Henry VIII., 1509 to 1547.
The different coinages of Henry VIII. vary from each other in type, weight and fineness of metal; they
may be well divided into five classes. 1. at the commencement of his reight; 2. at his 18th year; 3. at his
34th year; 4 at his 36th year; 5. at his 37th year.
1. His first coinage exactly resembles that of the last years of his father, for he actually continued his
portrait upon the coin, only converting the VII. into VIII. in the legend, and, upon some of the half-
groats, giving the names of the mint instead of the usual legend of POSVI, &c. Of this coinage we have
the groat, half-groat, penny, half-penny and farthing.
The weight and fineness are the same as before, 11 1/10 fine silver, 9/10 alloy, and the penny
weighing 12 grains.
The groats of this coinage have all the POSVI &c. legend, and exactly resemble his father's, except that
they have VIII. instead of VII. after the name; they have MM. Pheon, Portcullis crowned. (390). Rud.
vii. 3. Sn. iii. 12. MB. and Castle, 2. MB.
The Tower half-groats are also like his father's but have no other MM. than the portcullis. Sn. iii. 11.
The Canterbury half-groats have MM. Pomegranate; at the sides of the shield W. A, for William
Wareham, Abp. from 1504 to 1532, and read CIVITAS CANTOR. (391). Rud. vii. 4. MB. Ruding
calls the MM. a flower, perhaps a thistle; it has too been called a poppy, but there can be little doubt
of its being intended for a pomegranate, adopted by Abp. Wareham in compliment to Queen
Catherine of Aragon, whose badge it was; as Cranmer afterwards used the Catherine wheel in
compliment to the same Queen. MM. Lis, Rud. Sup. iv. 14. Sn. iii. 16. Similar, but legend POSVI &c. Sn.
iii. 15. MM. Martlet, legend POSVI &c. WA above the shield, Rud. vii. 6. Sn. iii. 14. MB.
The York half-groats have the same types and the same variations of legend. Some have a Cardinal's
cap and keys under the shield without any initial letters. MM. Cinquefoil. Rud. vii. 5. MB.
Letter A? MB. Escallop, or Ermine? Sn. iii. 20. MB. Star. Rud. vii. 7. MB. All these
have for legend the name of the mint; those with the star have also the POSVI &c. legend. As they
have merely the indications of a Cardinal, without any initials, they were possibly struck by Christopher
Bainbridge, Abp. from 1508 to 1515, because, being the first Cardinal, he might consider the initials
unnecessary; they may, however, have been struck by Wolsey, Abp. from 1515 to 1531, who was also
a Cardinal. One, with X B and MM. a martlet, was clearly struck by Bainbridge, it has the POSVI legend
and no hat or keys. This might have been struck before 1511 in which year he was made a Cardinal,
Rud. Sup. 4. 15. Sn. iii. 17. Others with the keys, Cardinal's hat, T. W. and name of mint for legend, are
clearly struck by Wolsey. MM. cross voided. (392). Sn. iii. 19. MB. lis. Rud. Sup. 4. 16.
The type of the penny is the king seated, rev. armorial shield, the legends being always the king's title
and name of the mint. London. MM. Portcullis. (394). Rud. Sup. iv. 13. Sn. iii. 10. MB. or pheon.
vi. 24. MB. Durham, without letters or MM. Rud. Sup. iv. 17. or with D. W. for Dunelm Wolsey.
MM. mullet, 18. Sn. iii. 18. or with T. D. for Thos. Ruthall. MM. lis. Rud. Sup. iv. 7. Sn. iii. 1. MB.
The halfpenny of the first coinage is not, with certainty, to be distinguished from that of the second;
but there is some reason to think that all the first have the king's titles for the legend; though T. C. for
Thos. Cranmer upon a Canterbury halfpenny with such a legend, shews that it was also used upon the
second coinage, as that prelate did not become Abp. before 1533. A halfpenny with the front face of
king with his titles as legend, the cross and pellets upon the reverse with the name of London for
legend, and MM. Portcullis, we suppose to belong to this coinage, Rud. vii. 10. Sn. iii. 9. MB. As
also a Canterbury halfpenny of similar type and legends, with MM. pomegranate, and W A at the sides
of the head. (393). MB.
The farthing of this coinage is extremely rare. It has for type a Portcullis with the king's titles; Rev. a
cross with a rose upon the centre, and probably some abbreviation of CIVITAS LONDON; but only one
specimen, and that not legible, is known; it was Mr. Dimsdale's, at whose sale it produced £3..5s. Rud.
Sup. 2. xvi. 17. (395).
Henry VII, Third Coinage |
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Henry VIII, Second Coinage