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Llewellynn Jewitt and Barclay V. Head - 2016

Coins of the Ancient Britons

It is not possible to say, with any degree of certainty, at what precise period our ancient British forefathers acquired a knowledge of the art of coining, or into what part of our island that art was first introduced. The probability, however, amounting almost to a certainty, is that the use of money and, consequently, the art of making it, was introduced into Britain from Gaul; and the Kentish coast being the nearest to that country, and receiving friendly and bartering incursions from the Belgic tribes, with whom, doubtless, the natives traded, the natural assumption is that money was known to, and its use appreciated by, the inhabitants of that county long before those of the inland and more northern parts of the island had any knowledge of such a medium as a substitute for ordinary product-barter. Kent may therefore, I apprehend, be looked upon as the district in which money made its first appearance in our country; and, probably, where also it was first made by our Celtic progenitors.

The period which may, with more than ordinary probability; be assigned to the adoption of a home-struck currency among the tribes of our country, is also, naturally, a matter about which only a vague conclusion can be arrived at. The conclusion, however, that has been come to after the most assiduous and searching attention to and consideration of every possible circumstance of locality, analogy of types, and weight, is that that period may be fixed at from a hundred and fifty to two hundred years before the birth of Christ. This, then, for general purposes may be looked upon as the most closely approximate period that the present state of our knowledge has enabled those numismatists who have made this branch of the science their special study to arrive at.

The type of supposed earliest coins of the Britons, derived, there can be no doubt, from those of Gaul, to which they had become accustomed, are uninscribed; those of Gaul having, in turn, originally and long before the days of Julius Caesar, been derived from the stater of Philippus of Macedon. This has been ably shown and insisted upon by various writers, and to it Mr. Evans, the highest and most enlightened authority upon the subject, has given his full adhesion. The Phocaean colony of Massilia (Marseilles), he says, 'appears to have formed the centre from which civilization spread through Gaul, as well as to have been the emporium of its commerce. It was founded about B.C. 600, and from intercourse with its inhabitants the neighbouring Gauls first learned the usages of civilized life, and after a time became acquainted with the art of coining. The early silver coins of Massilia (and none in gold are known) were occasionally imitated in the surrounding country; but when, about the year B.C. 356, the gold mines of Crenides (or Philippi) were acquired by Philip II. of Macedon, and worked so as to produce about £250,000 worth of gold annually, the general currency of gold coins, which had before been of very limited extent, became much more extensive, and the stater of Philip—the regale numisma of Horace—became everywhere diffused, and seems at once to have been seized on by the barbarians who came in contact with Greek civilization as an object of imitation. In Gaul this was especially the case, and the whole of the gold coinage of that country may be said to consist of imitations, more or less rude and degenerate, of the Macedonian Philippus.'

The types of the Philippus are, on the obverse, a laureated profile bust of Apollo, or young Hercules, and, on the reverse, a charioteer in a biga, and the earliest Gaulish imitations are tolerably closely, though more rudely, rendered. These, naturally, were introduced, and became known, to the Britons, who, as naturally, imitated them, as their neighbours had done the originals. But these imitations were not always servile, but had occasionally additional features, as drapery, a torque round the neck, a bandlet, or what not. The constant reproducing of the dies by different workmen and in different localities also resulted in the original design being at length almost lost, and what now, to the uninitiated, appear a lot of unmeaning pellets and curved strokes, serve only as indications, or faint traces, of the original. Here, upon the coins, is an example. First is the stater of Philip of Macedon, with laureated bust and biga; next a British coin on which there is an attempted reproduction of the head on one side, and a rude imitation of horse and driver on the other; and on the third a very degenerate example, on which only a trace of each is discernible. These three, out of hundreds of examples, will serve to show the descent of the type and the changes to which the design has been subjected. Other types shared the same fate, and thus the correct appropriation of Celtic coins becomes a matter of no little difficulty. It is well to remember, as evidenced by these gradual marks of degeneration, that the ruder coins are not, as might well be (and indeed have usually been) supposed, the oldest, but are, in fact, later than others of a higher and more artistic character. In other words, some of these series of coins, instead of showing the onward and gradual progress of art from a first rude attempt up to a highly finished work, serve to exhibit step by step its gradual degeneracy and decline down to ultimate extinction.

Other coins were more or less imitations of Roman coins, but others again have a true native character about them that shows that the Briton, who was an admirable and accomplished worker in metals, was also a clever die-sinker, and had in him considerable power of design.

Celtic coins are usually considered under two classes, the uninscribed and the inscribed—that is, those which are without any inscriptions, and those upon which names or other letters occur—and it seems to be a generally received opinion that whenever an inscribed currency was in use, an uninscribed one had preceded it. The uninscribed are, unfortunately, the most abundant, and therefore, manifestly, it is impossible to judge by them to what princes or tribes they belong. The geographical arrangement—that of classifying the types according to the localities in which they have been found—has therefore, as a general and very convenient rule, to be adopted. Some coins, as the one here engraved from my own collection, have the convex side perfectly plain, while the reverse, concave, side bears a more or less rude representation of a horse.

'Although we have assigned the date of about 150 B.C. for the commencement of the British coinage,' Mr. Evans remarks, 'it is hard to say with any degree of certainty in what part of the country it actually commenced. The study of this class of coins is to some extent like that of geology: we have no written testimony on which to fall back, and the annals of the past have to be reconstructed from the evidence of contemporary yet dumb witnesses disinterred from the soil. But the numismatist has none of those aids which the geologist derives from the order of superposition, and the mineral characters of the rocks in which his fossils are preserved; and, in the case of uninscribed coins, has nothing but the type and its geographical range on which to found any conclusion, unless, as in some rare instances it happens, the coins are associated with others of more certain date. The mere fact of finding a single coin of a certain class in a certain locality proves nothing; but when a considerable number of coins of much the same type are found at different times in places all within a certain district, the proof becomes almost conclusive that they were originally struck within that district. And this holds true even with gold coins, which, from their greater value and relative portability, have, as a rule, a much wider range than those of silver or copper.'

The districts into which it has been found most convenient (and undoubtedly as presenting an arrangement that may be looked upon as practically correct) to classify the inscribed coins are as follows:—

I.—COINS OF THE WESTERN DISTRICT, or country of the Dobuni, comprising the present counties of Somerset, Wilts, Gloucester, and part of Oxfordshire and Berkshire, and in which are classed the coins of—

BODVOC of uncertain date.
VO-CORIO-AD (?) " "
ANTEDRIGVS after 41 A.D.
SVEI uncertain date.
INARA (?) 

II.—SOUTH-EASTERN DISTRICT, or country of the Belgae, Regni, and Atrebatii, comprising the present counties of Hampshire, Sussex, and West Surrey, and in which are classed the coins of—

COMMIVS the earliest inscribed coin, 55 B.C.
son of Commius.
VERICA or VIRICA son of Commius. The first coin with REX inscribed.

III.—KENTISH DISTRICT, or country of the Cantii, comprising the present counties of Kent and East Surrey, and in which are classed the coins of—

EPPILLVS son of Commivs.
VOSE[NOS] of uncertain date.
CRAB " "

IV.—The CENTRAL DISTRICT, or country of the Catyeuchlani and Trinobantes, comprising the present counties of Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Middlesex, Essex, Northamptonshire, and parts of Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, and Oxfordshire, and in which are included the coins of—

ANDOCO[MIVS] contemporary with Tasciovanus.
TASCIOVANVS 30 B.C., who died 5 A.D.
VERULAMIUM which was the chief seat of Tasciovanus's government.
contemporary, but unknown.
EPATICVSson of Tasciovanus.
CVNOBELINVS son of Tasciovanus, circa 40 A.D.
And several others whose legends are undecipherable.

V.—The EASTERN DISTRICT, or country of the Iceni, comprising the present counties of Norfolk and Suffolk, and parts of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, and in which are classed the coins of—

ADDEDOMARVS, supposed to have been contemporary with Cunobelinus.
CAV (?) or CAM
all unknown

VI.—The YORKSHIRE DISTRICT, or country of the Brigantes, comprising Yorkshire and parts of the adjacent counties to the south, and in which are included the coins of—


The parts of the country inhabited at one time or other by various tribes may be tabulated as follows, and will be useful to students of that early period of national history; the present names of counties, as the most convenient, are given in the list. The tribes seem to have been the—

  • Ancalites, an early tribe who inhabited part of Berkshire.
  • Atrebates, the main portion of Berkshire.
  • Attacotti, a fierce Scottish tribe.
  • Belgae, the country from the southern coast to the Bristol Channel, including Hants, Wilts, and Somerset.
  • Bibroci, an early tribe, part of Berks, and Hants, Surrey, Sussex, and the east of Kent.
  • Brigantes, the country from the Mersey and Humber to Scotland.
  • Cimbri, the borders of Devonshire.
  • Cangi, North Wales, on the coast of the Irish Sea.
  • Cantii, Kent, which in Caesar's time was divided among four chiefs or kings.
  • Cassi, Hertfordshire.
  • Catyeuchlani, Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire, and Hertfordshire.
  • Coenimagni, Suffolk.
  • Coritani, or Coritavi, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, and Rutland.
  • Cornabii, Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Cheshire, and part of Flintshire.
  • Dumnonii, or Damnonii, Cornwall and Devonshire.
  • Demetae, Caermarthenshire, Cardiganshire, and Pembrokeshire.
  • Dobuni, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.
  • Durotriges, Dorsetshire.
  • Gadeni, Cumberland and part of Northumberland; and Selkirk, and adjacent portions of Scotland.
  • Hedui, Somersetshire.
  • Iceni, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, and Huntingdonshire.
  • Jugantes, coast of the Irish Sea.
  • Morini, Dorsetshire.
  • Ordovices, Flint, Denbigh, Montgomery, Merioneth, Caernarvon, and Anglesea.
  • Otadini, the land from the Tyne to the Forth. Parisii, the south-east of Yorkshire.
  • Regni, Surrey and Sussex.
  • Remi, supposed to be identical with the Bibroci.
  • Segontiaci, the greater part of Hampshire, and Berkshire.
  • Senones, a portion of Hampshire.
  • Sestuntii, Westmoreland and Cumberland.
  • Silures, Herefordshire, Radnorshire, Brecknockshire, Monmouthshire, and Glamorganshire.
  • Trinobantes, Middlesex and Essex.
  • Voluntii, Lancashire.

I now proceed to enumerate some of the inscribed coins referred to under the geographical arrangement already given.


Coins bearing the word BODVOC, BODVO, or ODVOC, have usually, but erroneously, been ascribed to Boadicea, Queen of the Iceni. As is remarked by Evans, 'there is no ground for supposing that any coins were struck by Boadicea, who never seems to have exercised the queenly power, unless as the leader of a short-lived revolt, and whose chief complaint against the Romans was, that the kingdom left by her husband Prasutagus, to which possibly she may have hoped to succeed, was overrun and pillaged by their troops, she herself scourged, and her daughters put to shame.' Moreover, no coins of BODVOC have ever been found in the Icenian territory, but are confined to the opposite side of the country; and are evidently of a date anterior to the revolt of Boadicea. The usual type has on the obverse simply the word BODVOC in large letters across the field; reverse, a horse of more or less disjointed character, with chariot-wheel and other details. One example has, however, on the obverse a profile bust to the left, and letters BODVO in front of the face; and reverse, a horse, etc.


A convex coin. Obverse, an object which may be described as a branch, or a spike of flowers; reverse, a disjointed horse, chariot-wheel, etc., and the letters CATTI.


Much the same as the last, with the letters, on reverse, COMVX.


The reading of these is doubtful. The coins are much the same as the last, with the letters VO-CORIO over the horse on the reverse. One variety has the additional letters A D in front of the horse's head, and another also a D by its legs; thus the continuous inscription would be VOCORIOADD, but is at present uninterpretable.


Obverse, same as the last; reverse, disjointed horse, with chariot-wheel and other objects, and the letters ANTEDRIGV, or ANTE[BO] I. OV. Another type has, obverse, a barbarous attempt at a head; and reverse, a horse as usual, with the letters ANTE[BO], or ANTED, or ANTE[BO]RI, etc.


Obverse, as before; reverse, disjointed horse, with chariot-wheel, etc., and the letters INMA, INAM, or more probably INARA.


Obverse, barbarous attempt at a head; reverse, disjointed horse, and letters SV above, and EI beneath the horse. Probably struck by some British regulus whose name began with SVEI.


Obverse, rude attempt at a head; reverse, disjointed horse, with chariot-wheel, etc., and the letters MMIOS, or OMMIOS.


A son of Commivs. Obverse, on some, portions of a rude bust; on others, TINC on a sunk tablet; others, COM, or COM•F, on a similar sunk tablet; others, TINCOM, or NCOM, etc., between zigzag and corded lines across the field; others, TINC on a tablet, above which is C and below F, etc. Reverse, on some, a rude, disjointed horse, with the letters, TINC COMMI F; others, a horse as before, with TIN DV; others, of a higher class of art, a horseman poising a javelin, and charging to the left, with C F below and a star above; others, horseman with javelin as before, and TIN; another, a winged head of Medusa, which unique coin is in Mr. Evans's cabinet; others, a horse and TIN; and other varieties.


A son of Commivs. Obverse, an expanded five-lobed leaf, or a cluster of five oak leaves, with VI on one side, and RI on the other; a sunk tablet of various forms, with the letters COM•F; VERI•COM•F in two lines; VERICA COMMI F encircling a circular shield, or other object; COM F between crescents with horns facing inwards; a semi-draped seated figure, with VERICA; a filleted bust with VIRRI; and others, examples of which are here engraved. Reverse, on some a horseman galloping or leaping, with CO•F, VIR REX, or VIR; a riderless horse with REX, VI, VIR; a lion with VIR; a trophy of an attempted imitation of the Roman caduceus between two cornucopiae, rising from a two-handled vase, and COMMI F; a capricorn, with EPPI COM F, etc.; this latter being very remarkable as bearing the names of the two brothers Verica and Eppillus. Another variety has a horseman on each side, with COM F on the obverse, and VERICA on the reverse; and another, a diademed and draped bust on one side with VIRI, and on the other, a seated figure of Victory (?), as here engraved.


One of the sons of Commius, and brother to Tinc[ommius] and Verica. His name occurs in various stages of abbreviation, EPPILLVS, EPPIL, EPPI, EPP, and EP. Obverse, on some the name EPPIL COM F in two lines across the coin; others, a circular wreath inclosing COM F; or winged figure of Victory within a wreath; or a beaded band and a line of foliage in saltire, with the four letters E P P I, one on each of the angles of the cross; or a diademed head; or an eagle rising with EPP; or an ornamental cross, with EPPI COM F between the limbs, Fig. E); or a bull, evidently copied from the coin of Augustus, here engraved. Reverse, a winged horse, or Pegasus; or an undraped horseman galloping, with EPPILLVS, etc.; or draped horseman galloping, with EPPI COM F; or horse only, with EPPI, and a quatrefoil or other ornaments; or undraped standing winged figure, with EP; or a crescent between two clusters of pellets, with REX CALLE (supposed to allude to Calleva—Silchester—as place of mintage); and other varieties.


Obverse, on some a device (placed diagonally across the coin) that may almost be taken to be the thunderbolt of Jove, between two circles that may be the wheel of Nemesis, the emblem of swift and retributive justice, as not unfrequently represented in Roman art; or a laureated head, with DVBNO; or other device. Reverse, on some a horse with or without a wreath or branch below and other minor devices, with the letters DVBNO ..., [DV]BNOVELL ..., DVBNOVIILLA, [DVBNO]VIILLAVN, or DVBNO[VELLA]VNOS; or a griffin, or ornithocephalous winged horse with star and other ornaments; or a horse with DVBN in a tablet; or other varieties.

VOSE[NOS] (?).

Obverse, plain convex. Reverse, a horse, above which is a bull's head and a ring ornament; and, beneath, what has been described as a 'horned serpent,' but may be a torque or other object, with ... NOS; or a horse with other accompaniments, and VOSII.


Obverse, a bust to the right, with or without AMMI; or a plant of seven branches with AMMINVS. Reverse, front view of a biga, or what may be described as two demi-horses conjoined, heads and forelegs facing outwards, a human head between, and the letters E above and S below; or the exergual line, winged Pegasus passant, with DVN above and AM; or a Capricorn, or hippocampus, and AM.


Only two coins, according to Mr. Evans, are known bearing this name, or rather commencement of a name, the remainder of which is unknown. One of the two known examples bears on the obverse a cross whose limbs are formed of three rows of beads, with central ring, and in the angles between the limbs of the cross the letters C R A B. Reverse, an eagle rising regardant. The other has, obverse, the letters C R A B on a tablet, above which is an annulet, and, below, an S-shaped object; reverse, a tressure of six beaded points, points outwards, with a central ring, and within each of the outer curves three pellets.


Obverse, on some, bust to the right, with the letters ANDOCO; or a double cruciform ornament, formed, the one cross of beaded fillets, and other of two torque-like figures, more or less developed and accompanied by other minor marks, Fig. B); or a bearded profile bust with a, etc. Reverse, a horse, with ANDOCO; or a horse with a bull's head above, and ANDO; or a bridled winged Pegasus, with ANDOC, the N and D conjoined, etc.


Ascertained from numismatic evidence to have been the father of Cunobelinus and of Epaticcus, is supposed to have reigned some quarter of a century B.C., with his capital fixed at Verulamium, and to have died somewhere about 5 B.C. Obverse, on some, a double cruciform device of the same general character as the last described, but of more or less disjointed and imperfect execution, Fig. H); or a somewhat similar device, with the letters TASCI between the limbs of the cross; or TASC on an oblong tablet with lines extended from its angles, and forming, with a beaded band, etc., a kind of cruciform ornament; or TASC within an oblong tablet surrounded by a beaded circle; or a beaded bust to the left; or a laureated bust, with TASCIA; or a Pegasus, with TAS; or an eagle, wings closed, regardant, with TASCIA; or a bust to the right, with TASCIAVA; and others. Reverse, on some, a horse with various accompaniments, with TASCIOVAN, [T]ASCIAV, TAXCI, TASCIA, or TASC, etc.; or a mounted horseman, with various contractions of the name; or a figure of Pegasus; or a bull with tail over back and head as in act of tossing, as on the coin of Augustus (already referred to under Eppillus), from which it has evidently been copied; or a winged griffin; or a boar; or other device.


The coins of Verulamium, the ancient city of Verulam, near St. Albans, the capital of the Catyeuchlani, and a place of mintage during some period of time, are tolerably numerous in their types and of considerable interest. Its name as a place of mintage first appears upon the coins of Silvanus; on the gold in extremely small characters, but more conspicuously upon the silver and copper pieces. On some of the latter we have the name of the town alone, without that of the prince, but the types are so connected with those which bear the name of Tasciovanus that it is evident the apparently autonomous coins must have been issued during his reign. Among the abbreviated forms of the name of the city upon coins there struck are V, VER, VIIR, and VERLAMIO, and these occur in connection with, or separate from, other inscriptions. The obverse of one, bearing the letters VERLAMIO between the points of the limbs of a double cruciform ornament, is engraved on, Fig. J).


Coins bearing the letters—


and the like, in two lines divided from each other in a tablet across the field of the coin, appear to have been struck by Tasciovanus at some town of mintage indicated by RICON, but which has not yet been satisfactorily ascertained.


Coins bearing the letters SEGO on a tablet, with or without the TASCIO of Tasciovanus, would seem to have been struck by him at some place, or recording some tribe, not yet accurately appropriated.


One of the sons of Tasciovanus and brother of Cunobeline. Obverse, on some, an ear of bearded coin and the letters TASCI F; or a head of Hercules, and EPATI or EPAT. Reverse, on some a nude mounted horseman, with lance and shield, and EPATICCV; or an eagle standing on a serpent, etc.


The 'Cymbeline' of Shakespeare, a son of Tasciovanus and brother of Epaticcus, and during whose reign the birth of our Saviour took place, struck a considerable variety of coins in all the metals. He had Camulodunum (Colchester) for his capital and place of mintage. Of his sons Togodumnos and Caractacus no coins are known. The coins of Cunobeline are so numerous and varied that it is not necessary to summarize their types. The following are examples of the inscriptions:—

Obverse, CAMVL.   Reverse, CVNOBELI.
  CA MV.     CVNO.
  CA MV.     CVN.
  CVN.     CV N.
  CVNO.     TASC. F.
  CVN or CVNO.     CAM.
  CVNO.     CAMV.
  CAMVL.     CVNO.


Possibly partly contemporary with Cunobeline. Obverse, on some a singular device partaking of the conventional form of the 'Thunderbolt of Jove,' as before alluded to; on others, a six-limbed device, the limbs curved in 'Catherine-wheel' form, and springing from three central crescents, rings and pellets in the angles; or a cross with beaded lines and two crescents, Fig. C). Reverse, on some, a horse with or without branch beneath, and with or without wheel, and other rude ornaments, and ADDEDO-MARVS, or ADDEDO, or A[BO][BO]IIDO[M], or other abbreviations.


A number of inscribed coins about which nothing certain is known have, with considerable show of reason, been attributed generally to the Iceni. Their types are very varied, and need not be recapitulated. Among the inscriptions are the following:—ECE or ECEN (probably for ICEN), AESV, SAEMV or SAFMV, ANTD or ANTED, CAV ... DVRO (possibly DVRO-CAM[BORICVM]), etc., etc. Many varieties of uninscribed coins are also, with more or less show of reason, attributed to the Iceni. The obverse of one example is engraved on.


A number of coins have, with plausible reasoning, been appropriated by Mr. Evans and other authorities, to the Brigantes, whose dominions seem to have comprised Yorkshire, Lancashire, and other northern parts, and who are indeed said to have been the original inhabitants, the Britons proper, of the island, who had been driven inland and northwards by successive invaders of the soil, and they seem to have been among the latest to retain the original national characteristics. Among the inscribed coins (which are of unusual rudeness) believed to have belonged to them, are those bearing the letters VO•LI•SI•OS on the obverse, and DVM NOCO VEROS, or DVMNO CO VEROS, on the reverse; DVMNOVERO; IISVPSV; VEP, VEP CORF, or VEP RF; DVMN on obverse, and TIGIP-SENO on reverse; AVNT or AVN-T, the AVN being over the back of the horse, and the T beneath its neck.


A number of types of rude uninscribed coins, partaking of the character of those of Gaulish origin, mostly in billon, but sometimes of silver or bronze, are ascribed to the Channel Islands, and numbers of them have been found in Jersey and other islands, as well as in our own country. The examples engraved are in my own possession, and were found, with others, in Devonshire.

The usual type is a boldly cut, but rudely designed, head, a coarse imitation of the Greek already referred to; and the reverse a horse more or less disjointed or disintegrated, and accompanied by indications, more or less distinct, of wheels and other objects.

As indicating to some extent the area over which the coins of the ancient Britons circulated, it may be said that the approximate number of recorded localities in which 'finds' have been made in the 'forty shires' may be summarized as most of all in Kent (say forty places); about half that number in Dorset, Sussex, and Essex; about a third in Oxfordshire; say a fourth in Suffolk, Surrey, Buckingham, Hampshire, Herts, and Northampton; and so decreasing in Beds., Cambs., and Norfolk; Berks, Middlesex, and Gloucester; Wilts and Somerset; Berks, Middlesex, and Gloucester; Wilts and Somerset; Lincolnshire and Yorkshire; Leicestershire, Monmouthshire, and Worcestershire; and Devonshire, Cornwall, Huntingdon, Lancashire, Northumberland, Nottingham, and Westmoreland. Derbyshire, Staffordshire, and the other counties not enumerated, not having, so far as at present known to me, produced a single recorded example.

