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The Gold Coins of England

Robert Lloyd Kenyon, 1884
Henry VI (1422-1461)

Table of Contents

HENRY VI, 1422 TO 1461.

Henry VI’s coinage, until his deposition in 1461, was conducted on the same principles as that of his father. The noble continued to weigh 108 grs., and to be of the nominal value of 6s 8d, and the type remained exactly the same, so that, as his name was not distinguished by numerals from that of his father, their coins can only be known apart by the various small marks which appear in the field or within the legend, and which were used by the mint for the express purpose of distinguishing the various coinages. Of these marks the most conspicuous on Henry VI’s gold coins is a lis, which was used as a mint- mark at the beginning or end of the reverse legend on nearly all struck by him before his deposition in 1461, whereas nothing but a cross was ever used in that place by his father or grandfather. The coins struck during his short restoration in 1470 were of a different type, weight, and value, and will be described afterwards.

The coins struck before the deposition may be divided into four classes, of which the distinguishing marks are respectively, annulets, rosettes, pinecones, and trefoils, corresponding with the first four issues of silver coins. But of the first and third of these, very few coins seem to have been struck.

NOBLES. None of these have any mint-mark at the beginning of the legend on the obverse, and they all have two ropes from the stern, one from the prow.

Of the first, or Annulet Coinage, no nobles are known.

Class II. Rosette Coinage. 1. HENRIC DI GRA REX ANGL Z FRANC DNS HYB. Rosette after every word. Flag at stern. Ornaments on ship lis, lion, lis, lion, lis. Rev. IHC x AVTEM : TRANSIENS : PER : MEDIV x ILLORV x IBAT MM plain cross. Rud. ii. 10. 2. Obv. as last with lis below the king’s wrist. Rev. IHC AVT TRANSIENS PER MEDIVM ILLORV IBAT. MM lis, lis over head of lion in second quarter, mascle after Per, rosette between the other words. (27) MB. 3. As last, but no flag on obv., and rev, legend IHC AVT TRANCIENS PER MEDIVM ILLOVR IBAT. MB. A mascle after certain words of the legend is a distinguishing mark of the second and third issues of silver coins.

Class III. Pine-cone coinage. 4. Obv. legend as 1, but HIB. No flag. Lis below king’s wrist, mascle after Rex, rosette after every other word. Ornaments on ship as No. 1. Rev. IHC AVT TRNCIENS PER MEDIVM ILLORV IBAT. MM lis, lis in third quarter, mascle after per, pine-cone after every other word. The h in the centre is upside down. Num. Chron., N. S., v. 175, No. 4. The weight of this coin is said to be 111 grs., which is 3 grs. more than the proper full weight. The rosettes and cones, the characteristics of the second and third coinages, both appear on this piece. 5. Same as the last, but HYB, rosette instead of mascle after Rex. Rev, as last, but TRANCIENS, lis in second instead of third quarter, h placed correctly. EVANS. 6. Obv. legend as 1, but HIYB. Mascle after Rex, cone between the other words except on each side of Z. Ornaments on ship as 1. Rev. IHC AVT TRANCIES PER MEDIVM ILLORVM IBAT. MM lis, lis in second quarter, mascle after per, cone between the other words. (28) EVANS. Num. Chron., N. S., v. 175, No. 5. 7. Obv. legend as No. 1, but HY. Pellet each side of the h in Henric, two after Henric, annulet after Di, Gra, Rex, and Franc, saltire each side of Z, lis between cone (?) and annulet under the shield. Ornaments on ship as 1. Rev. IHC x AVT x TRANSIENS PER MEDIVM ILLORV IBAT. MM lis, the h in the centre upside down. EVANS. Num. Chron., N. S., v. 175, No. 6. The annulets on this piece connect it with the next coinage.

