House of Tudor AD 1485-1603

Medieval House of Tudor coins for sale.

The year 1489 saw major changes in the English coinage by Henry VII, the first gold pound was introduced, showing the king majestically enthroned, and became known as the ‘sovereign’, alongside which a more simplistic version appeared on the pennies. In addition, the style of the crown on the groat and lower denominations changed from an open to an arched crown.
The gold angel continued, though it was re-styled, and the ryal was minted again for a limited time. Notably, during the reign of Henry VII, the forerunner of the English shilling , the much sought after ‘testoon’ was introduced, which replaced the traditional facing bust portrait with a finely styled profile bust, also becoming a feature of the fractions, i.e. groat and halfgroat.
During the reign of Henry VIII a significant debasement of the gold and silver coinage occured to finance wars. However, the value of gold was initially increased to compete with relative prices in Europe and the gold Crown of the Rose at four shillings and sixpence, was introduced as a competitor of the French Ecu au Soleil. This was unsuccessful and was soon replaced by the Crown of the Double Rose at five shillings, though the gold fineness was reduced to 22 carat for the first time. The sovereign and angel continued, but were revalued to accomodate the new George Noble at one third of a pound.
Debasement continued under Henry’s son Edward VI with inventive measures to increase fineness but reduce weight of the silver coinage. In 1551, base silver was devalued prior to the issue of four new denominations, the crown, halfcrown, sixpence, struck in the finest silver to date issued under the Tudors. Base silver coins were also issued as small change. It is noteworthy that the first dates on English coinage appear during Edward’s reign. Mary Tudor subsequently returned the English gold coinage back to its sterling standard.
Of interest to the numismatist is the large number of denominations struck during the reign of Elizabeth I. The silver standard was restored, but during the reign both gold and silver underwent weight reduction. Small change became in short supply and sixpence, threepence, threehalfpence and threefarthings were struck in response, all marked with a rose behind the bust. Of note during Elizabeth’s reign are the first milled issues produced by mechanical methods compared to hand striking.

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