Coins of the Anglo-Saxons

The earliest coins of the Anglo-Saxon period appear to have been rude imitations of some of the later current pieces of their Roman predecessors in our island. It seems doubtful whether at first they had a coinage of their own, the probability being that those of the Romano-Britons continued, as they naturally would, to be circulated. Some of the sceattae bear more or less rude figures and uncouth heads and devices, some being evident imitations of the well-known type of Romulus and Remus suckled by the she-wolf, and others of equally well known types. From the sceattae, one of our common expressions at the present is derived. The word in the singular is sceat or scaet, and the Saxon sc being pronounced soft, as sh, became sheat or shaet. From this it naturally became corrupted into 'shot,' and thus 'paying your shot' simply meant paying your money, or clearing your reckoning, and 'not having a shot in your locker,' being without money in cupboard, or purse. These early coins, some of which appear to bear Runic characters, cannot with any degree of certainty be appropriated to any kings.

The penny, penig, pening, or pending (said to be the diminutive of pand, a pledge, and also by some said to be derived from pendere, to weigh) is first named in the laws of Ina, king of the West Saxons, who began to reign A.D. 688. It was, as now, as has been conclusively shown, the 240th part of a pound, which weighed about 5760 grains; the weight of a penny was, therefore, 24 grains, which still in our tables constitute a 'dwt.' or 'pennyweight.'

The generally received opinion is that the first pennies as succeeding the sceattae; and quite independent of the stycas, were struck by Offa, king of Mercia, from A.D. 757 to 796. 'When the kingdoms of the Heptarchy were united in one sovereignty,' as I have written on another occasion, 'the mints were regulated by laws framed by the Wittenagemote, or Great Council of the Nation; but it was not till the time of AEthelstan (924-940), that it was appointed there should be one kind of money throughout the whole realm, and that no one should coin but in a town. According to Stow, 'AEthelstan made, seven coining mints at Canterbury, four for the king, two for the archbishop, and one for the abbot; at Rochester three, two for the king, and one for the bishop. Besides these, in London eight, in Winchester six, in Lewes two, in Chichester one, in Hampton two, in Shaftesbury two, and in every other town one coiner.' The coins remaining pretty well prove this, and show there were very few considerable towns without a mint; for besides those particularly mentioned in AEthelstan's law, there are coins of Derby, Bristol, Evesham, Exeter, Gloucester, Ipswich, Lincoln, Norwich, Shrewsbury, Thetford, Wallingford, Worcester, York, and other places. The probability is that the custom of impressing on coins the name of the town of the mintage began in the early part of the reign of AEthelstan.'

One of the largest 'finds' of Anglo-Saxon coins was made at Cuerdale, where, along with a vast number of foreign pieces, there were found:—

  • 2 of AEthelred.
  • 24 of AEthelstan II.
  • 1 of Ciolwulf.
  • 857 of Alfred.
  • 45 of Eadwerd.
  • 1 of Abp. Ceolnoth.
  • 59 of Abp. Plegmund.
  • 2 of Sitric.
  • 1770 of St. Eadmund.
  • etc.

Under the ordinary order of arrangement, the following may be taken as indications of the coins of Anglo-Saxon rulers:—


The sceat attributed to this king is doubtful.

EGCBERHT, 765-791.

The name is found as EGCBERHT RX. and on the reverse is the moneyer's name.

EADBEARHT, 794-798.

Obverse, the name EADBEARHT REX in three lines across the field.

Reverse, moneyer's name with device.

CUTHRED, 798-805.

Obverse, on some a profile bust, others three arms branching out from the inner circle, and extending through the legend, CVDRED REX or CVDRED REX CANT. Reverse, moneyer's name with similar device or cross, etc.

BALDRED, 805-823.

Obverse, bust or cross within inner circle, BALDRED, BELDRED, or BEALDRED REX CN or CANT. Reverse, moneyer's name, cross, etc. One of his coins has on the reverse DIORMOD MONETA, and within the inner circle, in two lines, DRVR CITS for Dorovernia Civitas or city of Canterbury, and is the earliest known instance of place of mintage appearing upon Saxon coins.


The coins of Offa are of great variety in type, of considerable beauty in design, and of better workmanship than most of the Saxon pennies. On the obverse is the name OFFA REX, or REX M, or REX MERCIORN. Reverse, various crosses and other devices and moneyer's name. Of these upwards of fifty are known, and some of them used Runic letters.


Coins of this queen (supposed to be the wife of Offa) are known, and bear on one side the bust and moneyer's name; on the other her name and REGINA.

COENVVLF, 794-818.

The coins bear a marked resemblance to those of Offa, but are inferior in execution. The name is usually COENVVLF REX, with or without M for Mercia, and on the reverse the moneyer's name, and often the word MONETA. Upwards of fifty moneyers are known.


The appropriation of coins to this king is conjectural. The name occurs as CIOLVVLF or CEOLVVLF REX M, or MI or MCI or MERCI.

BEORNVVLF, 820-824.

Obverse, BEORNVVLF or BEORNWVLF REX, REX M, etc., with bust. Reverse, moneyer's name.

LUDICA or LUDICAN, 824, 825.

Obverse, LVDICA REX or RX, ME with bust. Reverse, moneyer's name, with cross, etc.

WIGLAF, 825-839.

Obverse, VVIGLAF REX M and bust. Reverse, moneyer's name, with cross.

BERTHVVLF, 839-852.

Obverse, bust, and name BERHTVLF or BERHTVVLF REX or REX M. Reverse, moneyer's name, with cross, etc.; one has a tall cross between T A, and another the Christian monogram within the inner circle. About twenty moneyers are known.

BURGHRED, 852-874.

Obverse, bust, and name BVRGRED or BVRGRD; RE, REX, or RECX M. Reverse, moneyer's name, usually in a line across the middle of the coin with MON above and ETA below. About one hundred and fifty varieties of moneyers' names are known.


The coins of this last of the Mercian kings are not very satisfactorily to be distinguished from those of Ceolvvlf I. They bear a bust and CIOLVVLF or CEOLVVLF REX.


Beonna or Beorn was contemporary with Offa. Obverse, BEONNA REX. Reverse, a cross within a square, from whose angles lines of dots project, and letters.

EADVALD, 819-827.

Obverse, EADVALD REX in three lines. Reverse, moneyer's name.

AETHELSTAN I., circa 828-837.

Obverse, bust or letter A, and name ETHELTTAN or ETHELZTAN REX or REX ANG. Reverse, moneyer's name, of which several varieties are known.

ETHELWARD, circa 837-850.

Same general character as the others, with ETHELWARD, AETHELVVEARD, ETHELVVEARD, or ETHELOARO, RE or REX. Reverse, crosses and moneyers' names.

BEORHTRIC, circa 852.

Obverse, letter A or AM, and name BEORHTRIC, BEORMIRIC, or BEORCHTRIC, RE or REX. Reverse, moneyer's name, etc.


Obverse, letter A or cross and crescent, and name EADMVND or ADMVND; RE, RX, or REX, AN. Reverse, moneyers' names, etc., of which above thirty varieties are known.

AETHELSTAN II., 870-890.

Obverse, letter A or cross and name EDELSTIN, EDELSTAN, EDILARE, etc.; R, RE, or REX, A or AN. Reverse, moneyer's name, of which several varieties are known.


Obverse, cross and name ECGFRID REX. Reverse, radiated cross and LVX.

ALDFRID, 685-705.

Obverse, cross and name ALDFRIDVS. Reverse, a four-footed animal.

EADBERHT, 737-758.

Nothing can be definitely asserted as to the coins of this king; those ascribed to him may belong to Ecgberht.


Two coins have been attributed to him, the name on the obverse being on one EDI[L]HD[L]V, and on the other ATHBADIV.


Coins supposed to belong to him bear the name ALCHRED or A[L]CHRED.

ELFWALD, 779-788.

Some sceattae bearing the word E[L]FVA[L]V or VALD[F][E]LA on one side, and a quadruped on the other, have been ascribed to him.

HEARDULF, 794-806.

Obverse, HEARDVLF. Reverse, moneyer's name, of which six are known.

ELFWALD II., 806-808.

The coins assigned to this king are uncertain.

EANRED, 808-840.

About two thousand coins of Eanred were found some years back at Hexham. His name is variously spelled, as EANRED REX, and the like, and the variety of names of moneyers numbers about a hundred.

AETHELRED II., 840-848.

About two thousand coins of this king were found at Hexham. Some bear his own name and that of his father Eanred. The name is spelled EDELRED, EDE[L]RED, AEILRED, AEDELRED, or AEDILRED, R or REX; and the reverse, the moneyer's name and a device; the varieties of moneyers' names numbering about a hundred.

REDULF, 844.

About a hundred of his stycas were found at Hexham. Obverse, cross and REDVLF, REDVVLF, REDVL, or REDVLE, RE RX or REX. Reverse, moneyers' name, of which about a score of varieties are known.

OSBERCHT, 848-867.

Obverse, name OSBERCHT, OSBERCHTE, OSBERCHE, OSBERCHEC, OSBRCHT, OSBERH, or OSBVEHT; R, RE, or REX. Reverse, moneyers' names, of which about twenty varieties are known.

AELLA, 862-867.

It is doubtful whether the stycas said to belong to this king are correctly appropriated.

HALFDEN, 875-883.

From the time of Halfden both sceattae and stycas ceased to be coined. A penny and a halfpenny of his were found at Cuerdale. Obverse, cross and ALFDENE or VLFDENE, RX or REX. Reverse, moneyer's name.


Obverse, SITRIC COMEZ in two lines across the coin, with crosses between; reverse, moneyer's name in lines across the coin.

CNUT, 883-900.

Of Cnut no fewer than 2534 coins were found at Cuerdale in 1840. Obverse, CNVT, CNVTI, CVNNETTI (differently abbreviated), CNT, etc.; R, RN, RX, RIX, REX, etc. Some have a cross of various forms with the letters CNVT terminating the four limbs, thus

Reverse, extremely varied, with crosses and other devices, and moneyers' town or names, as EBRAICE CIVITAS, MIRABILA FECIT, SIEFREDVS, etc.

SIEFRID, circa 900.

Obverse, crosses and name, as SIEFREDVS, SIEVERT, SIEVERTI, or SIUERT; R, RE, or REX. The cross with letters at ends of the limbs occurs on some, as

Reverse,names of moneyer or town with cross, etc., and on some the word

ALWALD, 901-905.

Obverse, ALVALDVS or ALVVALDV. Reverse, DNS DS REX in two lines across the coin.

SITRIC, circa 921-926.

Obverse, SITRIC REX in two lines across the coin divided by a sword; SITRIC CVNVNC A with trefoil ornament; or LVDO SITRC in two lines with sword between, and hammer of Thor below, dividing the lower word. Reverse, crosses and crescents and lettering.

ERIC, 927-954.

Obverse. ERIC REX A, or AL, EBOR, EF, EN, IO, N or NO, or TO, in two lines divided by a sword. Reverse, moneyer's name, etc.

REGNALD, 912-944.

Obverse, trefoil interlaced knot, or cross, and name, REGNALD CVNVL, or REG CVNVNC. Reverse, cross or 'Danish Standard,' and AVRA MONITRE or BA[ldri]C NOTR AL, etc.


Obverse, cross, 'Danish Raven,' or interlaced trefoil knot, and the name ANLAF, ONLAF or ONLOF, REX, or CVNVNC, T D or other letters. Reverse, cross, Danish Raven, or Danish Standard, and moneyer's name, followed by MONETA, MONE, MONETR, MINETER, etc., etc. About twenty varieties of moneyers' names are known. One reverse has the moneyer's name, RADVLF, in a line across the coin, with a flower and leaves above, and flowers below.


Obverse, profile, cross, or other device with name ECGBEARHT, AEGCBEARHT, or HECBEARHT; R, RE, or REX; SAX or SAXO. Reverse, crescents, tribrach, monogram, or cross and moneyer's name, of which there are about thirty varieties known.

ETHELWLF, 837-856.

Obverse, cross, bust, or monogram, etc., and name ETHELVVLF, AETHELVVLF, AETHLVLF, ETHELVLF, ETHELVVLFI, or other form; R, RE, REX, or REXX. Reverse, cross, monogram, or other device, and moneyer's name. On some the titles of the king are continued on the reverse, as CANT, SAXONIORVM, OCCIDENTALIVM, etc. About sixty varieties of moneyer's names are known.


Obverse, bust with name AETHELBEARHT or AETHEBEARHT, RE or REX. Reverse, cross or other device, and moneyer's name, etc. The one engraved bears in a cross the moneyer's name [+] DEGBEARHT, and MO of MONETA, the last four letters of which (NETA) are between the limbs of the cross. Sixty varieties of moneyers' names are known.

AETHELRED, 866-871.

Obverse, bust, or in one instance front of a temple, and name, AETHELRED, ETHELRED, EDELRED, ATHELERED, or ATHLEDI; REX or REX ANG. Reverse, cross, or other device, and moneyer's name, of which about thirty varieties are known.

AELFRED, 872-901.

Obverse, bust of the king on many coins, on others a cross or other device, with the name AELFRED, AELFRD, AELFD, EL, ELFRED, or AELFRED; R, RE, RX or REX; S, SAX, SAXONVM, etc. Reverse, various devices and moneyers' names, of which about two hundred varieties are known. Some of his coins bear the monogram of London, or rather Londini, sometimes with or without the moneyer's name, and MONETA and others with monograms of other places of mintage. The variety of forms and devices upon Alfred's coins is exceptionally great.


Obverse, bust, cross, star, or other device, and name EADVVEARD REX SAXONVM. On some there is no device, and the name is arranged in three lines across the coin. Reverse, cross, building, bird, flower, or other device, and moneyer's name, etc., of which there are about 130 varieties known.

AETHELSTAN, 925-941.

Obverse, crowned bust or cross, and name AETHELSTAN, ETHELSTAN, AEDELSTAN, or abbreviated; R or REX, or REX SAXORVM, or REX TOTIVS BRITANNIAE, etc. Reverse, cross, building, or other device, and name of moneyer, etc. On some the name is in lines across the coin, and some are devoid of all ornament. The names upon these coins, of towns where minted, are Derby, Bath, Southampton, Canterbury, Exeter, York, Gloucester, Hereford, Leicester, London, Langport, Norwich, Oxford, Rochester, Shaftesbury, Shrewsbury, Nottingham, Stafford, Worcester, Wallingford, Wareham, and Winchester, and the number of known varieties of moneyers' names closely approaches 220.

EADMUND, 941-946.

Obverse, bust, or cross and name, as EADMVND, or EDMEVNDI, REX. Reverse, small cross in centre of inner circle and moneyer's name, or the name in lines across. The places of mintage are London, York, Exeter, Southampton, Leicester, Oxford, and Norwich, and the number of varieties of moneyer's names over 160.

EADRED, 946-955.

Obverse, bust, or cross, etc., and name, as EADRED or ETHRED REX, or REX ANGLOR, or REX SAXORVM. Reverse, moneyer's name, either in the usual way or in lines across, and small cross or other device. The known towns of mintage on these coins are Exeter, Lincoln, and Norwich, and the number of varieties of moneyers' names is over 160.

EADWIG, 955-959.

Obverse, bust or cross, and name, as EADVVIG REX. Reverse, moneyer's name, etc., in usual way or in lines, with cross or other device. The towns of mintage are Exeter, Bedford, York, Southampton, Hereford, Huntingdon, London, Norwich, Worcester, and Winchester, and there are sixty known varieties of moneyers' names.


Obverse, bust or cross, and name, as EADGAR REX, or REX ANGLOR, or other abbreviation of ANGLORVM, or TO BI, or TOTIVS BRITANNIAE. Reverse, moneyer's names, etc. The towns of mintage are Bath, Bedford, Canterbury, Derby, Exeter, Ely, York, Canterbury, Gloucester, Ipswich, Southampton, Rochester, Huntingdon, Tutberge, Lewes, Leicester, Lyminge, Lincoln, Lynn, London, Malmesbury, Norwich, Oxford, Shrewsbury, St. Edmundsbury, Stamford, Thetford, Teignmouth, Wallingford, Winchelsea, Wilton, and Winchester; and the varieties in names of moneyers are almost innumerable.


Obverse, bust, or cross, and name, as EADPEARD or EADVVEARD, REX, ANG, ANL, or ANGLORVM, more or less abbreviated. Reverse, moneyers', etc., names as usual. The towns of mintage are Bath, Bedford, Canterbury, Chester, Derby, Exeter, York, Ipswich, Gloucester, Cambridge, Southampton, Hertford, Lewes, Leicester, Lincoln, Lyminge, Lydford, London, Norwich, Oxford, St. Edmundsbury, Stamford, Tamworth, Thetford, and Winchester; the varieties in names of moneyers being above a hundred.

AETHELRED II., 978-1016.

Obverse, bust of varied character with or without sceptre, etc., or Agnus Dei, with name, as AEDELRED, EDELRED, or EDELRAED, REX, ANG, ANGL, ANGM, or ANGLORVM, etc. Reverse, various crosses and other devices, or hand from heaven between A ?, and moneyer and town names. The known names of mintages are Bath, Bedford, Buckingham, Canterbury, Cambridge, Chichester, Chester, Colchester, Derby, Dublin, Dover, Dorchester, Exeter, Godalming, Gloucester, Ilchester, Ipswich, Hertford, Hereford, Huntingdon, Jedburgh, Shaftesbury, Shrewsbury, Southampton, Sudbury, Lewes, Lancaster, Leicester, Lyminge, Lincoln, London, Lydford, Maldon, Malmesbury, Norwich, Oxford, Reading, Winchester, Castle Rising, Rochester, Stafford, Thetford, Totnes, Torksey, Warwick, Wallingford, Watchet, Worcester, Wilton, and Winchester.

CNUT, 1016-1035.

Obverse, bust, much varied, on some mitred, with or without sceptre, and name, as CNVT, REX, RECX, RECCX, or RXC; A, AN, ANGL, or ANGLORUM, etc. Reverse, various crosses, etc., and moneyers' and town names. Of the latter the following are known:—Bardney, Bath, Bedford, Bristol, Buckingham, Cadbury, Chichester, Cambridge, Castle Rising, Chepstow, Chester, Chichester, Canterbury, Colchester, Cricklade, Crewkerne, Dorchester, Dublin, Exeter, Ely, Ilchester, Ipswich, Gloucester, Godmanchester, Hastings, Hertford, Hereford, Huntingdon, Hythe, Lewes, Leyton, Langport, Leicester, Lydford, London, Maldon, Malmesbury, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Ribchester, Romney, Rochester, Salisbury, Sandwich, Southampton, Shaftesbury, Shrewsbury, Steyning, Stamford, Stafford, Southwark, Taunton, Thetford, Totnes, Warwick, Watchet, Wallingford, Worcester, Wilton, Winchester, and York.

HAROLD I., 1035-1040.

Obverse, bust, varied, and name, as HARALD, HAROLD, HLOD, or HARE ..., R, RE, REX, or RECX, A, or AN. Reverse, cross, varied, and names of moneyer and town. The mint towns are Bath, Bedford, Bristol, Canterbury, Cambridge, Chichester, Colchester, Dover, Exeter, Ipswich, Lewes, Leicester, Lincoln, London, Norwich, Oxford, Rochester, Salisbury, Southampton, Nottingham, Stafford, Thetford, Warwick, Wilton, Wallingford, Worcester, Winchester, and York.

HARTHACNUT, 1040-1042.

Obverse, bust, varied, and name, as HARTHACNVT, HARTHECNVT, ARTHECNVT, HARNATHECN, or abbreviations, R, RE, or REX, and in one instance, AN. Reverse, cross, varied, and moneyer and town names. The latter, as known, are Bath, Bristol, Chester, Dover, Exeter, Guildford, Gloucester, Hereford, Huntingdon, London, Lincoln, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Salisbury, Stamford, Steyning, Southwark, Warwick, Worcester, and Winchester.


Obverse, bust, varied, or king seated on throne with full regalia, and name, as EDWERD, EDWARD, EDWEARD, EADWARD, EADVVEARDVS, EADVEARD, etc., R, RE, or REX, ANGLORVM, more or less abbreviated. Reverse, cross, varied, and other devices, or PAX across the field, or the arms, a cross between four martlets, etc., and moneyers' and mintage town names, among the known places of which are Aylesbury, Bath, Derby, Hastings, Southampton, Bedford, Bedwin, Berkeley, Bristol, Canterbury, Chichester, Cricklade, Colchester, Salisbury, Dover, Dorchester, St. Edmundsbury, Exeter, Lewes, York, Ilchester, Ipswich, Gloucester, Guildford, Hastings, Cambridge, Southampton, Hertford, Hereford, Horningdon, Huntingdon, Hythe, Longport, Leicester, Chester, Lincoln, London, Maldon, Malmesbury, Newport, Norwich, Oxford, Castle Rising, Rochester, Winchester, Sandwich, Shaftesbury, Shrewsbury, Nottingham, Stamford, Stafford, Steyning, Sudbury, Southwark, Tamworth, Taunton, Thetford, Teignmouth, Warwick, Wallingford, Watchet, Wareham, Worcester, Wilton, Winchester, and York. About two thousand coins of this king were found near Steyning.

HAROLD II., 1066.

Although Harold reigned only nine months before his death at the battle of Hastings, there are several varieties of his coins known. They have the bust on the obverse, with the name HAROLD REX ANG, or ANGL; and on the reverse the word PAX across the field within the inner circle, and the moneyers' and mintage town names. The names of known towns are Hastings, Bedford, Bristol, Canterbury, Chichester, Colchester, Cricklade, Derby, Dover, York, Exeter, Ilchester, Guildford, Ipswich, Gloucester, Cambridge, Hereford, Southampton, Huntingdon, Lewes, Leicester, Chester, Lincoln, London, Maldon, Norwich, Oxford, Rochester, Romney, Shaftesbury, Nottingham, Shrewsbury, Stamford, Steyning, Southwark, Taunton, Thetford, Warwick, Wallingford, Wareham, Winchester, Worcester, and Wilton; and the variety in the names of moneyers numbers over a hundred.


Coins bearing the names of St. Eadmund, St. Peter, and St. Martin. Of the first of these nearly 1800 were found at Cuerdale, and therefore they must have been struck before 905; they bear in one form or other the name of the saint. The next, vulgarly known as 'Peter's Pence,' are supposed to have been struck somewhere between 905 and 941; and those of St. Martin from 921 to 942.

Archbishops, bishops and abbots, were in early times permitted to coin money. Those known before the time of AEthelstan's decree that all the money in the kingdom should be uniform, are the following: of Canterbury, Archbishops Jaenbrht, 736-790; AEthelheard, 790-803; Vulfred, 803-830; Ceolnoth, 830-870; Ethered, 871-891; and Plegmund, 891-923. Of York, Archbishops Eanbald, 796; and Vigmund, 831-854.

English Coins - From the Conquest Down to the Reign of Queen Victoria

(1066 to 1087, and 1087 to 1100.)

The coins of William the Conqueror and his son William Rufus cannot, with any degree of certainty, be distinguished the one from the other; their appropriation is therefore purely conjectural.

Denominations.Silver. Pennies only.

Obverse.Type. Crowned bust, sometimes full-faced, at others in dexter or sinister profile; on some the shoulders and arm extending to the edge of the coin, on others the whole confined within the inner circle; sometimes with tassel, or pendant, hanging from the crown on either side ('bonnet' type), or with a canopy over the head ('canopy' type). On one or both sides of the bust is generally a sceptre, or star; or sceptre on one side and star on the other; or sword. Those usually ascribed to the first William are those with the sceptres only; the others are attributed to William II. But this is entirely supposititious.


Reverse.Type. Crosses in considerable variety, including fleury, battonée, annulae, voided, etc.; others terminating in pellets, knots, etc.; cross and saltire; cross and lozenge; cross and annulets, etc. One type of common occurrence has, in circles between the limbs of the cross, the letters P A X S. In all cases the device is confined within the inner circle.

Legend. Mint master's and town names, as GODPINE ON LIN, which signifies that it was struck by Godwine of Lincoln; SIPORD ON PINC, by Siward of Winchester; ESBRN ON SERBR, by Osbern of Salisbury; SIBODE ON LVNDEN; and so on. About sixty or seventy different places of mintage are known.

Rarity. Some scarce; those with the canopy over the head exceedingly so. Those with P A X S are common.

