Sunday, August 17, 2008

Question from Lynne - Henry VIII coins early in Edward VI's reign

Any idea why Edward VI issued posthumous coins bearing Henry VIII's portrait for the first few years of his reign, in addition to coins bearing his own portrait? Was it convenience?--or perhaps wanting to assert and identify himself, since he was merely a boy, as his father's son? This has always puzzled me.

1 comment:

PhD Historian said...

The simple answer is convenience. It was not uncommon for coins minted in the first years of a reign to be manufactured using the stamping die of the previous reign. The earliest coinage of Henry VIII's reign similarly used the die of his father's mint. Coins in the early Tudor period did not bear a mint date, so the user had no real way to know that any specific coin was actually minted after the monarch depicted on it was dead. It was thus easier and less costly for the mint to simply continue to use a stamping die until it wore out and had to be replaced.

Coinage using Henry VIII's image and stamping die persisted until 1551, the fifth year of Edward's reign. Surviving examples include pennies, groats (four pence), half-sovereigns (half a pound, equal to 10 shillings or 120 pence), and sovereigns (one pound or 20 shillings or 240 pence).