The Introduction & Development of the Groat in Medieval England, Henry VI. Part III

by Ivan Buck

Introduction.. Production - London v Calais.. Masters of the Mint.. Assay Masters.. Cuneator.. The Duties of Engravers.. Keeper of the Dies.. Mint Mark v Privy Mark.. The Groats - Classes and Sub Classes..

Groats from The London Mint Annulet Issue 1422-27 Rosette Mascle Issue 1427-30 Pinecone Mascle Issue 1430-34 Leaf Mascle Issue 1434-35 Leaf Trefoil Issue 1435-38 Trefoil Issue 1438-43 Trefoil Pellet Issue 1443-45 Leaf Pellet Issue 1445-1454 Unmarked Issue 1453-54 Cross Pellet Issue 1454-60 Lis Pellet Issue 1456-60

Groats from The Calais Mint Annulet Issue 1422-27 Annulet Trefoil Sub Issue 1422-27 Rosette Mascle Issue 1427-30 Pinecone Mascle Issue 1430-34 Leaf Mascle Issue 1434-35 Leaf Trefoil Issue 1435-38 Trefoil Issue 1438-43

Groats from The York Mint

This article first appeared in Coins & Antiquities Feb.1999 Vol.4 & is reproduced with the kind permission of Ivan Buck and Greenlight Publishing Ltd. Ivan and I (Mike Vosper) are numismatic colleagues and as some of you may be aware we attend numismatic shows, fairs and societies together. As you will see from the article below, Ivan and I would be interested in receiving any correspondence from you regarding Groats or any other numismatic related subjects.

As mentioned in Part 2 of this series (Coins & Antiquities, December 1998 issue) Henry VI was only an infant of ,eight months when he came to the throne upon the death of his father Henry V in 1422. So when Charles VI of France also died shortly afterwards, Henry ruled both in London and Paris. However, the government of France was put in the hands of Henry V's brother John, Duke of Bedford who acted as Regent. He was based in his castle at Rouen called "Joyeux Repos".

Henry was destined to grow up subject to considerable attacks of mental illness. Nevertheless he eventually married Margaret of Anjou, and it is not surprising that she tended to influence many of his decisions.

At this time England held Normandy, Gascony and Champagne and certainly had a strong foothold at Calais. In 1423 the Duke of Bedford signed the Treaty of Amiens with the Duke of Burgundy in an attempt to confirm Henry's position in France and even secured the hand of Burgundy's sister in marriage.

The year 1429 saw Joan of Arc on the scene to relieve Orleans; this heralded the decline of English fortunes in France over the next few years. Joan of Arc was eventually sold to the English by the Burgundians and had the misfortune to be burned at the stake after a trial for heresy.

The only French possession retained by England, and this remained so for a further one hundred years, was Calais. During the early part of Henry's reign the mint at Calais was most prolific, indeed in many cases much more so than the mint at London.

Production - London v Calais..Ruding says that contemporary mint accounts accounts indicate that for the tenth year of the reign Henry V (and he was only on the throne for ten years) to the end of Henry Vl's reign, 39,166 pounds weight of silver was coined at the London mint whilst 183,588 pounds weight of silver was coined at Calais. This is a ratio of nearly five to one. It is further recorded that over 60,000 pounds weight of the Calais silver was issued for currency during the Annulet issue period, which is confirmed by the vast quantities of this coinage available and the large numbers found in the Reigate Hoard.

To get an idea of the charges and rewards of running the mint at this time it is best to look at Dr. Challis and his
New History of the Royal Mint. If we refer to Appendix 2 under the date 16 February 1423 we find: Mint; Tower, York, Bristol, Calais; and an indenture with Bartholomew Goldbeter, master worker. Under denominations we find gold nobles weighing 108 grains and valued at six shillings and eight pence, together with the fractions. The silver groat or fourpence still weighed 60 grains and was complete with its fractions.

The fineness and value is given as follows: gold 23 carat 3.5 grains with £16. 13s. 4d. per pound Tower. The silver was 11 oz 2 dwt with 30 shillings being struck per Tower pound.

The coinage charges were for gold 5 shillings per pound, of which 1 shilling and 6 pence was to be paid to the master worker, and 3 shillings and 6 pence to be accounted for by the warden.

As for silver, it was 8 pence by weight per pound (i.e. 12 pence by tale) of which 9 pence was to be paid to the master worker and 3 pence accounted for by the warden.

Remedies at the shear and assay: Gold one sixteenth carat per pound and silver 2 dwt per pound. Provision for Privy Mark and
for Pyx Trial.

More information will be provided on mintmarks, initial marks and privy marks later.