HENRY I. (1100 to 1135.)

Denominations.Silver. Pennies only.

Obverse.Type. Crowned bust, sometimes full-faced, at others three-quarter faced, or in dexter or sinister profile; generally with a sceptre in the right hand, sometimes one, two, or three stars, or a rose before the face. In some instances the figure is half length and full robed, showing right hand holding sceptre, and left extended. There are many varieties.


Reverse.Type. Crosses of the same general character as those of previous monarchs; quatrefoils with crosses, pellets, bezants, roses, etc., in them; others the letters P A X, bars and annulets.

Legend. Mint master's and town names. About eighty moneyers' names are known. One example has the legend in two circles.

Rarity. All rare; some types extremely so.

STEPHEN. (1135 to 1154.)

Denominations.Silver. Pennies only.

Obverse.Type. Crowned bust, sometimes almost full-faced, but generally in dexter profile; sceptre, mace, lance, or flag in the right hand. On one are two figures, variously surmised to be Stephen and Henry, and Stephen and Matilda, represented standing side by side, hand clasped in hand, and between them a sceptre.


Reverse.Type. Crosses, etc., in great variety, all within the inner circle; some have the space usually allotted to the legend filled with various little devices, as roses, escallops, etc.; the Stephen and Henry (or Matilda) is of this kind. One example, struck at Derby, has within the inner circle a double cross, between the limbs of which are four martlets.

Legend. Mint master's and town names, of which there are many varieties.

Rarity. All very rare. The Stephen and Henry (or Matilda) at Tyssen's sale, in 1802, brought ten guineas, and at Dimsdale's, in 1824, thirteen pounds two shillings and sixpence, and later, much higher prices.

Other coins bear the name of Eustace, son of Stephen (EVSTACIVS. EISTCHIVS, etc.); Matilda (MA[T]ILD[A] IM[PERATRIX], etc.); William, second son of Stephen (WILLELMVS. LVILLEM DVD); Earl of Warwick; Robert Earl of Gloucester; and Henry Bishop of Winchester (HENRICVS EPC.); all rare.

HENRY II. (1154 to 1189.)

Denominations.Silver. Pennies only.

Obverse.Type. Crowned bust, full-faced or profile; sceptre in his right hand, generally held upright, but on some leaned on the shoulder. In one instance, with three stars before the face.

Legend. HENRI.R. RE. or REX.A. AN. ANG. or ANGL.

Reverse.Type. Cross patée, with four small ones, one in each quarter; all within the inner circle.

Legend. Mint master's and town names; as, WALTER ON LV. (Walter of London), IOHAN ON LUNDEN (John of London), and so on.

Rarity. All rare.

RICHARD I. (1189 to 1199.)

Denominations.Silver. Pennies and Halfpennies.

Obverse.Type. The only coins known of this monarch are those struck at Poictou and Aquitaine; they have no bust, merely a plain cross patée. No English examples have as yet been discovered; the Evesham ones, etc., were forged by White.

Legend. RICARDVS.RE. or REX.

Reverse.—In three lines across the coin—

  • PIC
  • NSIS.

or ACVITAINE. No device.

Rarity. Extremely rare.

JOHN. (1199 to 1216.)

Denominations.Silver. Pennies, Halfpennies, and Farthings.

Obverse.Type. No English coins of John are known, but there are abundant proofs that coins were during his reign struck to a considerable extent in England. The supposition, amounting almost to a certainty, is that the 'short cross' pennies of Henry II. continued to be struck and issued during this reign as well as in the early part of the next. The Irish coins of John have—Penny, full-faced, crowned bust, within a triangle, sceptre in the right hand; on the left of the head a rose. Halfpenny and Farthing, head in triangle, on either side a star; one variety of halfpenny, called the 'full moon halfpenny,' has the face filling up the whole field of the coin, the inner circle forming the outline of the face.

Legend. IOHAN. or IOHANNES.—REX or DOM. or DO.—the latter has IOHANNES DOM.; Farthing, WILLEM ON.

Reverse.Type. Penny and Halfpenny, within a triangle a crescent, above which is a star or cross. Penny, a star at each point and side of triangle; Halfpenny, star on either side the crescent; Farthing, within a triangle a star; 'full moon' halfpenny, a voided cross between four annulets, within inner circle.

Legend. Mint master's and town names; as ROBERD ON DIVE., for Robert of Dublin; WILLEM ON LI, or WILLEM ON LIME, for William of Limerick; or WILLEM ON WA, for William, of Waterford. The Farthing has IOHANNES and DW (Dublin) in continuation of obverse.

Rarity. All very rare, the Farthing more particularly so.

HENRY III. (1216 to 1272.)

Denominations.Gold, Penny. Silver, Pennies only.

Obverse.Type. Silver Penny. Full face, crowned in some, without neck or shoulders; on some, on the right of the head (in the legend), a hand holding a sceptre over the head; in some, a mullet or star, in others a crescent and mullet.

Legend. HERICVS. or HENRICVS.—REX. or REX ANG.III. TER. or TERCI. The legends of these coins are remarkable for the letters in many instances being conjoined.

Reverse.Type. There are two mintages. The early one (called 'short cross pennies') has a voided cross within the inner circle, and four pellets conjoined in each compartment; but the practice of clipping and filing the moneys had been carried to such an extent, that about 1248 Henry issued a new coinage, called 'long cross pennies,' with the same cross, but extending through to the outer edge, thereby rendering any mutilation visible. The cross is a voided or double one, each end terminating in a pellet, and one in the centre; three pellets were now inserted in each compartment instead of four, and not conjoined.

Legend. Mint master's and town names; some have TER. or TERCI. added; as, TER. RI ON LVND. in continuation of obverse. One variety reads LIE TERCI LON, being a continuation of HENRICVS REX ANG. of the obverse; this, in full, would be 'HENRICVS REX ANGLIE TERCI. LON.'

Rarity. Not uncommon; those with TERCI. and REX ANG. rare.

Gold. The Gold Penny of Henry III. was the first gold coin struck by any English monarch; it is therefore important as marking a new era in numismatics. The weight is forty-five grains, and it is of pure, unalloyed gold. On the obverse is a full length robed and crowned figure of the king seated on a throne or chair of state, with sceptre in right hand, and orb and cross in the left. Legend HENRIC REX III. Reverse, a long double or voided cross and pellets, a rose between the pellets in each compartment. This coin has fetched at sales as much as £140.

From this time till Edward III., no other gold coins were struck by English monarchs.

EDWARD I. (1272 to 1307.)

Denominations.Silver. Penny, Halfpenny, and Farthing.

Obverse.Type. Crowned full-faced bust of the king, with neck and part of the shoulders draped; crown, consisting of three fleurs-de-lis, and two lozenges, balls, or points; beneath the rim of the crown, on the forehead, is a row of from one to five pearls; the hair, which is very abundant, stands out a considerable distance on either side the face, and curled; the whole within the inner circle. The Irish mintages are distinguished by having the head in a triangle, the legend running on its three sides; there are one or two specimens of English coins with the triangle, but they are very rare.

Legend. E. EDW. [EDWA. EDWAR. EDWARD. EDWARDVS.]—R. REX. or D.G.R.A. AN. ANG or ANGL.D.H. or DNS HYB. There are many opinions respecting the Pennies of the first three Edwards. The one most generally received is, that those with the name contracted to EDW. belong to Edward I.; those with the name in full EDWARD, to Edward III.; and the intermediate varieties to Edward II. It remains still, however, a vexed question, and one not easy of solution.

Reverse.Type. A plain cross, with its terminations enlarged, extending through to the outer edge of the coin and dividing the legend into four parts; three pellets in each compartment within the inner circle.


Rarity. Pennies common, with the exception of a few mintages. The Halfpenny and Farthing very rare, the Farthing particularly so.

EDWARD II. (1307 to 1327.)

Denominations.Silver. Pennies, Halfpennies, and Farthings.

As I have just remarked, the coins bearing intermediate abbreviations of the king's name, between EDW. and EDWARD, are, more for convenience than by right, appropriated to this monarch. The description just given will therefore apply to the coins of this reign.

EDWARD III. (1327 to 1377.)

Denominations.Silver. Groat, Half-groat, Penny, Halfpenny and Farthing. Gold.—Florin, Half-florin, Quarter-florin; Noble, Half-noble, and Quarter-noble.

Obverse.Type. Groat and Half-groat, head same as Edward I.'s, within a circle formed of nine arches, fleury; Pennies, Halfpennies, and Farthings, as Edward I.'s.


Reverse.Type. Cross and pellets as his predecessor; one limb of the cross of the Durham coins terminating in a crozier.

Legend. Groat and Half-groat. In the outer circle, POSVI DEVM ADIVTOREM MEVM, or MEV. Inner circle, town name where struck; as, CIVITAS LONDON or CIVITAS EBORACI. Pennies, etc., town, etc., names.

Rarity. Calais Groat very rare; Halfpence and Farthings rare; all others not uncommon.

Gold. Florins (six shillings), Half-florins (three shillings), and Quarter-florins (eighteenpence); Nobles (six and eightpence), Half-nobles, or Maille-nobles (three and fourpence), and Quarter or Ferling-nobles (twenty pence). Florin: obverse, the king crowned and robed, seated under a canopy, with sceptre in right hand and orb and cross in the left; on the robe a fleur-de-lis; two lions, one on each side the throne: reverse, within a quatrefoil a short beaded cross with foliated ends; in each of the angles between the four limbs a lion, or leopard, surmounted with a crown. Half-florin: a lion, crowned; a mantle, or banner, charged with the royal arms, hung from his neck: reverse, within a quatrefoil a foliated cross having a lion in each angle; legend, DOMINE NE IN FVRORE TVO ARGVAS ME, and variations. Quarter-florin: helmet, with lamberquins and crest of lion, field semé-de-lis; reverse, richly foliated cross; legend, EXALTABITVR IN GLORIA. Noble and Half-noble, king in armour, crowned, standing in a ship, with sword in his right hand, and in his left a shield of England and France quarterly; reverse, in a tressure of eight arches a rich foliated cross, in each angle a lion surmounted by a crown, a fleur-de-lis at the end of each limb of the cross; legend, IHC TRANSIENS PER MEDIVM ILLORVM IBAT, with variations. Quarter-noble: an escutcheon with the arms of France and England, quarterly, within a tressure of eight foils. All more or less rare. A Florin has sold for £113; a Quarter-florin for £170.

RICHARD II. (1377 to 1399.)

Denominations.Silver. Groat, Half-groat, Penny, Halfpenny, and Farthing. Gold. Noble, Half-noble, and Quarter-noble.

Obverse.Type. Groat and Half-groat, crowned bust within a tressure of nine arches, as his predecessor; the Penny, Halfpenny, and Farthing similar to the last reigns.


Reverse.Type and Legend. Similar to the preceding reign; on some, a rose in the centre of the cross.

Rarity. All rare.

Gold. Nobles, Half-nobles, and Quarter nobles; same types as before, with only the necessary change in the legend. All rare; the Half-noble particularly so.

HENRY IV. (1399 to 1413.)

Denominations.Silver. Groat, Half-groat, Penny, Halfpenny, and Farthing. Gold. Noble, Half-noble, and Quarter-noble.

Obverse.Type. All his coins like his predecessor's; (the head within the circle of arches on the Groat and Half-groat;) and are only to be distinguished from those of his successors Henry V. and VI. by weight. The Groat weighs seventy-two grains, the others of course of proportionate weights.

Legend. HENRIC. or HENRICVS.—D. G. or DI. GRA.REX. ANGL. or ANGLIE.Z. FRAN. or FRANC.D. or DNS. HI. HIB. or HYB.Z. AQ. or AQE., etc.

Reverse.Type. As his predecessor's; the pellets in two of the quarters are joined together by an annulet.

Legend. Groat and Half-groat; POSVI DEVM ADIVTOREM MEV or MEVM in outer circle, and name of town, as CIVITAS LONDON, in inner one. Pennies, etc., names of towns, as CIVITAS EBORACI, etc.

Rarity. Not uncommon; Groat rarest.

Gold. Noble, Half-noble, and Quarter-noble, same as Richard II., with only alteration of name. All rare; first coinage particularly so.

HENRY V. (1413 to 1422.)

His coins are precisely like Henry IV.; no distinguishing mark has as yet been discovered, so that what is said of the one will equally apply to the other.

HENRY VI. (1422 to 1461.)

Denominations.Silver. Groat, Half-groat, Penny, Halfpenny, and Farthing. Gold. Noble, Half-noble, Quarter-noble, and, later, Angel, and Half-angel or Angelet.

Silver. Same in every respect with the preceding ones, the only distinction being by weight, and minor differences, which are not to be taken as certain indications for appropriation; the weight of the earlier Groat being 60 grains, and the later, or 'light coinage,' 48, and the other coins in proportion; the 48 grains Groat very rare.

Gold. Noble, Half-noble, and Quarter-noble, as before. The Angel, and Angelet or Half-angel, bear on the obverse a winged and nimbed figure of the Archangel Michael standing upon a dragon, which he is transfixing through the mouth with a spear, the upper end of which terminates in a cross crosslet.


Reverse.—A ship with a large plain cross in place of mast, on which is a shield of the royal arms. On the dexter side of the cross a letter H, on the sinister a fleur-de-lis.


Rarity. All rare.

EDWARD IV. (1461 to 1483.)

Denominations.Silver. Groat, Half-groat, Penny, Halfpenny, and Farthing. Gold. Noble, Rose-noble Royal or Rial, Half-noble or Half-rial, Quarter-noble or Quarter-rial, Angel, an Angelet or Half-angel.

Obverse.Type. The general types of his silver coins are same as those of his predecessors. The Groat and Half-groat have the bust within the circle of arches; Penny, Halfpenny, and Farthing, the same as before. Some have the royal badge of the House of York, the rose, on either side the neck of the bust, and others an annulet and rose, or four pellets, etc., on the breast; others with the initial letter of the town.

Legend. Edward. With titles as before. On the Farthing EDWARD REX ANGL. Reverse.Type. Similar to the others.

Legend. On Groat and Half-groat. POSVI DEVM ADIVTORE MEVM in the outer circle, and name of town in the inner. On the lesser coins the names of towns only, as CIVITAS LONDON, etc.

Gold. Noble. Same type as his predecessor. Rial or Rose-noble, and its Half, much the same general type, but with a rose on the side of the ship, beneath the king and letter E on the flag.

Reverse.—Within a tressure as before a sun of sixteen rays in place of limbs of the cross, the lions and crowns and the terminations of the limbs remaining.

Legend. As before. Quarter-rial: arms as before within a quatrefoil; there are several minor varieties. Angel and angelet as before. The sun and the rose were badges of the House of York.

EDWARD V. (1483.)

There are some gold and silver coins exactly similar to those of Edward IV., but bearing as mint marks a boar's head, a rose-en-soleil, or a rose-en-soleil on one side and boar's head on the other, that are conjectured to have been issued by this youthful king by authority and order of his uncle the 'Protector,' afterwards Richard III., whose badges they bear. They are extremely rare.

RICHARD III. (1483 to 1485.)

Denominations.Silver. Groat, Half-groat, Penny, and Halfpenny. Gold. Angel, and Angelet or Half-angel.

Obverse.Type. As his predecessors'; the only difference being the alteration of name in the legend; on some he has a cross on the breast; mint marks, a boar's head, and rose-en-soleil.

Legend. Ricard.D. G. or GRA.REX.AN. ANG. or ANGL.Z. FRANC.

Reverse.Type. As before, but with the different mint marks and badges.

Legend. As before, Groat and Half-groat, POSVI DEVM ADIVTORE MEVM, in outer, and name of town in inner circle. Penny and Halfpenny, name of town only, as CIVITAS LONDON. Angel, PER CRVSEM (or CRVCE) TVA SALVA NOS XPE REDEMPT. Half-angel, O CRVX AVE SPES VNICA.

Rarity. All rare, those with M. M., a boar's head, especially so.

HENRY VII. (1485 to 1509.)

Denominations.Silver. Testoon or Shilling, Groat, Half-groat, Penny, Halfpenny, and Farthing. Gold. Rose-noble or Rial, Angel, Angelet or Half-angel, Sovereign or Double-rial, and Double-sovereign.

Obverse.Type. To this monarch we owe the great change which has been, since his reign, gradually improving in coins. In the first issue, his coins very closely resemble those of Henry VI. Bust crowned with an open double-arched crown, now first used; some have a key on either side the Bust. In the 18th year of his reign his coins assumed a very different character. The circle of arches was discarded; the head (which, for the first time, may be considered as a portrait) is represented in dexter profile, crowned with a double or single arched crown, with the ball and cross on top. The Penny of his later issue has the king sitting in a chair of state, crowned, sceptre in his right, and globe in his left hand.


Reverse.Type. In his first coinage are the cross and pellets, but in his subsequent one the cross (fleury) is retained, but in the place of the pellets is a shield, France and England quarterly. The cross dividing the shield.

Legend. POSVI DEVM ADIVTOREM MEVM and its usual abbreviations. On the Groats and Half-groats the inner circle of legend bearing name of town is dismissed, its place being filled with the shield. In this reign the Testoon or Shilling makes its first appearance.

Rarity. Penny of first coinage extremely rare; Halfpenny rare; others common. Second coinage, Shilling with VII., Groat with SEPTIM., and Penny, rare; others far from uncommon.

Gold. The Sovereign and Double-sovereign now make their appearance; they have on the obverse the king, fully robed, sitting on a richly canopied throne, crowned, sceptre in his right, and orb and cross in his left, hand; reverse within a tressure of ten arches a large double rose, in the centre of which is a shield bearing the arms of France and England quarterly. In the space between the arches of the tressure and the outer petals of the rose are, alternately throughout, a lion and a fleur-de-lis. There are several varieties of this coin. The Rial has the king in a ship, on the obverse as before; on the reverse a rose with royal shield in the centre as first described. Angel and angelet much the same as those of his predecessors. Rial, Double-sovereign, and Sovereign, rare; others, common.

HENRY VIII. (1509 to 1547.)

Denominations.Silver. Testoon or Shilling, Groat, Half-groat, Penny, Halfpenny, Farthing. Gold. Double-sovereign, Sovereign, Pound-sovereign, Half-sovereign, Rose-noble or Rial, George-noble, Angel, Angelet or Half-angel, Quarter-angel, Crown, Half-crown.

Obverse.Type. His first coinage very closely resembles Henry VII. In his 15th year the Farthing has a portcullis. In his 34th year the head is almost full-faced, in a robe crowned with an open-arched crown. In his 36th and 37th years, full-faced portrait, on some with the cap.

Legend. H. HE. HERIC. HENRIC. or HENRICVS. VIII. or 8.—D. DI. or DEI.—G. GR. or GRA.A. ANG. ANGL. or ANGLIE.—FR. FRA. FRAN. or FRANC.—Z. HIB. or HYB.R. RE. or REX. Testoon, HERIC. VIII. DI. GRA. AGL. FRA. Z. HIB. REX. Penny, H. D. G. ROSA SINE SPINA; Halfpenny the same, or abbreviated.

Reverse.Type. First coinage, like Henry VII., with only the numeral changed from VII. to VIII.; Farthing has a rose and cross or portcullis. The Testoon or Shilling has the royal rose, crowned with an open-arched crown, between the royal initials H and R also each crowned. The others with the cross and shield. There are many varieties with different marks of towns and prelates, where and by whom they were struck.

Legend. POSVI DEVM ADIVTOREM MEVM, and its abbreviations on the Shilling and Groat. Half-groat, occasionally the same, or with name of town. Penny and Halfpenny, name of town. Farthing, CIVITAS LONDON or RVTILANS ROSA.

Rarity. Groat struck at Tournay, CIVITAS TORNACI. etc., very rare. Henry VIII. debased his silver so much that his later coins have more the appearance of brass than silver. The shillings and halfpenny rare, the rest are not.

Gold. Double-sovereign, Sovereign, Half-sovereign, Rial, Half and Quarter-rials, similar in general type to those of Henry VII.: George-noble, with an equestrian figure of St. George riding over and transfixing with a spear a dragon, on the obverse; and on the reverse a ship, a cross, between H R, for a mast, and upon it a double rose. Angel and Angelet as before. Crown and Half-crown obverse a double rose, etc., crowned, between the crowned or uncrowned letters H. K. (Henry and Katherine), H. A. (Henry and Ann Boleyn), H. I. (Henry and Jane Seymour), or H. R.; reverse, royal arms crowned between same initials. RVTILANS ROSA SINE SPINA. Half-george, Noble, Crown, and Half-crown, George-noble, rare; Rial extremely so.

EDWARD VI. (1547 to 1553.)

Denominations.Silver. Crown, Half-crown, Testoon or Shilling, Sixpence, Groat, Threepence, Half-groat, Penny, Halfpenny, Farthing. Gold. Treble-sovereign, Double-sovereign, Sovereign or Double-rial, Half-sovereign, Quarter-sovereign or Crown, Half-crown, Six-angel, Angel, Angelet.

Obverse.Type. First coinage, which is base in the same degree as Henry VIII.'s last coinage. Testoon, etc., profile, crowned with an open arched crown; Penny and Halfpenny, some with crowned profile, others with the royal rose. Farthing, portcullis.

Later coinages. Crown, the king in armour, crowned, sword drawn, on horseback; to the right, under the horse, the date. Half-crown, the same, sometimes with the addition of a plume on the horse's head. Shilling, Sixpence, and Threepence, fullfaced bust of king in robes, with the chain of the Order of the Garter round his neck, crowned, a rose on the left, and the value on the right side of the head. Penny, king enthroned, crowned ball and sceptre in his hands, or royal rose.


Reverse.&mmdash;Type. One Testoon has the arms of France and England in an oval shield mantled; all others have the cross fleury, and plain shield of France and England quarterly. Farthing, cross and pellets.


Rarity. Gold coins rare, some extremely so. Silver, first coinage, the Testoon, Groat, Half-groat, and Penny, rare; all his last are tolerably common, with the exception of the Crown, Half-crown, and Penny. Halfpenny and Farthing rare.

Gold.Treble-sovereigns, with the king in robes, and crowned, seated on the throne, drawn sword in right, and orb in left, hand; reverse, royal arms, with supporters, a lion and a dragon. Double-sovereigns, similar figure, but with sceptre instead of sword; a portcullis at his feet. Sovereign, same as Double-sovereign, or a half-length figure of the king in profile, in armour, crowned, sword in right hand, orb in left; reverse, arms of France and England, crowned, with or without lion and dragon supporters; beneath, on the mantling, E. R.; others have the same type as the foregoing. Half-sovereigns, king in chair of state; half-length figure, and bust crowned, etc.

MARY I. AND PHILIP AND MARY. (1553 to 1558.)
Married Philip of Spain, 1554.

Denominations.Silver. Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Groat, Half-groat, Penny. Gold. Sovereign or Double-rial, Rial, Angel, Angelet.

Obverse.Type. Before her marriage, Mary's coins have a sinister bust profile, crowned, arched crown, hair long and flowing, draped. One Penny, a rose instead of head. After her marriage with Philip of Spain, the Shilling and Half-shilling have their busts face to face, with a crown above between them: here she appears with her dress up to her chin, and a head dress; he has the stiff ruffle about his neck. This arrangement of the profile heads facing each other gave rise to the couplet,

'... cooing and billing
Like Philip and Mary on a shilling.'

The Half-crown, which appears to be merely a pattern-piece, but never issued, has on one side her bust, over which is the crown between the date 1554, with the legend MARIA D. G. R. ANG. FR. NEAP. PR. HISP.; and on the other a similar bust of Philip, beneath a crown, and the legend PHILIPVS D. G. R. ANG. FR. NEAP. PR. HISP. Some of the coins have no date, others the date above, others below the heads.

