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in our coinage, for besides the two improvements just mentioned there is a third, which, like the second, died with him, to be revived again some time after.


Foreign gold coins had been in circulation; for, says Ruding—“ In his thirty-fifth year, he commanded Philip "Luvel to pay the whole sum of gold which he owed the king, on the feast of St. Edward, in gold money, in bezants, "or ob de mus', and other gold money. Provided, however, that the aforesaid money should answer to the king at the "value of leaf gold; that is, I presume, fine gold." Probably Henry found this gold currency convenient, for in his forty-first year he struck and issued his gold penny (see Plate II), the rate of twenty pennies of sterlings for every gold penny; this coin, however, had not a long existence, for three months after its currency by proclamation, the citizens of London petitioned against it, and its circulation was then declared not to be compulsory; it soon after disappeared, and only three specimens are now known to exist. Edward I is said to have issued his first coinage of half-pence and farthings (see Plate III) in the year 1279, which are the first round half-pence and farthings now to be seen, though, as I said before, Henry III is known to have struck some.

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This new coinage was followed by a proclamation forbidding the circulation of clipped money, and appointing certain towns and cities as places where such light money could be exchanged, within a fixed time, for that of legal weight, but being charged fourteen-pence for every pound. In the same year groats, or great sterling, were ordered to be struck.

The year 1300 is worthy of note. From 1066 to this date a penny weighed 24 grains tower (one pennyweight), so that a pound (troy weight) was the same both by weight and tale or value; the penny was now altered in weight to 23-7073 grains.

Edward III was the first king of England who struck coins bearing Di Gra, or Dei Gratia; but these words are to be read on all the great seals since William I, and were used as early as the latter end of the seventh century by Ina, king of the West Saxons, in the introduction to his laws. In this our present age of enlightenment and education these words are considered by some nervous and superstitious people to be an indispensable part of the coin.

Mention is made of Edward III permitting florins de Escu and florins of Florence to be current. In 1343 proclamation was issued for three sorts of gold money to be coined; one with two leopards, to be current at six shillings, and equal in weight to two petit florins of Florence; the other two to be of one leopard and one helm, the half and quarter in value of the "two leopards" respectively. Some authorities give as the origin of "Florin" (Latin, Flora)-the lily-which, though on the foreign, was not copied on the English florin; others say it is from the coin having been introduced by the Florentines. All these gold coins were found to be too high in their current value in relation to the silver; they were, therefore, recalled in the same year, and a new coin, with its half and quarter, was issued and declared current-the noble, maille-noble and ferling-noble (see Plate II); the noble to pass for the value of six shillings and eight-pence. These coins differed from the silver in type. While those of silver still bore the unskilled portrait, cross and pellets, these bore, for the first time, the heraldic symbols; but that is only part of the difference; the one side bears king Edward in full armour in a ship. The origin of the design is doubtful; some say the battle of Sluys gave Edward the idea, as emblematic of his supremacy by sea; others suggest that the ship is typical of the State, and Edward in full armour, the king

at the helm, ready for all emergencies; but whence is suggested the legend, "Jesus autem transiens, per medium

eorum ibat?" Those who favour the first suggestion say it is to commemorate the battle above mentioned. Edward's ships, after going through the midst of the enemy, passed on victorious.


Edward III, it is believed, also first issued groats and their halves, in 1351, to pass for four pennies and two pennies. (See Plate III.)

In 1344 the noble was reduced nearly ten grains in weight, a pound of gold making forty-two nobles; and, at the same time, the penny was reduced to twenty grains, a pound of silver producing 22s. 6d. by tale.

False coins, called lusshebournes, began to be imported by merchants and others, who carried the good coin out of the realm, replacing it by these. Parliament was petitioned. Three years afterwards this base coin was still found to be coming into the country, and several merchants were hanged and drawn for importing it. So plentiful indeed were these base coins that Chaucer alludes to them in his Monkes Prologue, (Canterbury Tales,) line 13,965.

In consequence of the lineal relationship of Edward to the late king of France, he struck, in 1339, coins with "King of "France" added to his dignities; and this title, except for a short period during the life of the same king, was used by every succeeding English sovereign till the great issue in 1817. It is said by Froissart that this was first done to satisfy the Flemings, who wished to be on Edward's side in the contest between England and France; but, having taken oath not to fight against the king of France, Edward adopted the claim and title to enable them to assist him and still be free from the charge of perjury.

It would be tedious, and beyond the purpose of this paper, to enumerate in detail the uninteresting events in connec

tion with our coinage which immediately follow the reign of Edward III; suffice it to say, that the wars of the Roses saw base coin and clipping; and to such a state had the want of bullion come, that Henry VI "had recourse to alchemy "for the supply of his mints with bullion." In a patent which he granted to certain persons for practising that art, he speaks with the utmost confidence of being able to pay all his debts with real gold and silver "by the stone."

In 1470 angels (see Plate II) were struck of the same value as the noble of Edward III. Edward IV, in 1465, in an indenture, ordered 45 nobles to be made from the pound of gold, each noble being current at ten shillings, so that a pound of gold was coined into £22 10s. Silver was also diminished in weight. The new nobles were called rials, from the French, who gave that name to the coin on account of its bearing the figure of the king in his royal robes. Angels were afterwards called noble-angels, because they were of the same value as the former nobles and bore the impression of St. Michael and the Dragon, which design is supposed to have been the origin of St. George and the Dragon.

In the fifth year of Henry VII, says Ruding, "Gyles, "Lord Daubenay, and Bartholomew Rede, of London, gold"smith masters and workers of the Mint, in the Tower of "London, were ordered to make a new money of gold according "to the print and form of a piece of lead annexed to the letters


patent. The coin to be of the fineness of the standard of "the gold monies of the realm, according to the indenture "between the king and them, and to be double the weight of "the royal. Twenty-two and a half of such pieces to be "coined out of the pound weight tower, and to be called the "sovereign (see Plate II), and to have course in receipts and "payments for twenty shillings sterling."

This is the first introduction of our gold medium now in

circulation. First called a "sovereign" from the monarch or sovereign, in full length, on the obverse; it was changed in name to "double rial" by Mary, in accordance with her Spanish fancies and tendencies; again styled "sovereign" by Elizabeth, "unit" by James I, "guinea" by Charles II, and recoined as "sovereign" in 1817; rising and falling in relation to the shilling, as gold was scarce in relation to silver, more than once passing current for thirty shillings. Such was the last new coin issued within the date of my first section.

In this period we find the shilling of twelve pence, introduced by William I, from Normandy, but the penny, a "pennyweight," or 24 grs., being the weight of 24 grains of flour from the middle of the ear of wheat, was the only coin now known to have been issued in his reign of which we have a specimen. At a comparatively early date the first introduction of gold as a coin was opposed by the citizens of London, and only just at the close of this first or rude era do we see the sovereign appear: what we may term the two extremes of our present currency were coined at its two extremes; the shilling was not known as a coin, but was merely a money of value, and copper had not yet appeared as a circulating medium. The lawyer's fee had been settled in the shape of a noble, "six and eight pence," but our modern subscription of "a guinea," was not yet invented.

Though a penny varied in weight from twenty to twentyfour grains in the time of William I, such was the increase in the value of metal, that in the time of Henry III it had been reduced to twelve grains, or about one-half.

We have thus been brought to the end of the first and commencement of the second section of this paper; and on arriving at this point, I find I have made it so much more lengthy than I at first intended, that I think it would be well to pause and reserve the second and third divisions for another time.

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