If we now turn again to Ruding we are able to build up an idea of the major officials and their duties at the mint during the period under review. It is true that records are not complete, but sufficient information is available for our purposes.

Masters of the Mint..During the first nine or ten years of Henry VI's reign Bartholomew Goldbeter, of whom we have already heard, held the position of Master of the Mint. He was followed by William Russe (or Rus) who was responsible from 1431 to 1434, and had charge of the same four mints as Goldbeter.
Next was John Paddesley from 1434 to 1445. Then in 1445 came Robert Manfeld who was, in fact, a royal official (civil servant) and not a goldsmith. By this time Manfeld had only the Tower and Calais mints to control. The year 1459 saw Sir Richard Tunstall at the helm and then Robert, Bishop of Ross.

Assay Masters..For the first eight years John Derlyngton was aided by Thomas Roderham at York, and Jacob Shaft at Calais. They were then followed by John Tyse, John Hexham, Henry Ragley, Giles Seyntlowe in Calais, John Amanyn of Bourdeloys - master de la Touche at Bordeaux, Henry Ragley, Thomas Thorpe, Giles Seyntlowe (again), William Wever, Richard Joynour and for the last few years Humphrey Joynour.

Cuneator.. This position is a little obscure but it seems that the position was hereditary. Engravers and formers of the dies were appointed by the cuneator and were under his control. It was probably his duty to see that all dies, including those in the Tower as well as those issued from there to subordinate mints, were of the same type. (Madox's History of the Exchequer Vol. 11).

The Duties of Engravers..The Engravers were to make dies only in the Tower and nowhere else. They were to return monthly any faulty dies to the Clerk of the Irons, to be defaced in the presence of the warden, master and comptroller and not otherwise.

From the St. Edmundsbury Register, it appears that this was expressly the duty of the cuneator, without any reference to the officers above mentioned.

During the first nine years or so of Henry's reign the engraver was Glibert Brandeburgh, or Guysbryght van Brondeburgh. Reference to the Mint accounts in the Exchequer say that he was appointed as letters patent, sculptor of the dies, of gold and silver, within the Tower of London where he was to reside. A house was assigned to him, having a stipend of 20 shillings per annum. For the next 10 years the position was held by John Orewell. He was followed by William Wodeward and German Lynch, who was master of the mint in Ireland and graver of the puncheons.

Keeper of the Dies..When the engraver finished the dies they were delivered to the keeper of the dies for safekeeping.

Mint Mark v Privy Mark..Now that we are reaching the point where we shall start to discuss the groats of Henry VI, we shall find not one but two or even more marks upon the coins. One is the mint mark, or more accurately the initial mark, whilst the second and identifying mark is a privy mark.

Over the years the meaning of the term mint mark seems to have changed. For instance in Roman times assorted symbols, letters or numbers were to be found upon many of the early Republican coins and these often indicated the particular workshop in which they were struck. Later on, from the time of Gallienus (AD 260-268), mints were established throughout Europe and the East and it was necessary for the place of mintage to be clearly indicated. In some cases the actual officina, or workshop, was shown by a number or letter.

By medieval times in England we were mostly a pious nation and the legend on the coins always began with a cross. This does not normally indicate where the coin was struck so it is not, strictly speaking, a mint mark but is an initial mark. Later on, in the reign of Edward IV, many heraldic symbols were introduced such as the sun, a rose, a fleur-de-lis etc., and these tended to differentiate one issue of coins from another - a cryptic method of dating a coin.

A series of symbols were introduced in addition to the mint mark or initial mark during the reign of Henry VI and these are best
called, in my opinion, privy marks. They are used to mark the introduction of a new coinage within the reign, a totally different
purpose from the initial mark.

The Groats - Classes and Sub Classes..At first glance the groats of Henry VI appear to be rather difficult to identify and to classify, but after a while the various privy marks become obvious and the task is simplified. Seaby's Standard Catalogue allocates them to 12 classes, the second of which is, for some reason, designated a sub class of the first.

However, the major work on this series of coins was carried out over 50 years ago by Messrs Blunt and Whitton and published in the British Numismatic journal. This is still considered the standard work, referred to by serious students of the period, together with subsequent papers by such eminent people as W. J. Potter.

While the 12 main classes are tentatively dated, current work by numismatists such as Peter Woodhead, would indicate that some of these dates need revising. But until modern thoughts are finalized we shall, for the sake of this article, stay with the long established dates. I am also a little doubtful as to whether the earliest issues of Henry VI, which are credited to him, do belong to him. In the not too distant future it may be that they be reallocated to his father, Henry V, perhaps based on the width of forehead, or even the initial cross 1 which is a pierced cross and was used during the Henry V period. Like so many others I have not been able, as yet, to finalize my thoughts on this aspect.