Legend. M. or MARIA.—D. G. ANG.FR. FRA. Z. HIB. REG. or REGI. Shilling and Sixpence, PHILIP. ET. or Z.; or MARIA. D. G. R. ANG. FR. NEAP. PR. HISP.; or PHILIP ET MARIA D. G. REX ET REGINA ANG. or ANGL. Some have the date as 1553 either beneath the heads or by the crown. Penny, M. D. G. ROSA SINE SPINA; or P. Z. [ET] M. D. G. ROSA SINE SPINA.

Reverse.Type. Before the marriage, cross fleury and shield, as on her predecessor's coins. After the marriage, Shilling and Sixpence bear the Spanish and Neapolitan royal arms, impaling those of England, in an oval shield, mantled; surmounted by a crown, between numerals for value.

Legend. Groat and Half-groat of Mary, VERITAS TEMPORIS FILIA, and also abbreviated; of Philip and Mary, POSVIMVS DEVM ADIVTO NOS. Shilling and Sixpence, POSVIMVS DEVM ADIVTOREM NOSTRVM, and abbreviated. Penny, CIVITAS LONDON; or VERITAS TEMP FILIA.

Rarity. Rose-penny rare; Half-crown, Half-groat, and Penny, extremely so.

Gold. Sovereign or Double-rial, the queen full-robed and crowned seated on the throne, in her right hand a sceptre, in the left the orb and cross; at her feet a portcullis; reverse, within a tressure of ten arches a double rose, with shield of royal arms in centre. Legend, A. DNO. FACTV. EST ISTV. Z. EST MIRA IN. OCVL. NRIS. ('It is the work of the Lord, and is wonderful in our eyes.') Rial, the queen crowned standing in a ship, in her right hand a drawn sword, in her left a shield of arms; in front, a rose. Same legend. Angel and Angelet, with St. Michael and the Dragon as on those of preceding monarchs.

ELIZABETH. (1558 to 1603.)

Denominations.Silver. Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Groat, Threepence, Half-groat, Three-halfpence, Penny, Three-farthing, Halfpenny. Gold. Sovereign or Double-rial, Rial, Pound-sovereign, Half-sovereign, Crown, Half-crown, Angel, Angelet, Quarter-angel.

Obverse.Type. Silver. Crown and Half-crown, sinister bust profile, crowned, open double-arched crown, hair turned back, draped, robe with wide puffed sleeves, stiff frill round the neck; in the right hand the sceptre, the orb as if held in the left. The Shilling, Sixpence, Groat, Threepence, Half-groat, Three-halfpence, Penny, Three-farthing, Halfpenny, and Farthing have also the bust profile, crowned with a single-arched crown, hair long and flowing down the back, draped robe, much plainer than before, and having no sceptre or orb. The Sixpence, Threepence, Three-halfpence, and Three-farthing pieces are distinguished from the others by having the Tudor rose behind the head. It was in reference to this distinguishing mark of a rose behind the head that the satirist on costumes wrote:—

'... Behind her head a rose
That people cry, 'Lo! there Three-farthings goes!''

The commonest Halfpenny has a portcullis instead of the bust; the one with the bust is extremely rare. The 'milled' money is neater in execution than the earlier 'hammered' pieces. The 'portcullis' money, struck in 1601 for foreign use, has on the obverse the royal arms, surmounted by a crown, between the initials E. and R., each crowned, and the usual name and titles of the queen; reverse, a portcullis crowned, and the POSVI, etc., legend.

Legend. E. ELIZ. ELIZAB. or ELIZABETH.—D. G. ANG. FR. (or FRA.) ET. HIB. (or HIBER.) REG. (REGI or REGINA). Three-halfpence, Penny, etc., E. R.,—E. D. G. ROSA SINE SPINA.

Reverse.Type. Cross fleury, or plain cross, and shield of France and England; the shield on the crown mantled. Halfpenny, cross and pellets. Farthing, crowned monogram of name.

Legend. POSVI DEVM ADIVTOREM MEVM, or its abbreviations; or name of town.

Gold. Sovereign, or Double-rial, same general type as the Sovereign of Mary. Pound-sovereign, Half-sovereign, Crown and Half-crown, sinister bust fully robed, crowned with an open crown of two, four, or five arches. Rial, with the queen in a large ruff, standing in a ship, crowned, etc. Angels, Angelets, and Quarter-angels, St. Michael and the Dragon; reverse, a ship, royal shield in front, surmounted by a cross, with E. and a rose. Some of the legends on the reverses of gold coins are, A DNO. FACTV. EST ISTVD ET EST MIRAB. IN OCVL. NRS; IHS. AVT TRANSIENS PER MEDIV. ILLORVM IBAT; SCVTVM FIDEI PROTEGET EAM; and one Rial, referring to the taking of Virginia by Sir Walter Raleigh, has on its obverse ELIZAB [ETHA] D [EI] G [RATIA] ANG [LIAE] FR[ANCIAE]ETM[AGNAE]PR[OVINCIAE]C[APTAE]A[VSPICIIS]I[LLIVS] REGINA ('Elizabeth, by the Grace of God, Queen of England, France, and the Great Province captured under her auspices').

In this reign pattern copper coins were struck, but never issued. The Penny bore on the obverse a full-face portrait of the queen, and the words THE PLEDGE OF; and on the reverse the crowned monogram, and the continuation of the legend, A PENNY, and date 1601. Other pattern pieces were also struck of copper, lead, pewter, and leather, but are all extremely rare.

JAMES I. (1603 to 1625.)

Denominations.Silver. Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Half-groat, Penny, and Halfpenny. Gold. First issue. Sovereign or Thirty-shilling-piece, Half-sovereign or Double-crown (15s.), Quarter-sovereign or Crown (7s. 6d.), Eighth-of-Sovereign or Half-crown (3s. 9d.). Second issue. Unit (20s.), Double-crown (10s.), British-crown (5s.), Half-British-crown (2s. 6d.), Thistle-crown (4s.). Third issue. Rose-rial or Sovereign (30s.), Spur-rial (15s.), Angel (10s.), Angelet or Half-angel (5s.). Last issue. Rose-rial or Sovereign (Thirty-shilling-piece), Spur Rial (Fifteen-shilling-piece), Angel, Laurel or Unit, Double-crown or Half-laurel, British-crown or Quarter-laurel. The current values were from time to time raised.

Obverse.Type. Crown and Half-crown, king on horseback, in armour, crowned, drawn sword in his right hand; on the caparison the royal rose or the thistle crowned.

On some IACOBVS D G MA (or MAG) BRI (or BRIT) FRA (or FRAN) ET HI (or HIB or HIBER) REX.

Shilling, Half-shilling, etc., dexter bust profile, robed, crowned; long pointed beard and mustachios, hair short, numerals at back of head for value. Twopence, the bust as before on some, on others the royal rose crowned. Penny, bust as before, or I. R. crowned; a rose on one side the letters, and a thistle on the other: others, a rose. Halfpenny, a portcullis, or rose.

Legend. I. IA. IACOBV. or IACOBVS. D. G. ANG. SCO. FRAN. ET. HIB. REX., and other abbreviations. Half-groat, etc., I. D. G. ROSA SINE SPINA. Penny with I. R.; and Halfpenny, no legend.

Reverse..—Type. Crown, etc., royal arms, quarterly, 1 and 4, France and England quarterly; 2, Scotland; 3, Ireland. The shield of the Crown and Half-crown mantled, the others plain; Twopence, on some the same arms, on others a thistle, crowned. The Penny, with I. R. has a portcullis crowned; the others, a thistle; others have the arms. Halfpenny, cross moline with three pellets in each quarter; or a thistle.

Legend. Crown, Shilling, etc., EXVRGAT DEVS. DISSIPENTVR INIMICI; or QUAE DEVS CONIVNXIT NEMO SEPARET. Half-groat, Penny, TVETVR VNITA DEVS. Penny same as Half-groat; other pennies and halfpennies without legend. Rarity. All common, except Half-crown.

Gold. Thirty-shilling, Unit, and other pieces, king enthroned, in full regalia, his feet upon a portcullis, the field diapered; or half-length or shorter portrait of king in armour, crowned, sceptre in right and orb in left hand: reverse, shield of arms. Rose-rial, king enthroned as before; reverse, a large double rose with shield of arms. Spur-rial, king in armour, standing in a ship with sword and shield; or, the Scottish lion, sejant, crowned, holding a sceptre in his right paw and supporting with his left a shield of the royal arms; reverse, within a tressure a Spur-rowel, or star of 16 points centred with a rose, four points terminated with lions, and four with fleurs-de-lis. Angel, etc., usual type. Thistle crown, a double rose on its stem, crowned, between the initials I. R.; reverse, a thistle crowned in like manner. Some of the legends or reverses are EXVRGAT DEVS DISSIPENTVR INIMICI; TVEATVR VNITA DEVS; FACIAM EOS IN GENTEM VNAM; HENRICVS ROSAS, REGNA IACOBVS; A DNO. FACTVM EST ISTVD ET EST MIRAB. IN OCVLIS NRIS; A DNO. FACTVM EST ISTVD, etc.

Copper. Farthing, crown and two sceptres in saltire, IACO. D. G. BRIT. Reverse, Irish harp, crowned, FRA. ET. HIB. REX. For Scotland a brass Twopence, called 'Hardhead' was struck: obverse three thistles on one stem, IACOBVS D. G. MAG BRIT; reverse, lion rampant, FRAN and HIB REX.

CHARLES I. (1625 to 1649).

Denominations.Silver. Twenty-shilling-piece or Pound, Ten-shilling-piece or Half-pound, Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Groat, Threepence, Half-groat, Penny, and Halfpenny.

Gold. Tower Mint. Unit, Broad, or Twenty-shilling-piece; Double-crown or Half-broad or Ten-shilling-piece; crown, Britain-crown, or Five-shilling-piece, Angel. Oxford Mint, Treble-Unit, or Three-Pound-piece; Unit or Twenty-shilling-piece; Half-unit, Double-crown, or Ten-shilling-piece. Briot's Mint. Unit, Double-crown, or Half Unit, Angel.

Obverse.Type. Twenty-shilling and Ten-shilling-piece, king on horseback with or without artillery, armour, arms, etc., under horse's feet. Crowns and Half-crowns, king in armour on horseback, but with very many variations in detail. One description is as much as our limits will allow. The Oxford Crown, the rarest in the series, has the king on horseback, in armour, to the left, crowned, double-arched crown, drawn sword in his right hand, a sash round his neck, coming under his left arm, the ends flying behind; the horse not caparisoned, having only a saddle cloth. On the field of the coin, beneath the horse, is a view of the city of Oxford, with the word OXON above it. This coin is beautifully executed. Shilling, Half-shilling, Quarter-shilling, Groat, Half-groat, and Penny, sinister bust profile, in robes, crowned, hair long and flowing, beard long. Some Groats and Half-groats have a rose crowned as also have Pennies. Halfpenny, a rose, no legend, or a rose crowned between C. R. The variations in the coins, consequent on the number of mints set up—London, Exeter, Aberystwith, Oxford, Bristol, Chester, Worcester, Weymouth, York, and other places—is very great; the differences being more or less important both as to mint marks and other features.

Legend. C. CAR. or CAROLVS. D. G. MAGNA BRITAN. FRAN. ET HIBER. REX, variously abbreviated. Oxford Crown, CAROLVS. D. G. MAG. BRIT. FRAN. ET. HIBER. REX.

Reverse.Type. Generally the royal shield. The Oxford Crown and some other coins have no device, except an ornament to divide the legends; and the Prince of Wales' feathers three times repeated, or single, above. On some, the shield (which is as James I.'s) is oval, and mantled, sometimes crowned; others have shields, the quarterings terminating in a cross moline, etc. The smaller coins have sometimes a rose crowned, sceptres, or sceptre and trident in saltire, etc., or the declaration EXVRGAT, etc., in lines across. One Half-groat has two Cs interlinked, crowned.

Legend. Oxford Crown, EXVRGAT DEVS DISSIPENTVR INIMICI. In the field of the coin, in two parallel lines, is RELIG. PROT. LEG. ANG. LIBER. PARL., beneath which is 1644, OXON, and above v. for value. A branch of leaves and flowers between the words of the first. Others have CHRISTO AVSPICE REGNO. Others IVSTITIA THRONVM FIRMAT, or TVEATVR VNITA DEVS. The groat has RELIG., etc., within a scroll on the field, EXURGAT, etc.

Rarity. For the most part common. The Oxford crown is of the most extreme rarity, and most of the Oxford mintages are rare, as are those of Aberystwith and other places.

Gold. Three-pound-piece, crowned profile bust to the waist, with or without sword and olive branch; feathers behind the head; reverse, declaration in three lines. Unit or Broad-piece, bust profile, crowned, much varied on some with drawn sword and olive branch; behind the head XX for value. Reverse: On field, RELIG., etc., on a ribband. Double-crown and Crown, bust profile crowned. Reverse. Shield crowned, CVLTORES. SVI. DEVS. PROTEGIT. Angel same type as its predecessors.

Copper.—Halfpence and Farthings, David playing the harp, looking upward; above, a crown, FLOREAT REX. Reverse: Halfpenny, St. Patrick in full robes, mitered, with crosier, etc., holding to figures around him the shamrock leaf; behind him the arms of Dublin. Farthing, St. Patrick as before, stretching his hand over reptiles; behind him a cathedral; legend, QVIESCAT PLEBS. Other Halfpence, Farthings and Half-farthings have on obverse two sceptres in saltire, behind, a crown, or C. R. crowned. Reverse: Some, the royal rose crowned; others, the Irish harp crowned; and others, again, the Scotch thistle; others, a small pellet of brass inserted in the centre of the rose. Legend. Obverse: CAR. CARO. or CAROLVS.—D. G. MAG. BRIT. Reverse: On some, the Scotch motto, NEMO., etc.; others, continuation of titles.

Obsidional or Siege Pieces. These rude coins, if coins they can be called, were struck by the king, and those favourable to his cause, to supply that monarch with the necessary funds for carrying on his wars. They are extremely interesting, as showing the various inconveniences and shifts the king was subject to. The nobility and gentry, his partisans, were applied to for the use of all their plate, as were also wardens and fellows of the different colleges in the universities of Oxford, etc., the mayors and corporations, of cities and towns, etc. The plate thus collected was chopped up, for the greatest part, in unmeaning shapes, and struck or engraved with different devices, and the value. The Scarborough Half-crown is a piece of thin plate doubled, the corners turned over to hold together. On one side is engraven in a very rude manner the castle, with the value in numerals; and on the other, OBS. SCARBOROUGH, 1645. The Newark Shilling, which is one of the commonest, is lozenge shaped. Obverse, crown between C. R.; beneath, XII. Reverse, OBS. NEWARK, 1646. Pontefract, sometimes an octagonal, and sometimes a round piece. Obverse, C. R. under a crown; DVM SPIRO SPERO. Reverse, Pontefract Castle, with name or letters. Other places where these were struck were Colchester, Carlisle, Dublin, Cork, etc. At Colchester a gold siege piece of the value of 10s. was struck. A history of the coinage in this reign alone would fill a folio volume.

COMMONWEALTH. (1649 to 1660.)

Denominations.Silver. Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Half-groat, Penny, Halfpenny. Gold. Broad, or Twenty-shilling-piece; Half-broad, or Ten-shilling-piece; Quarter-broad, or Five-shilling-piece.

Obverse.Type. Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Half-shilling, Half-groat, and Penny, a plain shield charged with the cross of St. George, encircled by a branch of palm, and an olive branch. Halfpenny, same shield, without branches or numerals. Numerals to denote value (as V for 5s.; II VI for 2s. 6d.; XII for 12d.; VI for 6d.; II for 2d.) on all except the Halfpennies.

Legend. THE COMMONWEALTH OF ENGLAND. Half-groat, Penny, and Halfpenny, no legend or numerals. Half-shilling, one type has TRVTH AND PEACE.

Reverse.Type. Shield of St. George's cross, and shield of Irish harp conjoined, above which is the value, in numerals. Halfpenny, single shield of the Irish harp.

Legend. GOD WITH US, and date. Half-groat and Penny, without legend. Halfpenny without legend or value.

Rarity. All comparatively common; the coins of 1658 and 1660 are rarest.

Gold. Twenty-shilling, Ten-shilling, and Five-shilling pieces, same type and legend as the silver; numerals to denote value.

Copper. Farthings. On the obverse a shield of St. George's cross as before; reverse, shield of Irish harp; legend, FARTHING TOKENS OF ENGLAND. ENGLAND'S FARTHING. THE FARTHIN TOKENS FOR. FOR NECESSITY OF CHANGE, 1649. RELEFE OF THE PORE, etc. Pewter Farthing, shield with voided cross, surmounted by the letters, T.K., in an oval; legend, ¼ OVNCE OF FINE PEWTR. Reverse: shield of Irish harp, upon rays, surmounted by a palm and laurel wreath; legend, FOR NECESSARY CHANGE. These are all pattern pieces, and are all rare. Several pattern pieces for other coins are also known. One of these has the two shields on the reverse held by a winged angel, and the words GVARDED WITH ANGELS, 1651.


Denominations.Silver. Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Nine-pence, and Sixpence. Gold. Fifty-shilling-piece, Broad or Twenty-shilling-piece, Half-broad or Ten-shilling-piece. Copper. Farthings.

Obverse. Type. Sinister bust profile of the Protector, draped, loose drapery, head laureated, hair long.

Legend. OLIVAR. D.G. RP. ANG. SCO. ET HIB. and PRO. or otherwise abbreviated.

Reverse.Type. Shield surmounted by an open arched crown, bearing quarterly, 1 and 4, cross of St. George; 2, cross of St. Andrew; 3, Irish harp, upon an escutcheon of pretence, the arms of Cromwell, a lion rampant.

Legend. PAX QVAERITVR BELLO. and date.


Gold. Same type and legend as silver. On the edge of the fifty-shilling-piece, PROTECTOR LITERIS LITERAE NVMMIS CORONA ET SALVS.

Copper. Farthing. Obverse, head as before, OLIVAR PRO ENG SC IRL. Reverse, shield as before, and legend CHARITIE AND CHANGE; another, three columns tied together, having on top of the first a cross, the second a harp, and the third a thistle, and the legend THVS VNITED INVINCIBLE; another, a ship under sail, and legend, AND GOD DIRECT OVR COVRS; another, CONVENIENT CHANGE.

CHARLES II. (1660 to 1685.)

Denominations.Silver. First issue, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Half-groat, Penny. Second, same. Third, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Fourpence or Groat, Threepence, Half-groat, Penny. Fourth, Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence. Gold. Broad or Twenty-shilling-piece, Half-broad or Ten-shilling-piece, Quarter-broad or Five-shilling-piece. Five-Guinea-piece, Two-guinea-piece, Guinea, Half-guinea. Copper. Halfpenny and Farthing. Tin. Farthing.

Obverse.Type. Sinister laureated bust profile, crowned, loose drapery, hair long and flowing.

Legend. CAROLVS. II. D.G. (or DEI. GRA. or GRATIA). MAG. BRI. FRA. ET HIB. REX, or otherwise abbreviated. Reverse.Type. The first three issues of coins bore a plain shield of arms, quarterly, 1 and 4 France and England quarterly, 2 Scotland, 3 Ireland, over a cross fleury. Those of the fourth and last issue bear four shields, with the bottoms joined, forming a cross; the shields being England, Scotland, France, and Ireland, each crowned; in the centre, within a star, St. George's cross. Between the shields, in the four compartments, are two Cs interlinked. One Shilling has one shield of France and England, quarterly, two shields of Scotland, and one of Ireland, not crowned; between the shields are the interlinked Cs crowned. The Fourpence has a monogram of four Cs interlinked, in form of a cross, crowned; and in the compartments are severally a rose, a thistle, a fleur-de-lis, and a harp. The Threepence has three Cs interlinked; the Twopence two Cs interlinked; and the Penny a single C, all crowned; these denote the value; others have numerals crowned.

Legend. MAG. BR. FRA. ET HIB. REX., or otherwise abbreviated, and date. CHRISTO AVSPICE REGNO.

Edge. DECVS ET TVTAMEN ANNO XV or VICESIMO, or other year of reign.

Gold. Same type, sceptres between shields. Obverse: Bust, laureated and draped, with long hair. Reverse: First issue, arms, etc., as on silver; later issue, Five-guinea, Guinea, etc., four shields arranged as a cross, and each crowned; in the centre four Cs interlinked, from which issue four sceptres, terminating respectively in orb and cross, thistle, fleur-de-lis, and harp. Legend on reverses, FLORENT CONCORDIA REGNA, or titles. Edge, DECVS ET TVTAMEN, and year of reign as on the silver.

Copper. Halfpence and Farthings, sinister bust profile, laureated, in armour. English, CAROLVS A CAROLO. Scotch, CAR. II. D. G. SCO. AN. FR. ET HIB. R. Irish, CAROLVS II DEI GRATIA. Reverse, English, figure of Britannia, which now first appears; Irish, a harp crowned, date on field; Scotch, a thistle crowned. English, BRITANNIA, date in exergue; Irish, MAG. BR. FRA. ET. HIB. REX.; Scotch, NEMO ME IMPVNE LACESSET. and date; all common. Farthing with Britannia particularly so.

Tin or Pewter. Halfpence and Farthings, some with a plug of copper in the centre. On the edge, NVMMORVM FAMVLVS and date.

Siege pieces of Charles II., CAROLVS SECVNDVS, or CAROL. II. D.G. MAG. B. F. ET H. REX.; and on the reverse, C. R. under a crown; DVM SPIRO SPERO, or POST MORTEM PATRIS PRO FILIO were struck at Pontefract.

I may here mention a most splendid specimen of the die-sinker's art, produced by Simon, the celebrated die-sinker, as a trial piece against an artist who was employed by Charles. The obverse has a bust of the king of most exquisite workmanship, and round the edge of the coin, in place of DECVS., etc., was this simple petition in two lines: 'THOMAS. SIMON. most humbly prays your MAJESTY to compare this, his tryal piece, with the Dutch, and, if more truly drawn, and embossed, more gracefully ordered, and more accurately engraven, to relieve him.' At Trattle's sale, in 1832, a very fine specimen sold for £225. It is said that only twenty copies were struck with the petition on the edge, and a few others with a different edge, REDDITE QVAE CAESARES CAESARI & POST; and one is recorded to be known bearing, RENDER TO CAESAR THE THINGS WHICH ARE CAESAR'S.

JAMES II. (1685 to 1689.)

Denominations.Silver. Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, Penny. Gold. Five-guinea, Two-guinea, Guinea, Half-guinea. Tin or Pewter. Halfpenny, Farthing. Gun Money. As silver.

Obverse.Type. Sinister bust profile, laureated, on some draped, on others undraped; hair long. The Crown has the king in armour on horseback, with drawn sword.


Reverse.Type. Shields in cross, etc. The Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, and Penny have the value, IIII., III., II., I., crowned.

Legend. MAG. BR. FRA. ET. HIB. REX. and date.

Edge. DECVS ET TVTAMEN REX, and year of reign.

Gun Money. Silver being scarce in this reign, an issue of base money was resorted to, some of which, being struck from the old cannon and domestic utensils melted down, is called 'Gun Money.' The Crown, which is scarce, has the king in armour, laureated, on horseback, with a drawn sword, a long sash flying behind; reverse, four shields in cross, with the crown in the centre; the Half-crowns, Shillings, and Sixpences have two sceptres in saltire, behind a crown, between I. R.; above the crown are numerals for value, and beneath, the month in which it was struck. Gold. The Five-guinea-piece is rare, the others common. They are of the same general type as the silver.

Tin or Pewter. Halfpence and Farthings: obverse, bust profile, as before; reverse, English, figure of Britannia, BRITANNIA; Irish, figure of Hibernia with the harp, HIBERNIA, or Irish harp crowned. Half-farthings: obverse, sceptres in saltire, and crown; reverse, harp or rose, crowned. There is also a kind called plug-money; this was struck owing to a scarcity of copper; it is of pewter, and in the middle is inserted a very small square plug of copper, to show that it is intended to pass for copper money. One tin Halfpenny has the king on horseback with drawn sword, on the obverse, and on the reverse the harp surmounted by a crown with lion crest, and two sceptres in saltire; in this two or more plugs of brass are inserted. Other varieties need not be particularized. White metal coins were also issued.

