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The Silver Coins of England

Edward Hawkins, 1841
Sole Monarchs of England - Stephen

Table of Contents

Stephen, 1135 to 1154.

Upon the death of Henry, Stephen usurped the throne, and is said to have speedily dissipated the treasures of his predecessor in supporting his disputed power. He is said to have exceedingly debased the coin of the realm, and his turbulent barons to have assumed the privilege of coining and issuing money so light and debased, "that in ten or more shillings the value of twelve pence could scarcely be found." It is remarkable that none of this debased money, either of Stephen himself, or of his discontented Barons, has come down to the present times; all his coins appear to have been of the proper weight and standard, though very carelessly struck, and the few coins of this period, which have reached us, not struck by himself, but by his family or friends, are of good silver, though perhaps somewhat below the legal weight, or 22 ½ gr. His name is variously spelt. STEFNE, STEIFNE, STEFN, STIEFNEI, STIEN, STIFN, &c. with the addition sometimes of R or RE. Upon one remarkable coin, struck at Derby, he is styled STEPHANVS REX. (277), see also the coin of Henry, bishop of Winchester, (279).

There are about thirty-six moneyers known of this king. His coins are seldom found in good condition, and are rare in any state, with the exception of No. 3.

The types of Stephen are,

  1. Front face, sceptre. Rev. cross, voided throughout, within a tressure, fleury internally. (268). Rud. i. 16. or, more correctly on reverse, S. 2. ii. 18. Sn. i. 25. MB. 13.
  2. Ditto. Rev. cross voided, terminating with three pellets; mullet pierced in each angle. (269). Rud. i. 18. MB. 6. two halves.
  3. Profile to right, sceptre. Rev. cross moline, generally pierced at the end; the terminations meet and form a tressure fleury internally. (270). Rud. i. 17. Sn. i. 26. MB. 16.
  4. Similar to No. 3, but flag instead of sceptre, and star in the field. (271). Rud. S. ii. 4. Sn. i. 27. MB. These figures are incorrect in almost all respects; they, as well as our figures, were taken from the Museum specimen; in the legend ornaments have been mistaken for letters and a false name assigned to the moneyer.
  5. Similar to No. 3, but horseman's mace instead of sceptre. (272). Rud. S. i. 5. Sn. i. 28. MB. 1.
  6. Profile as No. 3. Rev. four sided compartment, inclosing a pellet and each angle terminating in a pellet, upon a cross voided. (273). MB. 1.
  7. Profile to right, rosette in field. Rev. cross potent pierced in the centre; three pellets at the termination of each limb, mullet pierced in each angle. (274). Rud. Sup. 2. ii. 19. MB. 1.
  8. Profile, as No. 3. Rev. cross potent, annulet inclosing a pellet in each angle, (275). Rud. Sup. 2. ii. 20. MB. 1.
  9. Front face. Rev. cross potent pierced in the centre within a tressure, fleury internaly, which also forms the inner circle. (276). Rud. Sup. 2. ii. 17. MB. 2.
  10. Profile to right, sceptre. Rev. cross voided, martlet in each angle, called the Confessor's arms, (277). Rud. Sup. 2. ii. 15. see also Confessor's (228). exceedingly rude. MB. 1.
  11. Profile to right, sceptre. Rev. cross patee concaved at the ends upon a cross fleury, DG and various ornaments, instead of legend. (278). Rud. i. 19. Sn. i. 29. MB. 1.
  12. Profile to left, sceptre. Rev. cross fleury, quatrefoil in each quarter. Rud. Sup. 2. i. 8. To this head occurs a reverse similar to that of Hen. I, (251). Rud. i. 15. or Sup. ii. 2.
  13. Front face. Rev. tressure of four sides, fleury, inclosing a star; an annulet opposite each side. Rud. Sup. 2. ii. 16. not unlike Henry I. 265.

Henry I | Table of Contents | Henry, Bishop of Winchester and Robert

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