Noble: Henry IV Standing in Ship with Shield of Arms (obverse); Ornamental Cross with Lis Terminals (reverse)

Noble: Henry IV Standing in Ship with Shield of Arms (obverse); Ornamental Cross with Lis Terminals (reverse)

1399-1412

Part of a set. See all set records

Gold

Diameter: 3.4 cm (1 5/16 in.)

Weight: 7.751 g (0.27 oz.)

The Norweb Collection 1969.163

Location

Did you know?

The heavier weight gold Noble was the earlier issue of the reign of Henry IV and weighed more than those produced after 1413.

Description

This is an exceedingly rare coin, only five pieces are known. Of them three are in the British Museum, one with the American Numismatic Society, and one in the Norweb collection, this specimen. Classified as part of the "heavy coinage series," refers both to its great rarity and to the economic state of England at this period. With the ascension of Henry IV, the first king of the House of Lancaster, an economic crisis caused the export of English coins and the import of base foreign currencies. With the English coinage undervalued with relation to foreign coinages the drain on bullion was so great that the supply failed. The result was that until the end of 1403 few coins were struck. At Easter, 1412, steps were taken to reduce the metal content/value of both gold and silver coins. This was done by reducing the weight of metal but issuing the coins at the same face value. Thus the Nobles of the light coinage series which follow that above weighed only 6.9983 gms. This corrected the situation somewhat. Gold coins remained scare, but by the end of the reign silver was plentiful. In modern times, when most current coins of the world have no intrinsic value above a few cents, the same maneuver is carried out by altering the exchange rate between the various currencies concerned.

See also
Collection: 
MED - Numismatics
Department: 
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 
Coins
Medium: 
Gold
Credit line: 
The Norweb Collection

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