WILLIAM III. AND MARY II. (1689 to 1702. 1689 to 1694.)

Denominations. Silver. Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, Penny. Gold. Five-guinea, Two-guinea, Guinea, Half-Guinea. Tin. Halfpenny, Farthing. Copper. Halfpenny, Farthing.

Obverse.Type. Dexter busts profile of king and queen, (William and Mary) side by side, that of the king laureated, partly in armour. Queen draped, hair curled; some have the bust of Mary only; Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, and Penny, busts undraped. After Mary's death, the bust of William, profile and laureated, appears alone.


Reverse.Type. Four crowned shields in cross, as before; in the centre, the shield of Nassau; between the shields, W. and M. conjoined; the four figures of the date, as 1693, one under each monograph. Some Half-crowns have a plain shield of the royal arms, crowned; Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, and Penny, values crowned. After the death of Mary, feathers on some, and on others roses, take the place of the monogram of W and M between the shields; on others the space is left blank.

Legend. MAG BR FRA ET HIB REX ET REGINA, or the same, leaving off 'et regina.'

Edge. DECVS ET TVTAMEN and year of reign.

Gold. Busts as before; reverse, royal arms in large shield, crowned. After Mary's death, reverse, shields in cross, with sceptres, as on the silver.

Copper. Halfpence and Farthings. Obverse, busts as before, GVLIELMVS ET MARIA, or GVLIELMVS TERTIVS. Reverse, figure of Britannia, BRITANNIA, date in exergue; Irish, GVLIELMVS ET MARIA DEI GRATIA; reverse, Irish harp crowned, MAG BR FR ET HIB REX ET REGINA, date on field. There are coins also, of Mary's only, one of which has, on obverse, bust profile of queen, draped, hair turned up behind, MARIA II DEI GRATIA; reverse, full blown rose on a branch, EX CANDORE DECVS. After the queen's death, the coins have the bust of William, as before, with GVLIELMVS TERTIVS; reverse, same as before. Scotch have, on obverse, a sword and sceptre in saltire, with a crown above: reverse, thistle, crowned; another has a monogram.

ANNE. (1702 to 1714.)

Denominations.Silver. Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, Penny. Gold. Five-guinea, Two-guinea, Guinea, Half-guinea. Copper. Farthing.

Obverse.Type. Sinister bust profile, draped, hair thrown back, and tied at back of head with a ribband, which passes round the head.


Reverse.Type. Four crowned shields in cross. Before the union these shields were, 1 England, 2 Scotland, 3 France, 4 Ireland. After the union they were altered to two shields of England and Scotland impaled, one of France, and one of Ireland. In the centre, the cross of St. George, in a star of the garter; between the shields, feathers or roses, or feathers and roses alternately; Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, and Penny, values, crowned.

Legend. MAG BRI FR ET HIB REG and date.

Edge. DECVS ET TVTAMEN, and year of reign.

Rarity. All common. The smaller denominations scarcer than the others.

Gold. Same type and legend and edge. Reverse, sceptres between the shields.

Copper. As there is so much popular error concerning the farthings, it may be well to remark at length upon them, in order to clear away the absurd idea generally entertained, of there being only three in existence. Instead of this being the case, there are absolutely six distinct varieties. The first, which is the only one which was ever in general circulation, has, on the obverse, sinister bust profile, of queen, draped, hair thrown back, encircled with a string of pearls, ANNA DEI GRATIA; reverse, figure of Britannia, olive branch in her right, and spear in her left hand, BRITANNIA, date, 1714, in exergue: this, although scarce, is by far the commonest of the whole: there is one with the same type, but broad rim, which is rare. Second, bust as before, ANNA REGINA; reverse, as last. Third, same bust, ANNA DEI GRATIA; reverse, figure of Britannia, right leg bare; BRITANNIA, 1713, round. Fourth, obverse as before; reverse, Britannia, as last, under an arch; BRITANNIA in exergue, 1713. Fifth, bust as before, with band instead of pearls, within an inner circle (the busts on the others are on the field); reverse, figure of Britannia standing, helmeted, in the right hand the olive branch, and in her left the spear, within inner circle; BELLO ET PACE; date 1715, in exergue. Sixth, bust as one, ANNA AVGVSTA; reverse, same figure as last, standing in a car, drawn by two horses; in her right hand she holds the olive branch, in her left the reins and a spear; PAX MISSA PER ORBEM; in exergue, 1713. The prices depend upon the state of preservation of the coins, but, for FINE ones, the following are about the values: 1, from six shillings to fourteen shillings; 2 and 3, from fifteen shillings to thirty shillings; 3, 4, and 6, from two to three pounds: 5, the rarest, from five to ten, or twelve pounds. There is a small medal, or counter, which is very frequently mistaken by the generality of persons for one of her farthings. It has on the obverse the bust, with ANNA DEI GRATIA; reverse, the four shields in cross, sometimes plain, and sometimes with roses between the shields, MAG BR FRA ET HIB REG 1711; frequently RIG instead of REG. Some of these are of beautiful workmanship, and others very rude: they are far from being scarce; they were not struck as current coins. Halfpenny, bust, ANNA D G MAG BR FR ET HIB REG; reverse, sitting figure of Britannia, leaning on a shield, in her left hand a spear, in her right a rose and thistle emanating from the same branch; the whole beneath a crown.

GEORGE I. (1714 to 1727.)

Denominations.Silver. Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, Penny. Gold. Five-guinea, Two-guinea, Guinea, Half-guinea, Quarter-guinea. Copper. Halfpenny, Farthing.

Obverse.Type. Dexter laureated bust profile, in armour and draped, hair long and curled.

Legend. GEORGIVS D. G. M. BR. FR. ET. HIB. REX. F. D.

Reverse.Type. Four crowned shields in cross. 1, England and Scotland impaled; 2, France; 3, Ireland; 4, Brunswick, and Lunenberg with Hanoverian escutcheon. Between the shields, on some, are a rose and thistle or feathers alternately; on others, S. S. C. (South Sea Company, silver), etc., indicative of the kind of silver of which they are minted; in the centre is the star and cross of St. George. Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, and Penny, values crowned.

Legend. BRVN. ET. L. DVX. S. R. I. A. TH. ET. EL., reading on from the obverse; thus, in full, 'Georgius, Dei gratia, Magnae Britanniae Franciae et Hiberniae Rex, Fidei Defensor, Brunsvicensis et Lunenbergensis Dux, Sacri Romani Imperii Thesaurarius et Princeps Elector' (or Elector only), and date.

Edge. DECVS ET TVTAMEN, and year of reign.

Gold. Same general type and legend as the silver.

Copper. Halfpence and Farthings. Obverse, dexter bust profile, draped, laureated, GEORGIVS REX. Reverse, figure of Britannia, BRITANNIA, date in exergue. The Farthing has a broad rim. Obverse, Irish Halfpence, bust as before, undraped, GEORGIVS DEI GRATIA REX; reverse, figure of Hibernia, with harp, HIBERNIA; date in same line.

GEORGE II. (1727 to 1760.)

Denominations.Silver. Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, Penny. Gold. Five-guinea, Two-guinea, Guinea, Half-guinea. Copper. Halfpenny, Farthing.

Obverse.Type. Sinister laureated bust profile, in armour, hair long and curled; under the head of some is LIMA.


Reverse.Type. Four crowned shields in cross as on those of George I. In the centre of some is the motto, HONI SOIT, etc., on the garter round the cross, as George I. On some, plain between the shields; on others, a rose and Welsh feathers alternately, four roses or four feathers, to denote the silver from which they are minted. Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, and Penny, values, crowned.

Legend. M. B. F. ET. H. REX. F. D. B. ET. L. D. S. R. I. A. T. ET. E., as explained under George I., and date. Penny, MAG. BRI. FR. ET. HIB. REX., and date.

Gold. Bust, undraped, laureated; reverse, royal arms in an ornamented shield, crowned.

Copper. Halfpence and Farthings. Bust as before, laureated and in armour, GEORGIVS II REX.; reverse, figure of Britannia, BRITANNIA, date in exergue. Irish Halfpence and Farthings, same bust, undraped; reverse, Irish harp, crowned, HIBERNIA, and date.

GEORGE III. (1760 to 1820.)

Denominations.Silver. Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, Penny. Gold. Guinea (21s.), Half-guinea (10s. 6d.), Third-of-guinea or Seven-shilling-piece (7s.), Quarter-of-guinea (5s. 3d.), Sovereign (20s.), Half-sovereign (10s.). Copper. Twopence, Penny, Halfpenny, Farthing.

Obverse.Type. Early issues: dexter bust profile of king, in armour, laureated, hair long; on his later coinage, bust undraped, laureated, hair short.

Legend. Early: GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA. Late: GEOR. (or GEORGIVS) III. D. G. BRITT. (or BRITANNIARVM) REX. F. D. (or FID. DEF.), etc. Later coinage has the date beneath the head.

Reverse.Type. Early coinage: Four crowned or uncrowned shields in cross, as on coins of George I. and II.; the crowns in those instances where they do not surmount the shields, being placed in the angles between them. Later coinage: Crown, St. George and the Dragon within the mottoed garter, Half-crown, crowned shield of royal arms, within the garter, on which is the motto, HONI SOIT, etc.; quarterly, 1 and 4, England, 2, Scotland, 3, Ireland, Brunswick, etc., on an escutcheon surmounted by the electorate crown; the shield crowned; on another, round the garter, is the collar and badge of the order. Shillings, royal shield encircled by the garter, no legend; Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, and Penny, values, either IIII. III. II. I., or in figures; one mintage, called wire-money, has the value in writing figures, all the lines of the same strength.

Legend. Early: M. B. F. ET. H. REX. F. D. B. ET. L. D. S. R. I. A. T. ET. E. and date. Late: BRITANNIARVM REX FID DEF or FIDEI DEFENSOR.

During great scarcity of silver money in 1797 Spanish dollars and half-dollars were countermarked with a small punch of the king's head and put into circulation as current coin of the value of 4s. 9d. This stamp having been counterfeited to a considerable extent, a different one was adopted in 1804, but it in turn being much counterfeited, the whole dollar was re-stamped with a fresh octagonal device, the king's head, etc., on the obverse, and on the reverse a figure of Britannia within an oval, crowned with a mural crown, and having the words BANK OF ENGLAND FIVE SHILLINGS DOLLAR, 1804. Bank of England tokens, value Six-shillings, Three-shillings, and other amounts, were also issued. Of these, and the Irish and Madras and other issues, I must forego particulars.

Gold. Obverse, bust laureated; reverse, Guinea, and Half-guinea, royal arms in a 'spade ace' shield, crowned; Sovereign, George and Dragon within the garter; Half-sovereign, royal shield; Seven-shillings, a crown.

Copper. Early coinage: Halfpennies and Farthings, bust laureated and in armour, GEORGIVS III REX.; reverse, figure of Britannia, BRITANNIA and date; Irish, bust undraped; reverse, Irish harp crowned. 1797 and 1799, Twopence and Penny, with raised broad rim, on which is the legend, indented, bust profile, laureated, hair long, draped, GEORGIVS III DEI GRATIA REX; Farthing, date under head; reverse, Britannia, bareheaded, in the right hand an olive branch, in the left a trident; seated on a rock, shield under her left hand, BRITANNIA, in the distance a ship (the water cut up to the curve of the coin), date under figure. Halfpence and Farthings, same figure of Britannia, but without the broad rim; halfpenny, BRITANNIA, date under figure; Farthing, BRITANNIA, under figure, 1 FARTHING. In 1806-7, Pence, Halfpence, and Farthings, bust laureated and draped, hair short, GEORGIVS III. D. G. REX. and date. Britannia as before, water in a line across, BRITANNIA. Irish, harp, crowned, HIBERNIA, and date. A large variety of copper coins for the East India Company, Isle of Man, Prince of Wales Island, Sierra Leone, Barbadoes, Ceylon, etc., were struck, which need not be particularized.

GEORGE IV. (1820 to 1830.)

Denominations.Silver. Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, Penny. Gold. Five-sovereign, Double-sovereign, Sovereign, Half-sovereign. Copper. Penny, Halfpenny, Farthing.

Obverse.Type. Sinister large bust profile, laureated, undraped. In 1826 the bust differs, the neck and head are much narrower in proportion, and it is not laureated. These latter coins are the productions of Mr. Wyon, from the bust by Chantrey; the former ones are Pistrucci's.


Reverse.Type. Crown, St. George on horseback, undraped, helmeted, loose vest flying behind, in his right hand a dagger, his left holding the reins; under the horse, a dragon, a broken lance lying beside, no legend, date in exergue, edge, DECUS, etc. This coin is of most beautiful workmanship. Half-crown, early, royal arms; on some in plain square shield, crowned, encircled by the garter, with motto, HONI, etc., or ornamented shield, crowned, a rose beneath, and a thistle on one side, and on the other a shamrock, no legend; date on the former, with ANNO.; later, royal shield, beautifully mantled.

Early, Shilling and Sixpence as the Half-crowns; later, royal crown and crest, a lion passant-guardant, crowned; beneath is the rose, thistle and shamrock. This is commonly known as the 'lion shilling.'


Gold. Five-pound-piece, Double-sovereign, Sovereign, and Half-sovereign, bust as before; reverse, George and dragon; or royal shield.

Copper. Pennies, Halfpennies, and Farthings; early, bust profile, laureated, draped or undraped; Pence and Halfpence, GEORGIVS IV DG REX.; Farthings, GEORGIVS IIII DEI GRATIA; Pence and Halfpence; Irish, harp, crowned, HIBERNIA. and date; Farthing, Britannia seated on a rock, facing the right, helmeted, in her left hand the trident, in her right, which rests on the shield, an olive branch, lion at her feet, no water in distance, date in exergue; later, Pence, Halfpence, and Farthings, Britannia seated helmeted, left hand the trident, right resting on shield, no olive branch, nor lion, beneath the figure, the rose, thistle, and shamrock, BRITANNIAR REX FID. DEF. A Half-farthing for Ceylon, and a one third of a Farthing, for Malta, were struck in 1827-8, and are rare.

WILLIAM IV. (1830 to 1837.)

Denominations.Silver. Crown, Half-crown, Shilling, Sixpence, Groat or Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, Penny, Three-halfpence. Gold. Double-sovereign, Sovereign, Half-sovereign. Copper. Penny, Halfpenny, Farthing.

Obverse.Type. Dexter bust profile, undraped, hair short.


Reverse.Type. Half-crown, ermine robe surmounted by the crown, tied at the corners with cord and tassels, on the robe are the royal arms in a plain square shield, beneath which is the collar and badge of the Order of the Garter; dated with the word ANNO.; Shilling and Sixpence, within a wreath formed by branches of olive and oak is the value, ONE SHILLING.—SIXPENCE. in two lines, a crown above, beneath the wreath the date; Fourpence, figure of Britannia, FOUR PENCE, date in exergue. Maundy money, value, crowned, within a wreath of oak branches.

Gold. All the same bust as on the silver. Five-pound-piece, a pattern piece only; Double-sovereign, with arms, with mantle, garter, and crown; Sovereign, Half-sovereign, bust as before; reverse, royal arms in ornamental shield.

Copper. Pence, Halfpence, and Farthings, bust as before, date under the head, GULIELMUS IIII DEI GRATIA; reverse, Britannia, as last coinage of George IV.; beneath the figure, rose, thistle, and shamrock, BRITANNIAR REX. FID. DEF. Several colonial and other coins were also struck in silver and copper.

VICTORIA. (1837.)

Denominations.Silver. Crown, Half-crown, Florin or Two-shilling piece, Shilling, Sixpence, Groat or Fourpence, Threepence, Twopence, Penny. Gold. Five-pound-piece, Double-sovereign or Two-pound-piece, Sovereign, Half-sovereign. Copper. Penny, Halfpenny, Farthing, Half-farthing. Bronze. Penny, Halfpenny, and Farthing.

Obverse.Type. Crown and Half-crown. Sinister bust profile of the queen, undraped, round the head two plain bands, hair parted on the forehead, carried over the top of the ear, and all gathered together at the back of the head. The Half-crown has the fore hair plaited immediately before it joins the back hair. None of these have been issued for home currency since 1851. Florin. Sinister bust profile of the queen, crowned with an open arched crown, elegantly draped over the shoulders. Shilling, Sixpence, etc., bust same as Half-crown.

Legend. Crown and Half-crown, VICTORIA DEI GRATIA. Date under the head. Florin, first issue, VICTORIA REGINA, 1849; later issue, Victoria: d: g: britt: reg: f: d: and date as mdccclxviii. Shilling and sixpence, VICTORIA DEI GRATIA BRITANNIAR REG. F. D. Fourpence and Maundy money, VICTORIA D. G. BRITANNIAR. REGINA F. D.

Reverse.Type. Crown and Half-crown, royal arms quarterly, 1 and 4, England, 2, Scotland, 3, Ireland, shield plain, crowned, within a wreath formed of two olive branches tied together at the bottom by a ribband; beneath the shield, the rose, thistle, and shamrock. Florin, first issue, in a tressure of eight arches, whose cusps have trefoil terminations, within the inner circle, four crowned shields arranged as a cross, first and third England, second Scotland, fourth Ireland. In the centre a rose; the crowns extending through the legend to the outside edge of the coin. In the four angles are, respectively, two roses, a thistle and a shamrock. Later issues, similar to the other, with a trefoiled quatrefoil instead of rose in the centre. Shilling and Sixpence; value in two lines, within a wreath formed of a branch of olive and an oak branch tied together with a ribband, above the value the royal crown, beneath the wreath the date. Fourpence, figure of Britannia seated, helmeted, in her left hand the trident, her right resting on the shield, date in exergue. Maundy money, value, crowned, within a wreath of oak branches and date.

Legend. Crown and Half-crown, BRITANNIARVM REGINA FID. DEF. Florin, first issue, ONE FLORIN ONE TENTH OF A POUND; later issues, One florin one tenth of a pound. Shilling and Sixpence, the words ONE SHILLING, and SIXPENCE, within the wreath of laurel and oak, beneath which is the date. Fourpence, FOUR PENCE. Threepence, figure 3 crowned.

The most beautiful of our modern coins is a Crown-piece struck in 1847, from dies engraved by Wyon. It is in somewhat low relief, and bears on the obverse an exquisite profile portrait of the queen, to the left, filling up the entire diameter of the coin. Her Majesty wears an open four-arched crown; the hair, being plaited, is brought down below the ear, and fastened at the back of the head; shoulders and bosom draped with delicate and elaborately ornamented lace, pearls, and jewels, the portion of the robe visible being diapered with roses, thistles, and shamrocks in lozenges. Legend. Victoria dei gratia britanniar. reg: f: d. Reverse: within the inner circle four shields (two England, one Scotland, one Ireland), arranged as a cross, within a tressure of eight arches; each shield crowned, the crowns extending through the legend and to extremity of the coin. In the centre the star of the Order of the Garter, and in the angles between the shields, which are diapered, a rose twice repeated, a thistle, and a shamrock; the spandrils and the cusps trefoiled. Legend, tueatur unita deus anno dom. mdcccxlvii. Round the edge decus• et• tutamen• anno• regni• undecim. This, usually known as the 'gothic crown,' was not put in circulation.

Gold. Sovereign, and Half-sovereign; obverse, same bust as the silver, VICTORIA DEI GRATIA, and date; reverse, Sovereign, royal arms, as the Half-crown; later issues, St. George and the Dragon as on those of George IV., and date; Half-sovereign, royal shield as before, without the wreath, mantled, crowned, BRITANNIARVM REGINA FID. DEF.

Copper. Farthings; obverse, same as Sovereign; reverse, figure of Britannia, as before, with the rose, thistle, and shamrock beneath, BRITANNIAR REG. FID. DEF.; Half and Quarter-farthings have also been struck for the colonies to supersede the use of cowries.

Bronze. Obverse: beautifully laureated profile bust of the queen, hair tied behind, draped over the shoulders; the portrait filling up the diameter of the coin; legend, VICTORIA D: G: BRITT: REG: F: D: Reverse: figure of Britannia, helmeted and draped, holding a trident in her left hand, and her right resting on a shield of the union; in the distance, on one side, the Eddystone Lighthouse, on the other a ship in full sail. Legend: ONE PENNY, date in exergue, 1860, et seq. A large number of pattern pieces for coins of various values, and in all the metals, have at one time or other during this reign been prepared and struck, and are of the highest interest for the cabinets of collectors.

Traders' Tokens of the Seventeenth Century

The Traders' Tokens of this kingdom, properly so-called, are confined, in issue, to the seventeenth, eighteenth, and early part of the nineteenth centuries—those of the first of these periods being the most numerous as well as, in most respects, the most interesting. Though not coins in the ordinary sense, not having been issued by kings or governments, they play a more important part in the history of the country than even the regal pieces do, and the information to be derived from their study is not only valuable but in many instances entertaining.

Coins, the currency of nations, as I have, on another occasion, observed, are hoarded up and studied, and constantly referred to in illustration of historical facts, or as corroborations in cases of doubtful points; and their value, admitted on all hands, cannot be too highly estimated. They, however, tell but of princes and nationalities, not of the people. The coins of Greece and Rome tell of events, of changes, and of wars, and become, when properly studied, a complete epitome of the history of the great nations to which they belong. Those of our own country, however, have not that recommendation—they become simply, and solely, matters of regal chronology. From the Norman Conquest to the present hour not one event does an English coin record, not one national trait does it exhibit, and not one matter connected with national history or the people does it illustrate.

Not so with Traders' Tokens. Issued by the people, they tell of the people, and become imperishable records of that most important estate of the realm. They indicate to us their occupations and their skill; their customs and their modes of life; their local governments; their guilds and trade companies; their habits and sentiments; their trades, their costume, their towns, their families, and their homes. Pity it is that these lasting and reliable records and adjuncts to national history are, as I have just said, confined to some two centuries of our historical annals—but of those two periods (and especially of the earliest) they are, assuredly, among the more interesting and important of illustrations.

In Anglo-Saxon and mediaeval times the want of small coins—that is, a currency representing a small value—was much felt, and this gave rise to the occasional issue of spurious, or rather base, coins to supply the deficiency, as it was found the smaller pieces—for instance, the pennies when broken up for use as halfpence and farthings—were unfit for general use among the rough-handed population.

In the reigns of Edward VI. and Mary the issue of a base-metal currency gave rise to considerable dissatisfaction and fraud, and under Elizabeth, who issued three-halfpence and three-farthing pieces, that spurious currency was declared no longer current. Despite the issuing, however, of these three-halfpenny and three-farthing pieces, the want of halfpennies and farthings was still so seriously felt by the entire population, that housekeepers, chandlers, grocers, mercers, vintners, and most other traders were impelled, for conscience' sake, to the issue of private tokens of lead, pewter, latten, tin, and even leather, for the purposes of trade. These were issued by the traders, and commodities in exchange could only be had from their issuers; they were thus useless as a circulating medium and a source of frequent loss to their holders.

In 1574 a proposition was made to the Queen by two persons named Wickliffe and Humphrey, to coin halfpence and farthings in base silver (to weigh respectively 12 and 6 grains), but was not acted upon. It was then proposed to coin pledges of copper, and a proclamation forbidding the use of private tokens and authorizing those just named was prepared; this, however, again, was not acted upon, and private tokens still continued in use. In 1582 the three-farthing pieces were withdrawn and silver halfpennies issued. They bear on the obverse a portcullis and mint mark, and on the reverse a cross and pellets.

In 1601 and 1602 the requirements of the army in Ireland caused, for a time, the issue of copper pence, halfpence, and farthings, and this seems to have revived the idea of copper pledges for England, for which, indeed, pattern pieces were struck. Copper tokens were, at that time, issued by the cities of Oxford, Worcester, and Bristol.

