to in this list.

Mint Marks, Edward IV | Table of Contents | Mint Marks, Edward V and Richard III


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