In an article such as this, it is obviously not practical to attempt to comment on the hundreds of varieties listed by Blunt and Whitton. Therefore I intend to propose a simplified version which I tend to use for the basic pieces in my own collection. But I must emphasize that many of these can be subdivided again many times.


Groats from The London Mint

Normal obverse legend: HENRIC DI GRA REX ANGLIE Z FRANC
Reverse outer legend: POSVI DEVM ADIVTORE MEVM
Reverse inner legend: CIVITAS LONDON

Annulet Issue - Initial mark incurved pierced cross, annulet between opposing pellets. (Type 3.)

Annulet Issue 1422-27
All issues normally have an annulet between opposing pellets on reverse.
Type 1. Initial mark: Pierced Cross, ANGLIE.
Type 2. Initial mark: lncurved pierced cross, ANGLIE.
Type 3. Initial mark: lncurved pierced cross, ANGL.


Rosette Mascle Issue - Rosettes and muscles in legend. (Type 2.)

Rosette Mascle Issue 1427-30
Normally rosettes and mascle in both legends.
Type 1. Initial mark: Incurved pierced cross. I.m. Plain cross reverse.
Type 2. Initial mark: Cross Patonce. I.m. Plain cross reverse.


Pinecone Mascle - Pinecone after POSVI, pinecone and mascle in inner legend. (Type 1.)

Pinecone Mascle Issue 1430-34
Normally pinecones and mascle in obverse legend. Pinecone after POSVI. Mascle in inner legend on reverse. Two varieties read CIVITOS.
Type 1. Initial mark: Cross Patonce. I.m. Plain cross reverse.
Type 2. Initial mark: Cross Fleury. I.m. Plain cross reverse.

Leaf Mascle Issue 1434-35
Leaf in spandril below bust. Mascles in obverse and reverse legends.
Initial mark: Cross Pattee. 1.m. Plain cross reverse.
Reads CIVITAS NONDON.

Leaf Trefoil Issue - (B) No leaf on breast, REX trefoil.

Leaf Trefoil Issue 1435-38
There are two distinct issues
(A) and (B). Normally a leaf and a trefoil in the legends.

(A) Has a leaf on the breast.
Initial mark: Cross Fleury.
Type 1. Has a trefoil after REX. I.m. Plain cross reverse.
Type 2. Leaf GRA leaf REX. I.m. Cross fleury reverse.
Type 3. Leaf DI leaf GRA. I.m. Plain cross reverse.

(B) No leaf on breast, Leaves and trefoil in obverse legend, usually leaves and trefoil in reverse legend.
Initial mark: Cross Fleury. I.m. Plain cross reverse.
Leaf DI Leaf GRA Leaf REX Trefoil.


Trefoil Issue - (A, Type 1.) LONDON Trefoils by neck, leaf on breast, trefoil DI trefoil GRA trefoil.

Trefoil Issue 1438-43
There are three distinct issues
(A), (B), and (C)

(A) Trefoils by neck, leaf on breast.
Initial mark; Cross Fleury. The reverse mark may be plain cross, cross fleury or none.
Type 1. Fleurs on cusps at shoulders. HENRIC trefoil DI trefoil GRA trefoil.
Type 2. No fleurs at shoulders. HENRIC X.

(B) Trefoils by neck, fleurs in spandrils and a leaf on breast.
Initial Mark: Cross Fleury. The reverse mark may be plain cross, cross fleury or none.
Type 1. Fleurs on cusps at shoulders. Legend ends FRANC.
Type 2. Legend ends FRAN.

(C) Trefoils on cusps at shoulders. Small leaf on cusp at breast.
Initial Mark: Cross Fleury. No reverse mark.
HENRIC DI GRA (no marks). Legend ends FRANE.

Trefoil Pellet Issue - Trefoils by neck, pellets by crown, leaf on breast, trefoil after REX. (Type 2.)

Trefoil Pellet Issue 1443-45
Trefoils by neck, pellets by crown, small leaf on breast. Trefoil after REX.
Initial mark: Cross Fleury. No reverse mark.
Type 1. Assorted reverse legend stops.
Type 2. Extra pellet in two quarters of reverse.


Leaf Pellet Issue - (B) leaf on breast, pellets by crown, ANGLI

Leaf Pellet Issue 1445-1454
There are four distinct issues
(A), (B), (C) and (D).