On the accession of James I. that monarch issued silver pennies for this country, in which his Scottish baubees, bodles, and placks were useless. A pattern farthing was also prepared but not issued. Soon afterwards a fresh scheme, which met the approval of the king, was acted upon. This was the issue of Royal farthing tokens weighing only six grains each. The licence to mint these dishonest coins which, for the purpose of getting them into circulation, were sold by the Crown to all comers at 21 shillings' worth for a pound, was granted to Lord Harrington—the king stipulating that he should receive one-half the profit every quarter of a year. His majesty, however, ere long altered the arrangement, allowing Lord Harrington a fixed sum, and himself taking all the rest of the profit. Their principal distributor was Gerard Malyns, who thus spoke of their intention and use:—'The necessitye of these small moneys did appeare here with us in England, where everie chandler, tapster, vintner, and others, made tokens of lead and brasse for half-pences, and at Bristol by the late Queenes authoritie were made of copper, with a ship on one side, and C.B. on the other side, signifying Civitas Bristoll: these went current, for small things, at Bristoll and ten miles about. Hereupon, it pleased our soveraigne lord the king to approve of the making of a competent quantitie of farthing tokens to abolish the said leaden tokens, made in derogation of the king's prerogative royall, which farthing tokens, being in the yeare 1613, with certain cautions and limitations, made of meere copper, have on the one side two sceptres crossing under one diadem, in remembrance of the union betweene England and Scotland; and on the other side the harpe for Ireland, and the inscription, 'IACOBVS D.G. MAGNAE. BRITT. FRA. ET HIBER. REX.' And the said farthing tokens have not oneley beene found very commodius and necessarie for pettie commutations, but also to be a great reliefe of the poore, and meanes to encrease charitie, without which many of them had perished, everie man having meanes to give almes, even the mechanicall poore to the indigent poore.'

The mode adopted for distributing these farthing tokens and getting them into circulation was crafty and business-like. They were made up in packets of 5s. 3d. worth in each, and these packets, made up in bags of £20 worth in each, were sent to the mayors of the different towns of the kingdom, who were required to sell them to the public. For all sold and remitted for within two months the mayor was allowed two shillings in the pound for his trouble; if over two months, then only one shilling; and the purchaser of course in any case got 21s. worth for 20s. Thus each 21s. worth was sold by the king for 18s.

Despite all this, however, and the issuing of proclamation after proclamation to enforce this Royal swindle, private tokens continued to be issued as much as ever and could not be put down. The office for the issue of the Royal tokens was in Lothbury, London, and the place is still known as 'Token-House Yard.' After the annulling of this office, copper farthing tokens of a more honest value were issued, but traders still struck their own to such an extent that they became more than ever general throughout the country.

In 1649 an attempt was made to establish a national farthing, and pattern pieces were prepared. Nothing, however, was done until 1671, when Traders' Tokens having increased to a prodigious extent, and being issued by one or other in almost every town and village in the kingdom, the government announced the intended issue of halfpence and farthings to supersede them; and in 1672 a proclamation prohibiting the making or use of any such private tokens was issued, and stringent measures taken for their suppression. From that time their use rapidly declined, and they were soon utterly put down.

From that time (1672) until 1787 no Traders' Tokens whatever were struck or issued in this kingdom. In the latter year (1787) the government having for a long time neglected to issue a sufficient quantity of copper coins for the purposes of trade, and the copper coinage having been forged to so great an extent that not one-fourth of what was in circulation was of Royal mint coining, the Anglesey Copper Mines Company issued tokens of their own, and to such an extent that they put into circulation three hundred tons of copper pennies and halfpennies. The example thus set was followed by other companies, corporations, and private traders, and tokens soon became so general that the matter attracted the attention of government, and resulted in orders being issued for the preparation of a new national coinage.

To that end in June, 1797, George the Third issued his warrant empowering Matthew Boulton, of the Soho Works, Birmingham, to manufacture a considerable quantity of penny and twopenny pieces. The extent to which this contract was carried may be gathered from the fact that between June, 1797, and 1805, Matthew Boulton 'coined under contract for the British Government upwards of 4,000 tons weight of copper coin, amounting at its nominal value to nearly £800,000.' These coins were strictly and unequivocally honest, as were also those of the Anglesey and other works.

The Soho twopenny pieces weighed exactly two ounces each, and eight of them laid side by side measured one foot; the pennies weighed one ounce each, and seventeen in like manner measured two feet; the halfpennies weighed half an ounce each, and twelve of them measured one foot.

The effect of this issue was the stoppage of private tokens, only one or two examples being known of so late a date as 1802, when they finally ceased.

By 1811, consequent on the great increase in the value of copper caused by the costly wars in which this country was engaged, the twopenny and penny pieces (which were of the intrinsic value of the metal) were melted down, or used in various ways, and thus the copper currency had again, gradually and surely, become deficient. In that year the Copper Companies and others again resorted to the issue of batches of tokens, and these continued to increase and to be issued in large numbers until 1817, when, by Act of Parliament passed on the 27th of July, their manufacture was prohibited, and their issuers ordered, under penalties for disobedience, to take up all they had issued before the 1st of January, 1818.

Thus came entirely to an end the issue of Traders' Tokens in this country.

It is impossible to ascertain, or even to form a correct estimate of, the number of varieties of seventeenth century tokens that were issued. Boyne, after mature consideration and much research, estimated the entire issue as not having exceeded 20,000, and in that he was probably tolerably correct.

In round numbers the known examples of tokens of the seventeenth century, issued in the various counties of England, Wales, and Ireland, may be put down as in:—

Bedfordshire about 80
Berkshire " 150
Buckinghamshire " 140
Cambridgeshire " 150
Cheshire " 70
Cornwall " 50
Cumberland " 10
Derbyshire " 110
Devonshire " 250
Dorsetshire " 160
Durham " 60
Essex " 250
Gloucestershire " 180
Hampshire " 150
Herefordshire " 50
Hertfordshire " 170
Huntingdonshire " 70
Kent " 500
Lancashire " 100
Leicestershire " 100
Lincolnshire " 200
Middlesex, including London " 3,200
Monmouthshire " 20
Norfolk " 300
Northamptonshire " 150
Nottinghamshire " 90
Northumberland " 20
Oxfordshire " 230
Rutlandshire " 20
Shropshire " 100
Somersetshire " 280
Staffordshire " 100
Suffolk " 300
Surrey, including Southwark " 650
Sussex " 200
Warwickshire " 160
Westmoreland " 25
Wiltshire " 200
Worcestershire " 120
Yorkshire " 450
Uncertain English " 100
Wales " 100
Isle of Man " 1
Ireland " 700
Scotland, none known.

Making a grand total in all of about twelve thousand distinct varieties; and these, of course, can be only about one-half of what were actually issued.

The denominations are Pennies, Half-pennies, and Farthings, and they are of copper, or, in not a few instances, brass.

Their shape is usually round, but some are square, others octagonal, others lozenge, and others again heart-shaped. These varieties will be best understood by reference to the following engravings, which may be taken as general typical examples.

They are usually thin, not very cleverly struck, and many of them exhibit, in their orthography, ignorant and eccentric modes of spelling names, both of persons, trades, and places. The greater bulk of them are, fortunately, dated; the dates ranging from about 1648 to 1672.

The inscriptions in by far the greatest number of examples commence on the obverse, and are continued on the reverse. They commonly consist of the christian and surname of the issuer, his trade or occupation, and the town or village in which he resided. Usually on the ordinary disc-formed tokens this inscription is between the outer and inner circle of dotted lines. On the field, within the inner circle, is usually the value of the coin; the initials of the issuer and his wife joined together with a knot; trade-company, town, or family-arms; tavern or shop sign; device, indicating the handicraft or trade of the issuer; initials or other lettering; or other matter. On some, principally on the square, lozenge, octagonal, and heart-shaped examples, the inscription is placed in several lines across the entire field, and is accompanied more or less by devices, etc.

Among devices the arms of Trade-guilds or Companies are most numerous, and a brief description of those most commonly met with will be found of great service to the collector. They are as follows,—but for the sake of brevity, and as they are but seldom indicated on the tokens themselves, I omit tinctures:—

Apothecaries.—Full length figure of Apollo, the inventor of physic, his head radiant, holding in his left hand a bow, and in his right hand an arrow, supplanting (i.e. standing over, astride, or vanquishing) a serpent. On tokens these arms are sometimes represented without being on a shield. The crest of the company, a Rhinoceros, is also occasionally used.

Armourers.—On a chevron a gauntlet between two pairs of swords in saltire; on a chief an oval shield whereon a cross of St. George, between two peers' helmets.

Bakers.—A pair of balances, held, between three garbs, by a hand, vested, and arm embowed, issuing from radiated clouds, affixed to the upper part of a chief barry wavy of four, whereon are two anchors.

Bakers (white).—Three garbs; on a chief an arm issuing from a cloud, holding a pair of scales, between three garbs.

Barber-Surgeons.—On a cross of St. George between, in first and fourth quarters a chevron between three fleams, and second and third a rose crowned, a lion passant-guardant.

Blacksmiths.—A chevron between three hammers crowned. On some tokens a single hammer, crowned or uncrowned, without a shield is used; occasionally also three uncrowned hammers; or, hammer and pincers, as on the cut; or, again, an anvil, as on the next example. Bottle Makers and Horners (now only Horners).—On a chevron between three leather bottles as many bugle horns, stringed.

Braziers.—On a chevron between, in chief, two ewers (or beakers), and in base, a tripod pot with two handles, three roses seeded and barbed.

Brewers.—On a chevron, between three pairs of barley garbs in saltire, as many tuns. Instead of these arms it was not infrequent for a single barrel, or three barrels, to be used. Another not uncommon device was two men carrying a barrel suspended from a shoulder-pole.

Bricklayers and Tilers.—A chevron between, in chief, a fleur-de-lis between two brick-axes palewise, and in base a bundle of laths.

Butchers.—Two slaughter-axes addorsed in saltire between three bulls' heads couped, two in fesse and one in base; on a chief a boar's head couped between two block brushes (i.e. two bunches of 'butchers'-broom'). A knife and cleaver, and other signs were also used.

Carpenters.—A chevron (sometimes engrailed) between three pairs of compasses expanded at the points. Clockmakers.—Sable, a clock, or.

Clothworkers or Shearmen.—A chevron ermine between, in chief, two habbicks, and, in base, a teazle slipped.

Coach Makers and Coach Harness Makers.—A chevron between three coaches. Crest, Phoebus drawn in a chariot. Supporters, two horses, armed. Sometimes this crest alone appears, and sometimes a horse caparisoned.

Cooks.—A chevron engrailed between three columbines, stalked and leaved. Or, a chevron between three columbines, pendant.

Coopers.—Gyronny of eight, on a chevron, between three annulets, a grose between two adzes; on a chief three lilies, slipped, stalked, and leaved.

Cordwainers or Shoemakers.—A chevron between three goats' heads erased and attired. It is not unusual for the three goats' heads to be used without shield or chevron, and sometimes a single goat's head is introduced. The public-house sign of the 'Three Goats' Heads,' a 'house of call' for shoemakers, took its origin from these arms.

Cutlers.—Three pairs of swords in saltire, two pairs in chief and one in base. Frequently two swords in saltire is used as the trade device on tokens. Distillers.—A fesse wavy between, in chief, the sun in his splendour encircled with a cloud distilling drops of rain, and, in base, a distillatory [still] double armed, on a fire, with two worms and bolt receivers. Other simpler devices used on tokens are the sun in splendour; a still; or an Indian holding a bow and arrow (being one of the supporters of the company's arms).

Drapers.—Three triple crowns each issuing out of a cloud shedding rays of the sun. Frequently only one triple crown is used on tokens.

Dyers.—A chevron between three madder bags, corded.

Farriers.—Three horseshoes pierced. A single horseshoe was, however, sometimes used on tokens.

Feltmakers.—A dexter hand couped at the wrist between two hatbands, nowed, in chief a hat, banded; or, a hat; or, a hand holding a hat and feather, were adopted.

Fishmongers.—Three dolphins naiant, in pale, finned and ducally crowned, between two pairs of lucies in saltire (the sinister surmounting the dexter), over the nose of each lucy a ducal crown; on a chief three pairs of keys, endorsed, in saltire. Fletchers.—A chevron between three arrows, headed and feathered.

Founders.—A laver pot (or vase) between two prickets (or taper-candlesticks).

Framework Knitters.—On a chevron between, in chief, two combs and as many leads of needles, and, in base, an iron jack springer, a main-spring between two small springs.

Fruiterers.—On a mount, a representation of the Tree of Life (Tree of Paradise) environed with a serpent; on the dexter side thereof a male figure, on the sinister a female (representing Adam and Eve); at the bottom of the tree a rabbit.

Girdlers.—Party per fesse, azure and or, a pale counterchanged, the first charged with three gridirons, the handles in chief, of the second.

Glaziers.—Two grozing irons in saltire between four closing nails; on a chief a lion passant-guardant.

Glovers.—Party per fesse, counterchanged, on each part of the first, two and one, a ram salient, armed, and unguled. The same arms, quartering two goats, statant, affront[=e]e and attired, in fesse, were granted to the Leathersellers' Company as an impalement in 1505.

Goldsmiths.—Quarterly, first and fourth a leopard's face, second and third a covered cup; and in chief two buckles, their tongues fessewise, pointed to the dexter.

Gold and Silver Wire Drawers.—On a chevron between, in chief, two coppers, and, in base, two points in saltire, a drawing iron between two rings.

Grocers.—A chevron between nine cloves, three, three and three. Sometimes seven (three, three, and one) are used. Not unfrequently on tokens three cloves are used as a grocer's trade device, as are also one, two, or three sugar-loaves.

Haberdashers (Anciently called 'Hurrers' and 'Milleners).'—Barry nebulée (or wavy) of six; on a bend, a lion passant-guardant.

Hatters, or Hatter Merchants.—On a chevron between three felt hats with strings, as many escallops. On some tokens a hat, or hat and feather, or cap, alone occurs.

Innholders.—A chevron, quarterly per chevron, and per pale, between three garbs. The crest of this company, a star of sixteen rays, was also a common device on tokens.

Ironmongers.—On a chevron between three steel gads (billets) as many swivels, the middle one palewise, the other two with the line of the chevron.

Joiners or Carpenters.—A chevron (sometimes engrailed) between three pairs of compasses expanded at the points. Or, a chevron between two pairs of compasses extended, in chief, and a sphere in base; on a chief a pale between two roses, the pale charged with an escallop.

Leathersellers.—Three bucks passant reguardant attired and unguled.

Loriners.—A chevron between three curbits and as many bosses.

Masons.—On a chevron (sometimes engrailed) between three castles, a pair of compasses, extended.

Mercers.—A demi-virgin, couped below the shoulders, vested, crowned with an Eastern-crown, her hair dishevelled and wreathed about her temples with roses, issuing from clouds, and all within an orle of the same. This device is sometimes, on tokens, shorn of its clouds, and used without shield.

Merchant Adventurers.—Barry nebulée (or wavy) of six, on a chief quarterly, first and fourth, a lion passant-guardant, second and third two roses in fesse, barbed.

Merchant Tailors (or 'Taylors and Linen Armourers'). A royal tent between two Parliament robes, lined ermine; the tent garnished, with tentstaff and pennon; on a chief a lion passant-guardant.

Merchants of the Staple.—Barry nebulée (or wavy) of six; on a chief, a lion passant-guardant.

Musicians.—A swan with wings expanded, within a double tressure fleury-counter-fleury; a chief charged with on a pale between two lions passant-guardant a rose seeded and barbed.

Needle Makers.—From three crowns in fesse as many needles, pendant.

Painters and Painter-Stainers.—Three escutcheons quarterly with three phoenix' heads, erased.

Parish Clerks.—A fleur-de-lis; on a chief a leopard's head between two song-books (shut), stringed.

Pewterers.—On a chevron between three limbecks, as many roses stalked, leaved, and seeded. Or:—

Pewterers.—On a chevron between three single-handled cups, each containing so many sprigs of lilies, the Virgin accompanied by four cherubs, between two pairs of limbecks.

Pin Makers.—A demi-virgin couped at the waist, mantle turned down ermine, her hair dishevelled, on her head an Eastern crown. Plaisterers.—On a chevron engrailed between, in chief, two plaisterers' hammers, and, in base, a treble flat brush, handle upward, a rose seeded and barbed between two fleurs-de-lis; in chief a trowel fessewise with handle to the sinister.

Plumbers.—On a chevron between, in chief, two plummets and, in base, a level reversed, two soldering irons in saltire between a cutting knife on the dexter and a shave hook on the sinister; in chief a cross-staff fessewise.

Saddlers.—A chevron between three manage saddles complete.

Salters or Drysalters.—Party per chevron, three covered cups sprinkling salt; crest, a cubit arm erect, holding a covered cup, or salt sprinkler.

Scriveners.—An eagle with wings expanded, holding in his beak a penner and inkhorn, standing on a book, closed, fessewise, the clasps downwards.

Shipwrights.—On an antique hulk, the stern terminating with the head of a dragon in the hulk, the Ark with three doors in the side, from the Ark against the side a step-ladder; on a chief the cross of St. George charged on the centre with a lion passant-guardant.

Silkmen.—A ship of three masts in full sail on the sea, in base; on a chief a bale of silk, corded, between two bundles of silk, pendant.

Soapmakers.—A dolphin naiant between three eel spears.

Stationers.—On a chevron between three Bibles fessewise, clasps downwards, garnished and leaved, an eagle, rising, between two roses seeded and barbed; from the chief a demi-circle of glory edged with clouds, therein a dove displayed and nimbed.

Tallowchandlers.—Party per fesse a pale counterchanged; on the first three doves each holding an olive branch. In place of these arms the devices commonly found on tokens issued by tallowchandlers are: a man making candles; a stick of candles; a stick of candles within a crescent moon; one or three doves with olive branch, etc.

Tin Plate Workers and Wireworkers.—A chevron between three lamps, the two in chief (one light each) facing each other, the one in base with two lights, all garnished and illuminated.

Tobacconists.—Usually a roll of tobacco; or one, two, or three pipes; or a combination of pipes and tobacco.

Upholders or Upholsterers.—On a chevron between three tents (without poles) ermine and lined, as many roses.

Vintners.—A chevron between three tuns (barrels).

Watermen.—Barry wavy of six; on the middle bar a boat; on a chief two oars in saltire between two cushions, tasselled.

Wax-Chandlers.—On a chevron between three mortcours as many roses.

Weavers.—On a chevron between three leopards' heads, each holding a shuttle, as many roses, seeded and barbed. On tokens sometimes three leopards' faces alone, without shield, are used.

Woodmongers.—A sword erect, hilted and crowned (or enfiled with a ducal coronet) between two flaunches each charged with a faggot (or bundle of laths). On one token, that of Govin Gouldegay, of Whitefriars, the arms are a chevron between three faggots.


Woolmen or Woolpackers.—A woolpack.

Ale-house and shop-signs were much used as devices on tokens; but, of course, occurring as they do by the hundred, are too numerous to particularize. Sometimes the sign was named in addition to the device, but at others the name or the device was alone used. Thus for instance:—

Obv. WILLIAM WEBB AT THE = Within the inner circle the figure of St. George and the Dragon.

Rev. IN SITTINGBORN, 1670 = Within the inner circle, in three lines, HIS HALF PENY.

Obv. EDMOND HOLT AT THE = Within the inner circle a ship.

Rev. SHIP IN RATCLIFFE, 1668 = Within the inner circle, in four lines, HIS HALFE PENY. E.H.

Arms of cities and towns are found not only on those tokens which were issued by corporations, mayors, or other bodies or officials, but by some tradesmen. Of the first an example or two will be sufficient:—

Obv. THE MAYOR OF = A shield bearing the arms of the city of Oxford; an 'Ox' crossing a 'Ford.'

Rev. OXFORD TOKEN = C.O., 1652. A small R for Rawlins the die sinker.

Obv. A BECCLES FARTHING, 1670. B = In four lines across the coin.

Rev. The arms of Beccles, a cattle pen, and Town Hall.

Obv. A BRISTOLL FARTHING = C.B., 1652, and a small R for Rawlins the die sinker.

Rev. THE ARMES OF BRISTOLL = The arms of Bristol on a shield.

Of family arms, which are occasionally met with on tokens, and also of crests, the following engraved examples will be sufficient to show their general character.

Merchants marks, some of which are curious and of considerable interest, were to some extent used. They were, indeed, of much the same use as the 'Trade Marks' of our own day. Other devices are implements of one kind or other connected with the trade or calling of the issuer; articles of clothing made or sold by him; animals and heraldic figures usually derived from guild arms or from signs; articles of domestic use of endless variety; and ships, boats, coaches, carriages, pack-horses, and numerous other matters connected with the daily life of the people.

Rebusses and allusive designs—that is, devices containing a play upon the name of the issuer—are far from uncommon. Thus James Bolton, of Blackburn, adopted on each side his tokens the device of a bolt and tun; Thomas Towers, of March, a tower; Anthony Rachell, of Wisbech, a 'rachalled' or cogged wheel; Walter Coates, of Stockport, a colt; Francis Woodward, of Crutched Friars, a wood-ward mounted and blowing his horn; William Archer, of Deptford, an archer with bow and arrow; Hannah Bell, of Tooley Street, a bell; Hugh Conny, of Potton, three conies; John Curtis, of Yarmouth, two men curtseying; Robert Hancock, of Whitefriars, a hand and a cock; Ralph Harbottle, of Great Torrington, a hare and a bottle; Robert Thornhill, who kept the 'Bull' inn, a Bull standing under a Thorn tree on a mound or hill; and so on.

Very frequently, and sometimes on the obverse and at others on the reverse, are the initials of the issuer or, more frequently still, those of the issuer and his wife tied together with, or having between them, a 'true lover's knot,' with floral or tasselled terminations. The initials in the latter case are thus arranged
I•K, that of the family name (Malyn) at the top, and those of the Christian name, of the husband (John) and wife (Katherine), at the sides as here engraved from a Duffield token.

On some the issuer has, as will occasionally be met with by the collector, introduced some remarkably quaint inscriptions. Thus on a token of Richard Bakewell, of Derby, 1666, is the curious inscription, GOOD MORROW VALENTINE, the device being two doves billing. On another Derby token, that of William Newcome, we have on the obverse, TOVCH NOT MINE ANOINTED, and on the reverse DOE MY PROPHETS NOE HARME. On one of Samuel Hendon, of Macclesfield,


On one of Thomas Cotton, of Middlewich,


On one of Ann Greene, of Skipton, I WILL EXCHAING MY PENY. Others refer to the use and benefit of tokens alike to the poor and to the traders. Thus on one of Andover, on one side we have, FOR YE POORE'S BENEFIT, and on the other, HELP O' ANDEVER, 1666; on one of Winchcombe, REMEMBER THE POORE; on one of Croyland, THE POORE'S HALFE PENY OF CROYLAND, 1670; Great Yarmouth, FOR THE VSE OF THE POORE; Chard, THE BVRROVGH OF CHARD MADE BY YE PORTREEVE FOR YE POORE; Southwold, FOR THE POORES ADVANTAG; Tamworth, FOR CHANGE AND CHARITIE; Worcester, FOR NECESSARIE CHAING; and so on in very great variety. They were often issued by the Mayor, the Portreeve, the Overseers, the Chamberlain, or other official for public convenience.

The best, indeed only worthy, book on the general subject of seventeenth century tokens is Boyne's, published in 1858, in which close upon ten thousand examples are carefully and minutely described.

Of the more modern tokens—those so abundantly issued during the thirty years preceding 1818—and of the silver tokens of the latter part of that period which, including the Bank Tokens, number some four hundred varieties, I purposely abstain in this little work from giving any particulars.

Of those of silver and gold, Boyne's 'Silver Tokens of Great Britain and Ireland,' etc., published in 1866, is the best and most comprehensive list that has been prepared. Of those of copper, Batty's 'Descriptive Catalogue,' in which some twenty thousand varieties are minutely described, is as exhaustive a list as could well be prepared.