Class III. Trefoil coinage. 8. Obv. legend as No. 1, but FRAN, HY. Annulet at king’s wrist, trefoil after every word. Ornaments on ship, lis, lion, lis, lion, lis. Rev. IHC AVT ° TRANSIENS ° PER ° MEDIVM ° ILLOR °IBAT. 4MM lis, trefoil after Ihc, annulet instead of trefoil in one spandril. MB. 9. As 8 but legend as 1, no trefoil after Hyb. Rev, as 8 but ILLORV, mullet after Ihc, trefoil in second quarter near lion’s head. THORBURN. 10. Obv. legend as No. 1, annulet at king’s wrist, lis after Henric, trefoil between the other words. Ornaments on ship, lion, two lis, lion, one lis. Rev. IHC AVT ° TRANSIENS ° PER ° MEDIVM ° ILLORV ° IBAT. MM lis, mullet after Ihc, annulet instead of trefoil in one spandril. MB. Rud. i. 15, where, however, a trefoil is represented in every spandril. 11. Same as the last, but reading HIB. MB. 12. Same as 10, but with a flag in the stern of the ship, ornaments as 8. Rud. ii. 7. MB. 13. Same as 10, but with a lis over the stern of the ship, ornaments as 8. MB. Rud. ii. 9, where, however, a trefoil is represented in every spandril.

CALAIS. 14. Exactly like 12, but with C inclosing a pellet, instead of h, in the centre of the reverse. MB.

HALF NOBLES. These seem to belong to the rosette and trefoil coinages only; but as the characteristics of both classes occasionally appear on the same coin, there was probably no great interval of time between the two, and rosettes may have continued to be used on the smaller pieces after they had been discontinued on the nobles. The smaller coins with rosettes, however, are not numerous, and accordingly in 1423 we find the Commons complaining to the king that “little or nothing of small coins was struck, but only nobles and groats, to the great harm of the people and the singular advantage of the master of the mint,” who was paid according to the weight of money coined, and to whom it therefore answered better to coin large pieces than small ones, as the expense and trouble of coining would be greater in proportion to their weight for small than for large coins. The type of the half nobles remained exactly the same as before, and like the nobles.

Class II. Rosette coinage. 1. HENRIC DI GRA REX ANGL Z FRANC. Lis at king’s wrist, rosette after every word. Rev. DOMIN NE IN FVRORE TVO ARGVAS ME. MM lis, rosette between each. word. Rud. iii. 2. This is the only specimen we know of this class.

Class IV. Trefoil coinage. 2. Obv. legend as No. 1, annulet at king’s wrist, lis after Henric, trefoil after every other word; ornaments on ship, lis, lion, lis, lion, lis. Rev. legend as No. 1, but DOMINE. MM lis, mullet after Domine, annulet between the other words, annulet instead of trefoil in one spandril. Rud. ii. 8. MB. 3. Same as the last, with a flag at the stern of the ship. Rud i. 16. 4. Same as No. 2, but with a lis over the stern of the ship. (29) MB.

CALAIS. 5. Exactly the same as No. 3, but with C instead of h in the centre of the reverse. MB. Another, said to have a star over the shield, was sold at Mr. Cuff’s sale for £2. 3s. These four half-nobles Nos. 2 to 5, correspond exactly with the nobles Nos. 10, 12, 13, and 14.

QUARTER NOBLES. Type exactly like those of Henry V.

Class I. Annulet coinage. 1. HENRIC DI ° GRA ° REX ° ANGL. MM pierced cross, lis above shield, mullet after Henric. Rev. EXALTABITVR IN ° GLORIA. MM pierced cross, mullet before IN. MB. The pierced cross mint-mark, and one or more annulets in the legends, are the distinguishing marks of the first silver coinage of Henry VI. The pierced cross was soon discontinued, and not revived for about forty years. This coin, which closely resembles the other quarter nobles of the same reign, is extremely rare. Mr. Montagu has another specimen.

Class II. Rosette coinage. 2. Legends as the last, MM on both sides lis, us above shield, rosette at each side of shield and between each word on both sides. (30) MB.

Class III. Pine-cone coinage. None known.

Class IV. Trefoil coinage. 3. Same as 1, but MM on both sides lis, lis after Henric, trefoil between the other words on obv. Rud. iii. 1. MB. 4. As the last, but reading ANGLI, and with a trefoil below the shield. (31) MB.
4 * 5. As 3, with lis at each side of shield, annulet instead of trefoil after DI. MB.

Henry V (1413-1422) | Table of Contents | Restoration (3 Oct 1470-14 Apr 1471)


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