(A) Leaf on breast, pellets by crown, Obverse legend has ANGL.
Initial mark: Cross Fleury. No reverse mark.
Type 1. Obverse legend ends FRANCIE. Fleur on breast, extra pellet in two quarters of reverse.
Type 2. Obverse legend ends FRANCIE. No fleur on breast. Extra pellet in two quarters.
Type 3. Obverse legend ends FRANC,. No fleur on breast. Extra pellet in two quarters.

(B) Leaf on breast, pellets by crown. Obverse legend has ANGLI.
Initial mark: Cross Fleury. No reverse mark.
Type 1. Trefoil after ANGLI. Extra pellet in two quarters.
Type 2. No trefoil in legend. Fleur on breast. Extra pellets.
Type 3. No trefoil in legend. No fleur on breast. Extra pellets.

(C) Leaf on neck. Pellets by crown. Fleur on breast. Obverse legend ANGLI.
Initial mark: Cross Fleury. No reverse marks.
Type 1. Legend ends FRANCI. Extra pellet in two quarters.
Type 2. Legend ends FRANC. Extra pellets.

(D) Leaf on neck; Pellets by crown. Fleur on breast. Obverse legend ANGLI.
Initial mark: Cross Fleury. No reverse marks.
Two pellets by crown as usual plus two pellets by hair. On reverse extra pellet under CIVI and LON.

Unmarked Issue - Pellet under CIVI and LON.

Unmarked Issue - Pellet under TAS and DON. (Type 4.)

Unmarked Issue 1453-54
Nothing on breast. No marks in obverse field.
Initial mark: Cross Fleury.
Blunt and Whitton recorded one obverse die only and four reverse dies for this rare issue.
Type 1. Reverse initial mark plain cross.
Type 2. No initial mark, no stops. Extra pellet in all four quarters.
Type 3. No initial mark, no stops. Extra pellet under CIVI and LON.
Type 4. No initial mark, no stops. Extra pellet under TAS and DON.

Cross Pellet Issue - (A) Crosses by neck

Cross Pellet Issue 1454-60
There are three distinct issues
(A), (B), and (C).

(A) Saltire each side of neck. Pellets by crown. Leaf and fleur on breast.
Initial mark: Cross Fleury. Blunt and Whitton identified one obverse and two reverse dies for this very rare issue.
Type 1. No reverse initial mark. Extra pellet under CIVI and LON.
Type 2. No reverse initial mark. Extra pellet under TAS and DON.

(B) Saltire upon neck. Pellets by crown. No leaf on breast. Usually Mullet after HENRIC and/or at end of obverse legend. Usually fleur on breast. All but one die has extra pellet in two of the four quarters. Usually Mullet after POSVI
Type 1. No Mullet after HENRIC.
Type 2. Mullet after HENRIC and after FRANC.
Type 3. Legend ends in Z retrograde.
Type 4. Mullet after FRANC only.
Type 5. No fleur on breast.

Cross Pellet Issue - (C, type 2.) Mullet after POSVI

(C) Saltire on neck. Pellets by crown. Fleur on breast. One or more mascles in obverse legend.
Often Mullet after POSVI and all have extra pellet in two of the four quarters.
Initial mark: Cross Fleury.
Type 1. HENRIC mascle DI GRA mascle etc.
Type 2. HENRIC mascle DI GRA etc. No copula Z.


Lis Pellet Issue - Mascle after HENRIC. (Type 1.)

Lis Pellet Issue 1456-60
Lis on neck. Pellets by crown. Fleur on breast.
Initial mark: Cross Fleury.
Type 1. Mascle after HENRIC. Reverse mark plain cross or none.
Type 2. Double saltire after GRA. No mascle. Reverse initial mark lis or none.


Groats from The Calais Mint

Normal obverse legend: HENRIC DI GRA REX ANGLIE Z FRANC
Reverse outer legend: POSVI DEVM ADIVTORE MEVM
Reverse inner legend: VILLA CALISIE


Annulet Issue - Annulets by neck and between two sets of opposing pellets. (Type 3.)

Annulet Issue 1422-27
All issues normally have annulets by the neck and between two sets of opposing pellets on reverse.
Type 1. Initial mark: Pierced Cross. Obverse legend reading ANGLIE.
Type 2. Initial mark: Incurved Pierced Cross. Obverse legend reading ANGLIE.
Type 3. Initial mark: Incurved Pierced Cross. Obverse legend reading ANGL.

Annulet Trefoil Sub Issue - Trefoil to left of crown, trefoil after POSVI.

Annulet Trefoil Sub Issue 1422-27
Only one die is known to me.
Both initial marks Incurved Pierced Cross.
Obverse reading ANGL. Trefoil to left of crown. Reverse, Trefoil after POSVI. Annulet in pellets under CALI.