Greek and Roman Coins


The science of Numismatics embraces the study of the coins of all the nations of the earth who have at any period impressed upon pieces of metal—gold, silver, bronze, brass, copper, iron, tin, lead, etc. etc.—any devices (types), or inscriptions, indicating that such pieces of metal were issued by authority for public use as money.

Strictly speaking, the term Numismatics should not therefore be applied to the study of medallions, medals, or counters, whether commemorative, purely artistic, military, scholastic, etc., unless, as is sometimes the case, such medals have been at the same time current as money.

The study of medals is, however, in many respects so nearly allied to Numismatics that it may be and frequently is included in it for convenience sake.

For practical purposes coins may be roughly classified under four principal headings:—

I. Ancient, including { Greek, etc.
{ Roman, etc.
{ Phoenician, etc.
II. Byzantine.
III. Mediaeval  "   { European various.
{ Oriental various.
IV. Modern "     All countries.

Each series may be again subdivided into an enormous number of classes, as will be seen when we come to examine the Greek and Roman series to which the following pages will be devoted.

In the outset a few brief remarks on the uses of a cabinet of antique coins may not be out of place. Of these the first and foremost is the undoubted fact that these 'strange face to face vestiges of vanished aeons' (to use an expression of Carlyle's) bring our minds into immediate contact with the life and history of antiquity as no mere book-study can ever do. Not that we would depreciate the value of a knowledge of history; on the contrary, this is the one study which is all important for a collector of coins. Without it a man may indeed become familiar with the look of ancient coins, and he may gain much practical knowledge of the prices which they usually fetch at sales, but he will never be a true Numismatist. If he possess the artistic sense he may admire them as works of art, but beyond this they will be to him as a sealed book.

Greek Coins


The following extract from the preface to the British Museum 'Guide to the Coins of the Ancients' will give some idea of the uses of Greek Numismatics.

'The chief value of Greek coins lies in their being original works of art, not copies as are most of the extant sculptures in the round, and in their recording the successive phases and local varieties of Greek art, in which respect no other class of monuments, sculptures, bronzes, terracottas, fictile vases, or gems, can compete with them. From the seventh century before the Christian era downwards, and from the farthest east to the extreme west of the ancient civilized world, coins are still extant, in many cases as uninjured as when they first left the dies. The devices or types which they bear, if not by leading artists, certainly faithfully represent the style of the sculpture and even of the painting of the periods to which they belong. Thus in no other branch of Greek monuments can the student so readily and so thoroughly trace the growth, the maturity, and the decay of the plastic art as on coins chronologically arranged.

'For the study of mythology they present the local conceptions of the gods and heroes worshipped in the Greek world, with their attributes and symbols.

'The historian will find a gallery of portraits of sovereigns almost complete, as well as evidences of the history and of the political revolutions of innumerable autonomous states and cities in these all but imperishable records.

'The student of palaeography will find on coins examples of various ancient alphabets, such as Lycian and Cyprian, Phoenician, Greek, Latin, Iberian, etc., in various stages of development.

'The metrologist, by comparing the weights of coins of different localities and periods, may gain an insight into the various systems of ancient metrology in its various standards, and obtain a just view of the relative values of the precious metals, and of the great lines of trade in the Greek and Roman world. For practical purposes the medallist and art workman will find in Greek coins the most profitable as well as the safest guide. The artist will not fail to perceive the suggestive value of designs which, on however small a scale, are essentially large in treatment.'

No one whose means are at all limited should attempt to form a complete collection of Greek coins. Even the vast collection in the British Museum is far from perfect, and in many series is still lamentably deficient.

Any one, however, by limiting his ambition to one particular branch, may hope in course of time to form a cabinet the value of which will increase rapidly in proportion as it approaches completion.

This applies not only to Greek coins but to every class. Thus, for instance, there are collectors of English coins who confine their attention to the Anglo-Saxon period; others who will buy no coins later than the reign of Charles I.; and others, again, who only collect the copper money of the last two centuries.

The young collector who would not drift into unprofitable dilettanteism should therefore select some one series and keep to it, and it is chiefly with the view of assisting him to make his choice of a field to work upon that these pages have been written.

It will be well to form some idea, in the first instance, of the numerous series which are included in the general term of 'Greek coins.'

Greek coins may be divided into three principal sections:—

A. Autonomous, i.e. coins issued by cities governed by their own laws.

B. Regal, i.e. coins struck in the names of kings.

C. Imperial, i.e. coins of Greek cities struck in Roman Imperial times, and with the head of the Emperor on the obverse.

And into eight chronological periods as follows:—

I. B.C. 700-480. Period of Archaic Art, ending with the Persian wars.

II. B.C. 480-430. Period of Transitional Art, between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars.

III. B.C. 430-400. Period of Early Fine Art, to the end of the Athenian supremacy. IV. B.C. 400-336. Period of Finest Art. Age of the Spartan and Theban supremacies. Philip of Macedon.

V. B.C. 336-280. Period of Later Fine Art. Age of Alexander and his immediate successors.

VI. B.C. 280-197. Period of the Decline of Art. Age of the Epigoni or descendants of Alexander's successors.

VII. B.C. 197-27. Period of Late Decline of Art. Age of the Attalids, Mithradates, and of the Roman supremacy.

VIII. B.C. 27—A.D. 268. Period of Latest Decline of Art. The Empire. Augustus—Gallienus.


The coins of the ancients were of various metals, of which the following need only be specified.

1. Gold, distinguished in numismatic works by the abbreviation AU (for aurum).

2. Electrum, a compound of gold and silver. EL.

3. Silver. AR (argentum).

4. Billon and Potin, alloys of silver and bronze. Bil. and Pot.

5. Bronze. Copper with a percentage of tin. AE (aes).


The front or face of a coin is called the obverse. Obv.

The back is called the reverse. Rev.

The principal device or object represented on a coin is called the type.

The area or space between the type and the circumference is called the field.

The lower portion of the area of a coin beneath the type and separated from the rest of the field by a horizontal line is called the exergue. Ex.

Small objects represented either in the field or the exergue as adjuncts to the main type are called symbols.

Portions of a coin which are sunk below the level of the surface are said to be incuse.


The types of Greek coins were from the earliest times down to the age of the successors of Alexander almost exclusively religious. The reason for this is not far to seek. In an age of simple faith the head of a god upon the coin was the best of all guarantees for purity of metal and good weight. The gods were, so to speak, invoked by the State to vouch for the good quality of its currency, in the same way as State decrees often began with the formula 'In the name of the gods.' There is, moreover, some reason to think that the earliest coins were struck within the sacred precincts of the Temple treasuries, as being holy places, secure from plunder and inviolable.

In the most ancient period the principal or obverse type is generally some animal or object sacred to or emblematical of that god whose worship was prevalent in the city in which the coin was issued. Subsequently the head of the deity himself was usually placed upon the obverse of the coin, while the reverse side was occupied by the object emblematical of his worship. Frequently, too, the head of one principal deity appears upon the obverse, and, either the entire figure or the emblem of some other, generally local divinity, on the reverse.

The chief exceptions to the above rule are the so-called agonistic types, or types referring to the games such as the victorious quadriga on the money of various Sicilian cities. These types are commemorative in a general way of victories in the Olympian or other local games, but it is hardly ever possible to refer them to any particular victory.

Victories in war and political revolutions are never directly referred to on Greek coins, although the unintentional records of such events may often be traced in a sudden change of coin-types. Thus, for instance, at Syracuse when the Corinthians succeeded in liberating that city from the tyranny of the Dionysian dynasty, the coinage of Syracuse is for a time assimilated to that of Corinth; a still clearer indication of restored freedom at the same time (B.C. 345) being seen in the first introduction of the head of Zeus 'the Liberator' upon the coins of Syracuse.

All through the history of free and independent Greece, the original idea of the religious character of the coinage may be traced. The coinage was everywhere placed under the auspices of the gods, and gods, heroes, and their emblems, were alone considered worthy to be represented upon it. No tyrant, however despotic, not even the great Dionysius of Syracuse, would have dreamed of placing his own head upon the coinage of the State. Even Philip of Macedon, when he had united in his single hand the whole of Northern Greece, and when he reorganized the coinage of his empire on a new model, placed on his gold money the head of Apollo and on his silver that of Zeus.

It was reserved for the successors of Alexander the Great, when the political centre of the Greek world was no longer to be found in Greece itself, but in the various capitals of the powerful semi-oriental monarchies which arose out of the ruins of the Persian empire—Alexandria, Antioch, etc.—it was reserved for these self-constituted kings and their descendants to substitute their own heads for those of the gods.

Such an innovation as this, such a complete upsetting of the ancient deeply rooted idea of the connection between the gods and the coinage could not be introduced all at once. It had to be effected by degrees. Alexander the Great even in his lifetime gave himself out as the son of Zeus Ammon, and after his death the idea of his divinity gained ground year by year. The first step towards the new fashion of placing the king's head upon the coinage was made by Lysimachus of Thrace, who introduced on his money the portrait of the deified Alexander in the character of the son of Ammon with the ram's horn over the ear.

Ptolemy Soter, king of Egypt, the first of the dynasty which ruled Egypt for two centuries and a half after the death of Alexander, was the first monarch who placed his own head upon his coins. By slow degrees his example was followed, first in Asia and finally in Europe, where Philip V. of Macedon, B.C. 220, was the first king whose portrait in the character of a mortal, and not disguised as a demi-god, appears upon the coinage.

The influence of the old religious beliefs nevertheless maintained so firm a hold on men's minds that the reverses of Greek coins continued to bear sacred types throughout the Roman Imperial period; and even on the money of the Byzantine emperors when Christianity had become the State religion, the figures of Christ and the Virgin, or the sign of the Cross, still bear witness that the same religious sanction in a new form continued to be invoked for the coin of the realm.


Zeus (Jupiter). The head of this god is almost always bearded and crowned with laurel or olive. The youthful head called Zeus Hellenios, on certain coins of Syracuse, is however beardless, and but for the inscription which in this case accompanies it, would be indistinguishable from a head of Apollo.

Zeus Ammon, frequent on coins of Cyrene, is distinguished by the ram's horn behind the ear. This god is sometimes beardless.

The head of the Zeus of Dodona is represented with a wreath of oak-leaves.

The entire figure of Zeus appears in various attitudes, of which the following are of most frequent occurrence:—

Zeus enthroned, holding in one hand a sceptre, and in the other an eagle or a victory.

Zeus standing, with eagle or victory.

Zeus advancing, with aegis on his arm and hurling his thunderbolt.

Zeus Labrandeus on coins of Caria stands full draped, with the double axe (Labrys) over his shoulder and a sceptre in his hand.

Hades (Pluto), the king of the under world, resembles Zeus in type, but is usually accompanied by Cerberus.

Serapis. The great Egyptian divinity of the Ptolemaic age is also very like Zeus, but his head is always surmounted by a lofty modius (a measure for corn), which is often richly ornamented.

Apollo. The head of this god is more commonly met with on coins than that of any other divinity. He is represented in full youthful beauty, generally with flowing hair and almost always crowned with laurel.

His full-length figure is variously delineated, usually naked, with bow or laurel branch in his hand, either standing or seated, often on the Delphian omphalos, or else beside his sacred tripod. When he wears a long robe reaching to the feet, and carries a lyre, he is called Apollo Musegetes, the leader of the Muses.

Helios (Sol). The Sun god is known by the rays which encircle his head. On coins of the Imperial period he is often seen driving the chariot of the Sun.

Poseidon (Neptune). The head of this god much resembles that of Zeus, but may usually be distinguished from it by the absence of the laurel wreath, and by the heavy way in which the dank locks of his hair fall about his neck. Poseidon is sometimes seated on rocks holding a trident and a dolphin or an aplustre.

Sometimes he stands resting on his trident, and sometimes he wields it on high as if about to strike. Occasionally he is seen on horseback armed with his trident. He is called Poseidon Hippios.

Dionysos (Bacchus). The head of Dionysos is either youthful or bearded, and is encircled by a wreath of ivy. His full-length figure is usually naked, or with merely a fawn skin hanging from his shoulder. He holds a wine cup (kantharos), or a bunch of grapes or the Bacchic staff (thyrsus), surmounted by a pine cone.

Sometimes he has bull's horns growing from his forehead, and on coins of Neapolis he appears as a bull with a human head (Dionysos Hebon).

Hermes (Mercury). The head of Hermes is youthful, and wears a hat called a petasus, close fitting, sometimes with a broad flapping brim and adorned with two wings.

When his entire figure is represented, he is usually clad in a short cloak (chlamys), and has winged sandals (pedilia) on his feet.

As the messenger of the gods and the conductor of the souls of the dead, he carries the winged staff (caduceus), and sometimes, as god of trade, a purse. Hephaestus (Vulcan). This god is sometimes young and sometimes bearded. He wears a conical hat (pilos), . On coins of Lipara he is generally seated naked on a four-legged stool, holding a hammer in one hand and a cup (kantharos) in the other. The tongs and the anvil are also emblems of the worship of Hephaestus.

Herakles (Hercules). The head of Herakles, youthful, or bearded , is usually covered with the skin of the Nemean Lion. Occasionally, however, he is simply laureate, and sometimes the club at his shoulder is added as a distinctive symbol. On reverses of coins, Herakles is represented performing his various labours, most frequently contending with the Nemean Lion. Sometimes also he is seen at rest, either standing and leaning upon his club, or seated. The infant Herakles strangling two serpents is a less frequent type.

Pan. The head of Pan has pointed ears, and is either youthful or bearded. Sometimes also he has goat's horns. At his shoulder on many coins appears the shepherd's crook (pedum).

Ares (Mars). The head of Ares is of rare occurrence on coins. He is usually bearded and helmeted, but sometimes young and crowned with laurel like Apollo, and when thus represented, as on the Mamertine coin here engraved, his name was added in order that there might be no mistake as to whose head was intended.

Asklepios (AEsculapius). Representations of the god of healing belong to a comparatively late period of art. He is bearded, amply draped, and leans upon a staff, round which a serpent twines.

He is sometimes accompanied by his daughter Hygieia, the goddess of health, or by a small figure enveloped in a cloak and hood, who is called Telesphorus, and is supposed to be the genius of convalescence.

River Gods. Rivers are represented during the earlier and finer periods of art as rushing bulls or as bulls with human heads, or again as young male figures with bull's horns over the forehead.

In the later period the conventional River god is a bearded reclining figure, generally half-draped, resting upon an overturned vase from which a stream of water is flowing. Less frequently the god is shown as actually swimming in the water.

The Dioscuri (Castor and Pollux) wear conical hats, each surmounted by a star. Sometimes they are seen standing side by side with palm branches in their hands, but they are more often represented on horseback.

Perseus. The head of the hero Perseus, the slayer of the Gorgon Medusa, wears a winged helmet, while at his shoulders is sometimes seen the short sword or knife with a hook at the back of the blade (harba).


Hera (Juno). The head of Hera on coins usually wears a lofty circular crown (stephanos) adorned with floral or other patterns. She also wears sometimes a crescent-shaped crown and a veil, and has often a sceptre at her shoulder.

Pallas Athene (Minerva). The head of this goddess is helmeted. Sometimes the helmet is of the Corinthian pattern and sometimes of the Athenian, often richly ornamented.

She is often seen in a fighting attitude, as Pallas Promachos, wielding a spear and holding before her a shield or aegis. She is also very frequently seated with a victory in her hand and her shield beside her. The shield of Pallas is usually distinguished by the Gorgon's head in the centre. The attributes of this goddess are the owl and the olive.

Demeter (Ceres) and Persephone (Proserpine). These two goddesses are known by the corn wreath which they both wear. Demeter, the mother, is generally veiled; the daughter, Persephone, seldom. The beautiful head on the well-known Syracusan medallions, crowned with corn leaves, is that of Persephone. This goddess often has a poppy either in her hair or at her breast. The torch is a frequent emblem, especially of Demeter.

Artemis (Diana). As the goddess of Nature in her wilder aspects, Artemis carries a bow, and at her shoulder a quiver of arrows. She is often accompanied by a dog or a stag. As the Moon goddess, Selene, the crescent is her symbol. On late coins of Ephesus she appears under a totally different aspect, viz., as the embodiment of the nourishing, life-giving forces of nature, symbolised by her many breasts.

Aphrodite (Venus). On the coins of Eryx, in Sicily, the goddess of love is seated fully draped, with Eros (Cupid) as a youth (not a child, as in Roman art) standing before her, and with a dove in her hand. On Imperial coins of Cnidu, the famous naked Aphrodite by Praxiteles was represented. As the goddess of heaven (Aphrodite Urania), she sits upon the globe, her head surmounted by the morning star, and holding in her hand a sceptre. On the reverse of the same coin are seen the sun, the moon, and the five planets.

Cybele. 'The mother of the gods' wears a turreted crown. Sometimes she rides upon a lion, at other times she is seated on a throne between two lions. The rabbit is also symbolical of her worship, as an earth goddess.

Isis. This Egyptian goddess is recognised by her peculiar head-dress, consisting of a globe or disc flanked by two cow's horns and surmounted by two ostrich feathers. In her hand she often holds the sistrum (a musical instrument). As Isis Pharia (a sea goddess) she holds a sail.

Nike (Victory). This divinity is almost always winged, and often flying. She usually carries a wreath; and on coins of Alexander the Great a sort of mast with a cross-yard (the stand for a trophy of arms). Sometimes she is nailing armour to a trophy.


In addition to the principal type, whether of the obverse or of the reverse, there is generally to be seen on the coins of Greek states a subordinate adjunct device, which occupies some vacant space in the field of the coin. These additions to the main type are of two kinds:—

(1) Symbols connected more or less directly with the main type: such as the sacred olive branch on the coins of Athens, and the club and bow on. (2) Symbols having no connection whatever with the principal type; such as the small animal on.

The symbols of the 1st class are naturally limited in number and more or less constant accompaniments of the main type, to which they were intended to give greater precision and definiteness of meaning. Those of the 2nd class, on the other hand, might be varied very frequently on coins of one and the same series. There can be no doubt that such symbols were the distinctive badges or signets of one of the magistrates or moneyers under whose authority the coinage was issued. The frequency with which these personal symbols were varied corresponds with the duration of the term of office of the magistrate in question, whether annual or other.

On the regal coinages from the time of Philip of Macedon onwards, in cases where a uniform coinage was issued at many mints, an adjunct symbol was very generally placed in the field of the coin as a mint-mark designating the place of issue (e.g. the Trident on. It is frequently impossible to distinguish such local mint-marks from the personal signets of the officer entrusted by the king with the supervision of the currency.


The inscriptions on Greek coins may be divided into the following principal classes:—

  •   (i) The name of the people or state.
  •  (ii) The name of the chief of the state, whether tyrant or king.
  • (iii) The name of a magistrate.
  •  (iv) The name of the engraver of the die.
  •   (v) A legend referring to the type.

The above are written sometimes at full length and sometimes in an abbreviated form, or in the form of a more or less complicated monogram.

Those of class i., when written in full, are usually in the genitive plural

Those of class ii. are also in the genitive

Those of class iii. are either in the nominative

Among the magistrates most frequently mentioned on Greek Imperial coins are the following:— The Archon, the Strategos (Praetor), the Grammateus (Secretary), the Prytanis, the Tamias (Treasurer), the Archiereus and Hiereus (High Priest and Priest), the Asiarch, the Hypatos (Consul), and the Anthypatos (Proconsul), etc., etc.

Those of class iv. are in the genitive, except when accompanied by the verb

Those of class v. are in the nominative

The names of kings hold so conspicuous a position on the reverse of the coins, that it is easy to distinguish them from the names of less important monetary magistrates.

The names of eponymous magistrates, such as archons, etc., also occupy a very prominent place on the money of certain cities; such as Ephesus, for example.

The names of less important functionaries are written in an abbreviated form or even in monogram, in which latter case it is almost always impossible to say what name was intended.

On coins of the later and especially of the Imperial period, the inscriptions are much more lengthy than on those of an earlier date.


The unit of account in Greece was the drachm. The weight of the drachm was not everywhere identical. It ranged, as a rule, between about 55 and 95 grs. troy. For purposes of calculation it may be taken in a general way as the ancient equivalent of our modern shilling or franc.

Of the various standards of weight which prevailed in different parts of the Greek world, the Attic standard was the most widely diffused. The weights of the various denominations, according to this standard, are as follows:—

The Talent = 405,000 grs. troy  } not coined {= 6,000 drachms.
" Mina    (1/60 of the Talent }
 = 6,750 grs. troy)   }
{= 100 drachms.
" Tetradrachm = 270 grs. troy = 4 drachms.
" Didrachm = 135 " " = 2 "
"Drachm =   67•5 " " = 1 "
" Tetrobol =   45 " " = 4 obols.
" Triobol =   33•75 " " = ½ drachm or 3 obols.
" Diobol =   22•5 " " = 2 obols.
" Trihemiobol =   16•8 " " = 1½ obols.
" Obol =   11•25 " " = 1 obol.
" Hemiobol =     5•62 " " = ½   "
" Tetartemorion =     2•81 " " = ¼   "

The other standards are the AEginetic (drachm 97 grs.); the Phoenician (drachm 56 grs.); the Rhodian (drachm 60 grs.); the Persian (drachm 88 grs.). The other denominations of the above standards may be easily got at by multiplying or dividing the drachms as in the Attic standard.

Larger denominations than the tetradrachm are rare, but octadrachms, decadrachms, etc., etc., occur at some towns. The unit in copper was called the chalkous; but its weight does not appear to have been definitely fixed like that of the silver drachm.

The Attic gold money was regulated according to the same standard of weight as the silver. The gold unit of account was, however, not the drachm, but the stater, as it was called, equivalent in weight to the didrachm, and in value to 20 drachms of silver.

As a rule, the denomination of a Greek coin can only be determined by weighing it. Marks of value occur, however, on the copper of Italy, Sicily, etc.; but these coins follow a system foreign to Greece proper (see below).


