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The English monarch that most people can recognise by looking at the coinage minted in the last three years of his life and the four years after he died. Few people can recognise him by looking at his first thirty five years of his coinage.

 

I hope that you can all recognise his rotund and bearded portrait on this coin. It may surprise you to learn that this coin is actually of Edward VI. As you may know, the Tudor period of England is one which has connotations of political unrest, religious turmoil and troubled reigns. This dynasty of change also saw a renaissance in its coinage. Before Henry VII, the first Tudor, the coinage was fairly plain with the usual cross and trefoil design which has remained a main feature of English coinage since Henry II of the 12th Century.

 

Coins like this...

 

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...soon became works of art and could be regarded as truly beautiful. These coins developed in the Tudor period into pieces of exceptional workmanship such as this...

 

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The Henry VIII groat shown at the top is of Henry VIII's Posthumous coinage and was therefore of Edward VI's reign even though it bore the name and portrait of Edward's father. The Posthumous coinage was only minted for just a few years but still caused an uproar as many were debased due to the financial state of the country. Henry VIII was a very ambitious man, and his ambition meant that he wasted plenty of money on his personal skirmishes such as the Siege of Boulogne whereby he tried to take French territory for England. Henry wasted vast amounts of money on funding his army even though it was successful as England held on to Calais and the surrounding area until 1558. By debasing the coinage, it is making the true value of the coinage less with regards to its monetary value. So Henry VIII's silver coinage was debased with copper so that less silver could be used to represent the same value of money, Henry VIII needed this silver to fund his armies.

 

The pictures are taken at a slant in order to bring out the best detail using natural light. The coin itself is 27mm in diameter, just about an inch.

 

The coin's obverse reads "HENRIC 8 . D . GR . AGL '. FR . ET . HIB . REX ." This essentially translates to Henry VIII, by the Grace of God, King of England, France and Ireland. Henry VIII was the first monarch to have Arabic numbers to denote his title, normally it would have read HENRICUS VIII. The bust on this coin is his Sixth Bust and is in remarkable condition given the usual state of these coins.

 

The reverse features the typical shield with three lions in each of two quarters and three fleurs-de-lys in each of the other two quarters. The legend reads POSVI DEUMA DIVITOR EMEV which can be read as "I have made God my helper." On the reverse you should be able to make out the "mintmark" just after 12 O'clock.

 

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This mintmark is a martlet which is a heraldic bird, often compared to a swift. The martlet can narrow down the date of the coin to 1550/1551 making this one of the last coins to be minted in Henry's name.

 

All in all, this is a scarce coin and one which is very hard to get hold of in legible condition. To get the infamous portrait in such a prominent condition is an added bonus and one which adds substantially to its value, both historically and monetarily.

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Very interesting. The 1561 piece is truly beautiful.

 

Note to self: I will not, repeat not, start developing a desire for hammered coins. :ninja:

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Wow! I didn't know about the Arabic numeral change. Its odd to see a coin that old with arabic numerals in a legend but I guess I've seen plenty of coins dated in Arabic numerals in the date!

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Very interesting. The 1561 piece is truly beautiful.

 

You can see it here: http://www.coinpeople.com/index.php?showtopic=22815

 

 

Note to self: I will not, repeat not, start developing a desire for hammered coins. :ninja:

 

;) Good! I don't need any more competition... ;)

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