Rosette Mascle - Initial mark incurved pierced cross. Rosettes in obverse legend. (Type 4.)

Rosette Mascle Issue 1427-30
Initial mark: Incurved Pierced Cross

Type 1. No Rosettes or Mascles in obverse legend.
Type 2. Mascles in two spandrils at 3 and 9 o'clock on obverse
Type 3. Mascle after HENRIC. Ends FRAND (not C)
Type 4. Rosettes and/or Mascles in obverse legend.
Initial mark: Cross Patonce.
Type 5. Rosettes and Mascle in obverse legend.
Initial mark: Cross Fleury.
Type 6. Rosettes and Mascle in obverse legend.
All have Plain Cross as reverse initial mark.


Pinecone Mascle - Initial mark cross patonce. Pinecones and mascle. (Type 1.)

Pinecone Mascle Issue 1430-34
Initial mark: Cross Patonce.
1. All have Pinecones and Mascle in obverse legend.
2. Kings name spelt HENIC. (no R)
Initial mark: Cross Fleury.
3. Rosettes and Mascle in obverse legend.
All have Plain Cross as reverse initial mark.


Leaf Mascle Issue - Leaf in spandril below bust, Initial mark plain cross both sides.(Type 2.)

Leaf Mascle Issue 1434-35
All have leaf in spandril below bust.
Initial mark: Cross Pattee.
Type 1. Mascle after REX in obverse legend.
Initial mark: Plain Cross.
Type 2. Mascle after REX in obverse legend.
All have Plain Cross as reverse legend.

Leaf Trefoil Issue 1435-38
Leaf is on breast rather than in spandril below bust. Initial mark: Cross Fleury on obverse and reverse. Only one obverse die known to me.

Trefoil Issue - Trefoil by neck, trefoil after GRA. (Type 3.)

Trefoil Issue 1438-43
All have leaf on the breast and fleurs on the cusps at the shoulders.
Always Trefoils by the neck.
Initial mark: Cross Fleury on both obverse and reverse.
Type 1. Obverse legend ends FRAN trefoil.
Type 2. Obverse legend ends FRA trefoil.
Type 3. Trefoil after GRA in obverse legend.

At this point the mint at Calais was finally closed. Calais groats of the last two issues are very difficult to come by and those of the Leaf Trefoil issue are particularly so.


Groats from The York Mint

It is well known that a silver coinage was struck at York under Goldbeter, and Lessen's research indicates that this was possibly between 30 September 1423 and 7 August 1424. When Lessen did his research in the early 1990s he was aware of the existence of 13 groats of York and these were from three obverse and seven reverse dies. Three of these were from the Reigate hoard, and I am aware of two others from a recent find.

In all cases there is a fleur on the cusp on the breast, the initial mark on both obverse and reverse is the incurved pierced cross and all have a lis on either side of the king's neck. The reverse has an annulet after POSVI and RACI and in the first and third quarters.
Legend: HENRIC DI GRA REX ANGLIE Z (retrograde) FRANC. POSVI DEVM ADIVTORE MEVM. CIVITAS EBORACI.


I would certainly not attempt to improve upon the monumental work carried out by Messrs Blunt and Whitton. However, I have found the 32 classes mentioned over the three mints, as sub-divided by the Seaby catalogue rather restricting; but this is understandable in a simplified catalogue. Blunt and Whitton, on the other hand, have listed some 315 varieties excluding Mules, many of which are common.

In my opinion this series can give a great deal of pleasure to the serious collector and 1 have therefore attempted above to provide, or suggest, something which is much more comprehensive than is available in Seaby's and yet is without the minor details provided by Blunt and Whitton. It is designed to be simple to use, and hopefully, easy to understand.

NEXT ISSUE (Under construction)
Die Sinkers Errors And Associated Pieces In the next article we shall stay with the
groats of Henry VI but will look at another aspect which has captured my attention over the last few years. We shall look at the various issues and the numerous die sinkers errors known to me. We shall discuss some of the reasons which may, or may not, lead to those errors and we shall attempt to be controversial enough to generate discussion on the subject.

This article first appeared in Coins & Antiquities Feb.1999 Vol.4 & is reproduced with the kind permission of Ivan Buck and Greenlight Publishing Ltd. Ivan and I (Mike Vosper) are numismatic colleagues and as some of you may be aware we attend numismatic shows, fairs and societies together. As you will have see from the above article, Ivan and I would be interested in receiving any correspondence from you regarding Groats or any other numismatic related subjects.

Edward I

to

Edward III

Part I

Richard II

to

Henry V

Part II