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The Silver Coins of England

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

Table of Contents

Henry VII., 1485 to 1509.
First Coinage

Considerable uncertainty has prevailed respecting the earliest coinage of Henry VII. As late as Leake's time, part of the front faced money with the arched crown was considered as belonging to Henry VI.; latterly the coins with the arched crown have all been assigned to Henry VII., and all with the open crown to some one of his predecessors of that name. Bust as some varieties of these weight in the proportion of only 12 gr. to the penny, which standard was not adopted till after the abdication of Henry VI., it is evident all these must have been struck during the seven months of his restoration. This appeared very improbable, and some numismatists therefore suspected that part of these varieties must have been struck by Henry VII.

Every lurking doubt that might have remained respecting the existence of open crowned coins of Henry VII., has been removed by the numismatic sagacity and good fortune of Mr. Cuff, who immediately assigned to that king a York penny with an open crown, MM, rose, having T at one side of the neck and T on the other. This coin was certainly struck by Thomas Rotherham, who did not become Abp. before 1480, many years after the death of Henry VI., no was there any Abp. during the reigns of the previous Henries to whom that initial could belong. Another, weight 11 3/4 gr. Rev. E. J. SHEPHERD. He has also one with T at each side of the head without the key, weight 8 3/4. (370). Another variety, from the same mint, and same MM. has a T at one side of the neck and a lis at the other, with H. in the centre of the rev. MB. (367). Rev. E. J. SHEPHERD. CUFF.

With these facts before us we may consider it as established beyond controversy, that Henry VII. did strike coins with an open crown, and that consequently there are three classes of his coins which strikingly differ from each other. The type of his first coinage resembles that of his predecessors, having the front face and open crown, with the cross and pellets on the reverse; then succeeded the front faced money with the arched crown and similar reverse; and thirdly the profile head with the armorial shield of England upon the reverse.

We may now proceed to describe those coins of the first type which, from the form of the crown, character of the countenance, their weight, and peculiar marks, we consider must be ascribed to this king.

Groats: London: not common. MM. rose, HENRIC DI GRA REX ANGL Z FRANC. a small cross at each side of neck, a small trefoil after POSVI. MB. Wt. 42. gr. Rud. iv. 21. Another with a small cross after POSVI. MB. Weight 42 gr. MM. upon both sides, lis upon rose, no cross or trefoil after POSVI. Rev. E. J. SHEPHERD. Wt. 45 gr. Similar to last but cross after POSVI, no crosses at side of neck. MB. Wt. 44 ½ gr. Another differs only from the last in having two crosses at the end of the legend on obv. (362). MB. Wt. 42 ½ gr. Another Wt. 41 gr. Another, no rose on breast, and the obv. MM. a plain cross. MB. 44 gr.

MM. cross fitchee, HENRICVS DEI GRA REX ANGL Z FR with two crosses at the end, cross at each side of neck, a small cross before POSVI. MB. in perfect preservation, 48 gr. (361). Rud. Sup. ii. 19. MB.

Hitherto there have not been any groats discovered of this first coinage of Henry VII. from any other mint than London.

Half groats were struck at London, Canterbury, York. Bristol?

Canterbury: MM. Ton. HENRIC DI GRA REX ANGL Z FRA. Cross at each side of neck, M. in centre of rev., after POSVI eye of Providence. MB. (363). Another without the eye, trefoil before TAS. MB. both rather scarce. This coin has been generally considered as struck by Abp. Morton, who held the See from 1487 to 1501, from there having been another half groat identically the same in every respect, except that the crown was arched. Still doubts were entertained, because the idea was so firmly fixed in most minds that the arched crown was the first type of Henry VII. Now however that this error is dispelled, there can be no doubt but that the above mentioned half groat with the open crown is a coin of Henry VII.

MM. rose, lis at each side of neck, pellet? on breast, M. in centre of reverse. Rud. Sup. iii. 23. Another without lis or pellet. Sn. ii. 33.

London: MM. lis upono rose, HENRIC DEO GRA REX ANGL Z F. (364). MB. v. r. There is another London coinage which closely resembles those of York, and are all remarkable for the rosettes, which are profusely introduced into the legens, HENRIC DI GRA REX ANGL Z F FR. or FRA. MM. lis. a rosette between every word, rosette before ADVITORE (sic) and MEV. Lozenge enclosing a pellet in centre of cross. MB. Another similar reads FRA and has rosettes also before CIVITAS, and LONDON. MB. Another has two rosettes between CIVITAS and LONDON. (365). MB. and another has also a rosette after London, MB. another has a rosette before and after CIVITAS and LONDON. MB. another with obverse MM. obliterated, has reverse MM. rosette, but no rosette in the inner legend. MB. The crosses upon the reverses are fourchee like those upon the known later coins of Henry VII. and it will be remarked how closely the rosy pieces resemble a series of half-groats with the arched crown.

York: HENRICI DI GRA REX AGLI Z FRAN. rosette between each word, one also before ADIVTORE. and MEVM, one before and after CIVITAS, one before EBORACI. The cross fourchee, having a lozenge inclosing a pellet in the centre. MM. on both sides, lis. MB. Rev. E. J. SHEPHERD. HENRIC DI GRA REX ANGL Z F. MM. lis, rosettes between each word. Rev. MM. cross, not any rosettes. Rud. Sup. ii. 22. ANGL Z FR. rosettes in legends; two between CIVITAS and EBORACI. Sir. H. ELLIS. ANGL Z FRAN. Similar to last, but a rosette also before CIVITAS. MB.

Pennies: The York pieces have been already described. Some were struck at Canterbury. MM. Ton. HENRIC--REX ANGL. cross at each side of neck, and M. in the centre of the Rev. (366). MB. v. r.

Halfpenny: HENRIC DI GRA REX. CIVITAS LONDON. MM. lis upon rose. (368). Rev. E. J. SHEPHERD. To this king probably belong the halfpennies reading DI GRA REX with a cross at each side of neck. MM. cross, pellets on reverse united. Rev. E. J. SHEPHERD. (369). Another with three pellets instead of cross on each side of neck. Rev. E. J. SHEPHERD.

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