Greek coins are classified in all great collections in geographical order, as follows:—The towns under each province should be arranged alphabetically, for convenience of reference. We have only space here to mention a few of the principal cities:—

Provinces. Cities, Islands, Tribes, Kings, etc.
  Lusitania Emerita.
  Baetica Cartiea, Gades.
  Tarraconensis Emporiae, Osca, Rhoda, etc.
  Aquitania Arverni.
  Narbonensis Massilia, Nemausus.
  Lugdunensis Lugdunum.
Britain. Atrebates, etc., Camulodunum.
  Etruria Populonia.
  Umbria Tuder.
  Picenum Hatria.
  Latium Roma.
  Samnium Beneventum.
  Frentani Larinum.
  Campania Capua, Cumae, Neapolis, Nola.
  Apulia Arpi, Caelia, Teate, Venusia.
  Calabria Brundusium, Tarentum.
  Lucania Metapotum, Posidonia, Thurium, Velia.
  Bruttii Croton, Locri, Rhegium, Terina.
Sicily. Agrigentum, Camarina, Gela, Himera, Leontini, Messana, Naxos, Segesta, Selinus, and Syracuse.
  Kings, etc., of Agathocles, Hicetas, Hiero II., Philistis, Gelo, Hieronymus.
  Siculo-Punic Solus, Motya, Panormus.
  Islands of Sicily Lipara, Sardinia.
Tauric Chersonese Panticapaeum.
Sarmatia Olbia, Tyra.
Moesia SuperiorViminacium.
Moesia Inferior Istrus, Marcianopolis, Nicopolis, Tomi.
ThraceAbdera, AEnus, Byzantium, Maronea, Perinthus, Philippopolis.
Thracian Chersonese Cardia, Coela, Lysimachia.
 Kings of Thrace Seuthes, etc., Rhoemetalces, etc.
 Islands of Thrace Imbros, Lemnos, Samothrace, Thasos.
Paeonia,  Kings Lycceius, Patraus, Audoleon.
Macedon,  Cities Acanthus, Amphipolis, Chalcidice, Lete, Neapolis, Pella, Philippi, Pydna, Thessalonica.
 Tribes Bisaltae, Orrescii.
 Kings of Alexander I., Perdiccas II., Archelaus I., Amyntas III., Philip II., Alexander the Great, Philip III., Cassander, Lysimachus, Demetrius I., Antigonus I. and II., Philip V., Perseus.
Thessaly AEnianes, Crannon, Larissa, Pharsalus, Pherae.
Illyricum Apollonia, Dyrrachium.
Epirus Cassope, Damastium, Nicopolis.
 Island of Corcyra.
 Kings of Alexander I., Pyrrhus.
Acarnania OEiadae, Thyrreum.
 Island of Leucas.
AEtoliaFederal coins.
LocrisOpus, Amphissa.
Boeotia Coronea, Haliartus, Orchomenus, Tanagra, Thebes, Thespiae.
AtticaAthens, Eleusis.
 Islands of Euboea (with its towns, Chalcis, Carystus, Eretria, Histiaea), Salamis.
Achaea AEgium, etc., Corinth, Patrae, Phlius, Sicyon.
Elis Elis.
 Islands of Elis Cephallenia, Zacynthus.
ArgolisArgos, Epidaurus, Troezen.
Arcadia Heraea, Megalopolis, Pheneus, Stymphalus.
Crete Cnossus, Gortyna, Hierapytna, Phaestus.
AEgean Islands Ceos, Naxos, Siphnos, Syros, Tenos, etc.
Provinces. Cities, Islands, Tribes, Kings, etc.
PontusAmisus, Amasia, Trapezus.
 Kings of Pontus and Bosporus Mithradates IV., Pharnaces I., Mithradates VI. the Great, etc.
PaphlagoniaAmastris, Sinope.
Bithynia Chalcedon, Cius, Heraclea (Timotheus, Dionysius, Amastris).
 Kings of Nicomedes I., II., and III., Prusias I., II.
Mysia Cyzicus, Lampsacus, Pergamus.
 Kings of Pergamus Philetaerus, the Attalids.
Troas Abydos, Alexandria, Troas, Ilium, Scepsis.
 Island of Troas Tenedos.
AEolis Cyme, Myrina, Temnos.
 Islands of AEolis Lesbos (Methymna, Mytilene).
Ionia Clazomenae, Colophon, Ephesus, Erythrae, Magnesia, Miletus, Smyrna.
 Islands of Ionia Chios, Samos.
Caria Cnidus, Halicarnassus, Stratonicaea.
 Kings of Caria Hecatomnus, Mausolus, Hidrieus, Pixodarus.
 Islands of Caria Calymna, Cos, Rhodes Ialysus, Camirus, Lindus.
Lycia Cragus, Myra, Patara, Phaselis, etc.
Pamphylia Aspendus, Perga, Side.
Pisidia Antiochia, Sagalassus, Selge.
Isauria and Lycaonia Iconium, etc.
Cilicia Celenderis, Mallus, Soli, Tarsus, etc.
Cyprus Paphos, Salamis.
 Kings of Cyprus Baalmelek, Azbaal, Evagoras, Nicocles, etc.
Lydia Sardes, Tralles, etc.
Phrygia Apamea, Cibyra, etc.
Galatia Ancyra, Pessinus, etc.
 Kings of Galatia Amyntas, etc.
Cappadocia Caesarea, etc.
 Kings of Cappadocia Ariarathes, Ariobarzanes, etc.
Armenia, Kings of Tigranes, Artavazdes, etc.
Syria, Kings of Seleucus I. (Nicator), Antiochus I. (Soter), Antiochus III. (the Great), etc., etc.
Commagene Samosata, Zeugma.
Cyrrhestica Beroea, Hierapolis.
Chalcidene Chalcis.
Seleucis and Pieria Antioch.
Coele-Syria Damascus, Heliopolis, Laodicea ad Libanum.
Trachonitis with Ituraea Caesarea-Paneas.
Decapolis Canatha, Gadara, Philadelphia, etc.
Phoenice Byblus, Marathus, Sidon, Tyre.
  Island of Aradus.
Galilaea Ace (Ptolemais), Sepphoris (Diocaesarea), Tiberias.
Samaria Caesarea, Joppa, Sebaste.
Judaea AElia Capitolina (Jerusalem), Ascalon, etc.
  Judaea, Kings of Simon Maccabaeus, Alexander Jannaeus, Herod the Great, Agrippa, etc., etc.
Arabia Bostra, Philippopolis.
Mesopotamia Carrhae, Edessa (Kings—Mannus, Abgarus, etc.)
Babylonia, King of Timarchus.
Assyria Niniva (Claudiopolis).
Parthia, Kings of Arsaces I. and his Successors.
Persia, Kings of Darius, the son of Hystaspes, Xerxes, Artaxerxes, etc.
Bactriana and
Kings of
Sophytes, Diodotus, Euthydemus.
Demetrius, Eucratides, Heliocles, Euthydemus II., Pantaleon, Agathocles, Antimachus, etc., etc.
   Kings of
Tiraeus, Artabazes, Attambilus, etc.
Provinces. Cities, Islands, Tribes, Kings, etc.
Egypt, The Ptolemaic Kings of. Ptolemy I. (Soter),—Ptolemy XIII. and, Cleopatra.
 Alexandria, Imperial M. Antony,—Galerius.
     The Nomes.
Cyrenaica Cyrene, Barca.
Syrtica Leptis Magna, Oea.
Byzacene Hadrumetum, etc.
Zeugitana Carthage, Utica, etc.
Numidia, Kings of Jugurtha, etc.
Mauretania Bocchus I., Juba II., etc.

The above list, although an outline of the barest description, may serve to give some idea of the ground which is covered by a collection of Greek and cognate coins.

It will also serve to warn the young collector against buying in a miscellaneous manner.

Let him take up some particular province; say, for example, Sicily, in which there were some fifty towns which struck coins. He will soon find that the numismatics of these fifty towns will be a field for study which will amply reward him for the labour he bestows upon it.


The prices which Greek coins fetch at sales depend upon their rarity, their state of preservation, and their size, not much upon the artistic or the historical interest, or upon the metal of which they are composed. Thus, a gold coin of Alexander the Great, being common, may be obtained almost at metal value, while a rare copper coin of some obscure town in the heart of Phrygia may cost almost as many pounds as the gold coin of Alexander does shillings.

Roman Coins


The coins of ancient Rome are not artistically as interesting as those of Greece. They are, however, most useful for all who desire to become acquainted with the history and institutions of the eternal city.

They may be divided into the following classes:—

Coins of the Republic.

I. Heavy Bronze coins cast in a mould, AEs Grave. II. The so-called Consular or Family series, consisting of silver and bronze struck coins, together with a few gold pieces.

Coins of the Empire.

III. Gold and silver, struck by the authority of the Emperor.

IV. Bronze (commonly called Large, Middle, and Small Brass), struck by authority of the Senate, and distinguishable by the letters S. C. (Senatus-Consulto).

V. Imperial medallions in all metals, not intended to circulate as money.


(1) The aes grave was the earliest money used in Rome and throughout the central and northern parts of the Italian peninsula. It consisted of the As (or unit) and its divisions and multiples, as follows:—

As. Obv. Head of Janus; Rev. Prow of ship. Mark of value I
Semis (1/2 As). Obv. Hd. of Jupiter "" S
Triens (1/3 As).   "     "         Pallas " " ....
Quadrans (1/4 As). Obv. Head of Hercules " " ...
Sextans (1/6 As).    "      "          Mercury " " ..
Uncia (1/12 As).    "      "          Roma " " .


Dupondius (2 Asses). O. Hd. of Pallas; R. Prow of ship. Mark of value II
Tripondius (3 Asses). " " " III
Decussis (10 Asses). O. Head of Roma. " " X

The above types are those of the coins of Rome itself. The aes grave of the other Italian states had different types.

The As first issued in Rome is said to have weighed one pound, hence it was called the As Libralis. The earliest known specimens of the Libral series date from about B.C. 400. As time went on, it was gradually reduced in weight, at first to 4 ounces, about B.C. 268 (Triental Reduction), and subsequently, B.C. 217, to 1 ounce (Uncial Reduction), and somewhat later even to ½ an ounce.


(2) Silver money was first struck in Rome about B.C. 268. It consisted of the following denominations:—

The Denarius (= 10 Asses). Obv. Head of Roma;
Rev. The Dioscuri.
Mark of value X
The Quinarius (= 5 Asses). Similar types " V or Q
The Sestertius (= 2½ Asses). " " IIS

Afterwards another denomination called the Victoriatus was added: Obv. Head of Jupiter; Rev. Victory crowning a trophy. This was a coin of Campanian origin, and its value was ¾ of the denarius. The types of the silver money, at first constant and uniform, were subsequently varied according to the pleasure of the officers entrusted with the supervision of the coinage. The types of the Roman denarii of the last century of the Republic generally contain allusions to past (but never or very rarely to contemporary) events connected with the family of the moneyer. Hence such pieces may be called Family coins, but to give this name to the whole series of Republican denarii is incorrect.

At first it is supposed that the direction of the Roman mint was entrusted to the Consuls themselves, but it was not long before special magistrates were appointed from time to time to superintend the currency. These Triumviri or Tresviri Monetales were officially designated as Tresviri auro argento aere flando feriundo, a title abbreviated on some coins to IIIVIR. A. A. A. F. F. The adjective Monetalis referred to the temple of Juno Moneta, in which the mint was situated, and from this epithet of Juno our modern word 'Money' is derived.

It is usual, though not strictly scientific, to arrange a cabinet of Roman Republican denarii under the family names of the moneyers, in alphabetical order. As the family name does not always occur upon the coin, the following table of surnames and of the families to which they belong will be found useful to the young collector in arranging his coins.

Surname. Family.
Acisculus Valeria.
Agrippa Luria.
" Vipsania.
Ahala Servilia.
Ahenobarbus Domitia.
Albinus Postumia.
Antiaticus Maenia.
Aquinus Caecilia.
Asiagenes Cornelia.
Atratinus Sempronia.
Augurinus Minucia.
Bala AElia.
Balbus Acilia.
" Antonia.
" Atia.
" Cornelia.
" Naevia.
" Thoria.
Bassus Betiliena.
Bibulus Calpurnia.
Blandus Rubellia.
Blasio Cornelia.
Brocchus Furia.
Brutus Junia.
Buca AEmilia.
Bursio Julia.
Caeicianus Cassia.
Caepio Servilia.
Caesar Julia.
Caldus Coeia.
Capella Naevia.
Capito Fonteia.
" Maria.
" Oppia.
Capitolinus Petillia.
Carbo Papiria.
Casca Servilia.
Cato Porcia.
Catullus Valeria.
Celer Cassia.
Celsus Papia.
Censorinus Marcia.
Cerco Lutatia.
Cestianus Plaetoria.
Cethegus Cornelia.
Chilo, Cilo Flaminia.
Cinna Cornelia.
Cocles Horatia.
Cordus Mucia.
Cossus Cornelia.
Costa Pedania.
Cotta Aurelia.
Crassipes Furia.
Crassus Licinia.
" Canidia.
Crispinus Quinctia.
Croto Metilia.
Dossenus Rubria.
Fabatus Roscia.
Faustus Cornelia.
Felix Cornelia.
Flaccus Rutilia.
" Valeria.
Flavius Decimia.
Florus Aquillia.
Fostulus Pompeia.
Frugi Calpurnia.
Gal[eria] Memmia.
Galba Sulpicia.
Gallus Asinia.
" Caninia.
Geminus Aburia.
Geta Hosidia.
Grag[ulus] Antestia.
Gracchus Sempronia.
Hemic... Flavia.
Hypsaeus Plautia.
Judex Vettia.
Junianus Licinia.
Kalenus Fufia.
Labeo Fabia.
Labienus Atia?
Laeca Porcia.
Lamia AElia.
Lariscolus Accoleia.
Lentulus Cornelia.
Lepidus AEmilia.
Libo Marcia.
" Scribonia.
Licinus Porcia.
Limetanus Mamilia.
Longinus Cassia.
Longus Mussidia.
Lucanus Terentia.
Lupercus Gallia.
Macer Licinia.
" Sepullia.
Magnus Pompeia.
Malleolus Poblicia.
Marcellinus Cornelia.
Marcellus Claudia.
Maridianus Cossutia.
Maximus Egnatia.
" Fabia.
Mensor Farsuleia.
Messalia Valeria.
Metullus Caecilia.
Molo Pomponia.
Murcus Statia.
Murena Licinia.
Mus Decia.
Musa Pomponia.
Naso Axia.
Natta Pinaria.
Nerva Cocceia.
" Licinia.
" Silia.
Nomentanus Atilia.
Nonianus Considia.
Otho Salvia.
Paetus AElia.
" Considia.
Palikanus Lollia.
Pansa Vibia.
Paullus AEmilia.
Philippus Marcia.
Philus Furia.
Pictor Fabia.
Piso Calpurnia.
Pitio Sempronia.
Pius Caecilia.
" Pompeia.
Plancus Munatia.
" Plautia.
Platorinus Sulpicia.
Pulcher Claudia.
Purpureo Fabia.
Quinctilianus Nonia.
Reginus Antistia.
Regulus Livineia.
Restio Antia.
Rocus Creperia.
Rufus Aurelia.
" Cordia.
" Lucilia.
" Mescinia.
" Minucia.
" Plotia.
" Pompeia.
" Pomponia.
" Sulpicia.
Rullus Servilia.
Rus[ticus] Aufidia.
Sabinus Minatia.
" Tituria.
" Vettia.
Sabula Cossutia.
Salinator Oppia
Saranus Atilia.
Saserna Hostilia.
Saturninus Appuleia.
Saxula Clovia.
Scaeva Junia.
Scarpus Pinaria.
Scaurus AEmilia.
" Aurelia.
Scipio Cornelia.
Secundus Arria.
Ser ... Manlia.
Silanus Junia.
Silianus Licinia.
Silus Sergia.
Sisenna Cornelia.
Spinther Cornelia.
Stolo Licinia.
Strabo Volteia.
Sufenas Nonia.
Sulla Cornelia.
Sulpicianus Quinctia.
Surdinus Naevia.
Talna Juventia.
Tampilus Baebia.
Taurus Statilia.
Thermus Minucia.
Tod.. ...
Torquatus Manlia.
Trigeminus Curiatia.
Trio Lucretia.
Trogus Maria.
Tubulus Hostilia.
Tullus Maecilia.
Turdus Papiria.
Turpilianus Petronia.
Unimanus Claudia.
Vaala Numonia.
Varro Terentia.
Varus Vibia.
Vetus Antistia.
Vitulus Voconia.
Volusus Valeria.


(3 and 4.) Imperial coins. The Imperial series may be said to commence in B.C. 2, when Augustus was made Pater Patriae. From this time forward the names of the moneyers cease to appear on the coinage.

The portrait of the emperor, or of some member of the Imperial family, now almost always occupies the obverse of the coin. The reverse type is, as a general rule, some allegorical figure, such as Spes, Justitia, Salus, Pietas, etc., etc., or the representation of some one of the many provinces of the empire, e.g. Britannia, Judaea, etc., or again some military subject, e.g. legionary standards, or the emperor addressing his soldiers, together with a great variety of types, to mention which would occupy far more space than we have here at our disposal.

The inscriptions on the Imperial coins contain in an abbreviated form the date of their issue, calculated by the number of times which the Tribunitia Potestas, or Tribunitian power, had been conferred upon the emperor. This office was renewed annually on the first day of January. The formula is TR. POT. or TR. P., followed by a numeral, as, on a coin of Trajan, TR. P. XX. COS. VI. IMP. XI. This means that the coin was struck when the emperor was in the possession of the Tribunitian power for the 20th time, of the consulship for the 6th time, and of the Imperatorship for the 11th time. Now, as Trajan had the Tribunitian power for the first time in A.D. 98, we get the date A.D. 116 for the coin in question. The other offices mentioned were not annual.

The following is a list of the Roman emperors, and other members of the Imperial families, arranged in the order in which it is usual to classify their coins, which is, as far as possible, chronological:—

Livia or Julia, wife of Augustus Agrippa
B.C. 27-A.D. 14
Tiberius 14-37
Caius and Lucius 
Drusus senior 
Drusus junior 
Agrippina, wife of Germanicus 
Nero & Drusus, sons       " 
Caligula 37-41
Claudius 41-54
Agrippina, w. of Claudius 
Nero 54-68
Galba 68-69
Otho 69
Vitellius 69
Vespasian 69-79
Domitilla, w. of Vespasian 
Domitilla, daughter of Vespasian 
Titus 79-81
Julia, daughter of Titus 
Domitian 81-96
Domitia, wife of Domitian 
Nerva 96-98
Trajan 98-117
Plotina, wife of Trajan 
Marciana, sister of Trajan 
Matidia, daughter of Marciana 
Hadrian 117-138
Sabina, wife of Hadrian 
AElius, adopted by Hadrian 
Antoninus Pius 138-161
Faustina I., w. of Ant. Pius. 
M. Aurelius 161-180
Faustina II., w. of M. Aurelius 
L. Verus 161-169
Lucilla, w. of L. Verus 
Commodus 180-192
Crispina, w. of Commodus 
Pertinax 193
Didius Julianus 193
Manlia Scantilla, w. of Did. Julian.  
Pescennius Niger 194
Clodius Albinus (in Britain) 193-197
Septimius Severus 193-211
Julia Domna, w. of S. Severus 
M. Aurel. Antoninus (Caracalla) 211-217
Plautilla, w. of Caracalla 
Geta, brother of Caracalla 211-212
Macrinus 217
Diadumenian, son of Macrinus 
M. Aurel. Antoninus (Elagabalus) 218-222
Julia Paula, w. of Elagabalus 
Aquillia Severa, w. of Elagabalus 
Annia Faustina, w. of Elagabalus 
Julia Soaemias, mother of Elagabalus 
Julia Maesa, grandmother of Elagabalus 
M. Aurel. Severus Alexander 222-235
Barbia Orbiana, w. of Sev. Alex. 
Julia Mamaea, mother of Sev. Alex. 
Uranius Sulpicius Antoninus (in the East) 
Maximinus I. 235-238
Paulina, w. of Maximinus 
Maximus, son of Maximinus 
Gordian I. 238
Gordian II. 238
Balbinus 238
Pupienus 238
Gordian III. Pius 238-244
Tranquillina, w. of Gordian III. 
Philip I. 244-249
Otacilia, w. of Philip I. 
Philip II., son of Philip I. 244-249
Trajan Decius 249-251
Herennia Etruscilla, w. of Traj. Decius 
Herennius Etruscus, son of Traj. Decius 251
Hostilianus, son of Traj. Decius 251
Trebonianus Gallus 251-254
Volusianus, son of Treb. Gallus 
AEmilianus 253-254
Cornelia Supera, w. of AEmilian. 
Valerianus I. 253-260
Mariniana, w. of Valerian I. 
Gallienus 253-268
Salonina, w. of Gallienus 
Saloninus, son of Gallienus 
Claudius II., Gothicus 268-270
Quintillus, brother of Claudius II. 
Aurelianus 270-275
Severina, w. of Aurelianus 
Postumus (in Gaul) 258-267
Postumus II., son of Postum. 
Laelianus (in Gaul) 
Victorinus I. (in Gaul) 265-267
Marius (in Gaul) 267
Tetricus I. (in Gaul) 267-273
Tetricus II., son of Tetric. I. 
Macrianus I. (in the East) 260-262
Macrianus II., son of Macrianus I. 
Quietus, son of Macrianus I. 260-262
Tacitus 275-276
Florianus 276
Probus 276-282
Carus 282-283
Carinus 283-285
Magnia Urbica, w. of Carinus 
Nigrinianus, son of Carinus 
Numerianus 283-284
Diocletianus 284-305
Maximianus I., Hercules 286-305
Carausius (in Britain) 287-293
Allectus 293-296
Domitius Domitianus (in Egypt) 
Constantius I., Chlorus 305-306
Maximianus II. 305-311
Valeria, w. of Maximian. II. 
Severus II. 306-307
Maximinus II. (Daza) 308-313
Maxentius 306-312
Romulus, son of Maxentius 
Licinius I. 307-323
Licinius II., son of Licinius I. 
Martinianus 323
Constantinus I., the Great 306-337
Fausta, w. of Constantine 
Crispus, son of Constantine 
Helena, mother of Constant. 
Delmatius, nephew of Constantine 
Hanniballianus, brother of Delmatius 
Constantinus II. 337-340
Constans 337-350
Magnentius (in Gaul) 350-353
Decentius, brother of Magnentius 
Nepotianus 350
Vetranio 350-356
Constantius II. 337-361
Constantius Gallus 
Julian II. (The Apostate) 361-363
Jovianus 363-364
Valentinian I. 364-375
Valens 364-378
Procopius (in the East) 365-366
Gratianus 375-383
Maximus II. (Britain and Gaul) 383-388
Victor, son of Maximus II. 
Valentinian II. 375-392
Theodosius I., the Great 379-395
Flaccilla, w. of Theodosius 
Eugenius (in Gaul) 392-394
Honorius 395-423

The above list is not quite complete, even as far as it goes, but it includes the names of all the emperors whose coins are at all likely to be met with by the young collector.

The series of the large brass coins, which is more interesting than the others, ceases after the reign of Postumus.


(5) Imperial medallions. As illustrations of the life and religion of the Romans under the Empire, as well as of the history of the times, no numismatic monuments which have come down to us can compete with the large bronze medallions. They are to be distinguished from the current large brass coins by the absence of the letters s.c. (senatus consulto), as well as usually by their larger size, higher relief, and finer work. As, however, the prices fetched by good medallions are, as a rule, very high, they are practically out of the reach of the collector of moderate means.


The young collector will not be long before he learns that a large number of the coins exposed for sale in shop windows are false, and at first he may be a little discouraged by finding that he is himself quite unable to discriminate between a true coin and a false one. But let him not despair. He will in time, by careful observation of undoubtedly authentic specimens of the class which he has selected for study, gain a kind of instinct which will enable him to detect the modern imitation at a glance, even though he may not always be able to explain his reasons to the uninitiated.

False coins may be divided into the following classes:—

I. Forgeries struck from false modern dies. Such forgeries, when the dies have been well executed by men familiar with the characteristic peculiarities of ancient work, are often exceedingly difficult to detect, especially when they are of gold. The true ancient patina and oxide which time alone gives to bronze and silver, cannot be exactly imitated.

A few hints may be of use in the detection of false struck coins.

The weight, owing to the ignorance of the forger, is generally incorrect.

The style of the art is weak, and the forms of the letters especially are timid and wanting in firmness.

II. Modern casts made from ancient struck originals. A cast coin, when in gold or silver, may always be detected by its light weight, unless this has been compensated for by making the cast thicker than the original. The lettering and the types on cast coins are also less sharply defined than on struck coins, and the surface has either a soft and soapy appearance, or else it is covered with minute sand-holes, an infallible indication of rough casting. The genuine patina of bronze coins is imitated by paint, which can be removed by spirits of wine.

III. Electrotypes. These are of necessity of wrong weight. They may also be known by the edges, where the mark of joining of the two sides separately made and then stuck together, is never concealed, unless, which is seldom the case, the electrotype is intended to deceive. Many students who cannot afford to buy originals of rare coins, supply their places by electrotypes, which, as they are exact facsimiles, do not spoil the eye, as too much familiarity with false coins undoubtedly does. Electrotypes may generally be split in two with a strong knife.

IV. Original coins which have been altered with a graving tool may be classed as forgeries, and should be avoided, as there is no telling to what extent they may have been 'restored.'


Coins should be kept under lock and key in a mahogany cabinet. Trays made of cedar should never be used, as there is a deposit from this wood which covers the surface of copper and lead coins with a kind of varnish which is difficult to remove. In arranging coins in the trays, begin at the left hand top corner, placing the coins in rows, one in each hole. Under every coin there should be a descriptive card or a number referring to a catalogue, in which the price paid for every specimen should be carefully recorded, as well as the name of the persons from whom it was acquired. A coin from a well-known cabinet will always fetch more when sold than an equally fine specimen of which the antecedents are unknown.

Barclay V. Head.

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