Henry VII, 1485-1509, Henry VII, Sovereign, 15.5g, class III, king holding orb and sceptre, enthroned on throne with broad seat, elaborate back and high gothic canopy, HENRICUS DEI GRATIA REX ANGLIE ET FRANCIE DNS IBAR),
Lot 699
Henry VII, 1485-1509, Henry VII, Sovereign, 15.5g, class III, king holding orb and sceptre, enthroned on throne with broad seat, elaborate back and high gothic canopy, HENRICUS DEI GRATIA REX ANGLIE ET FRANCIE DNS IBAR),
Sold for £29,375 (US$ 47,143) inc. premium

Lot Details
Henry VII, 1485-1509, Henry VII,
Sovereign, 15.5g, class III, king holding orb and sceptre, enthroned on throne with broad seat, elaborate back and high gothic canopy, HENRICUS DEI GRATIA REX ANGLIE ET FRANCIE DNS IBAR), R.square topped Royal shield in centre of Tudor rose, IHESVS AVTEM TRANSIENS PER MEDIVM IBAT, cinquefoil stops, m.m. dragon (N.1691; S.2174), slightly weak definition, and lightly buckled at some stage, otherwise nearly very fine.

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:

    Parsons, Spink 15.3.1981, Lot 24.
    Baldwin's, 27.5.1997.
    Spink Numismatic Circular February 1992, No 150.

    28th October, 1489, Henry VII orders a gold Sovereign. (N.1689-92; S.2172-6). There is an exceedingly rare double and treble piedfort. (Spink 2177).
    It is an attractive hypothesis, first suggested by A.E. Packe, (Numismatic Chronicle. 1891. pp.34-47) that the Sovereigns were initially struck for distribution on the creation of Prince Arthur as Prince of Wales on 30 November 1489.

    It has been estimated that 60,000 of these sovereigns were struck between 1489 and 1509. Five obverse and seven reverse dies are known. (Metcalf p. xxvii). It appears that this new coinage had been planned for some time. On the 28th March 1489 a mandate was given to William Stafford, Warden of the mint and governor of the king's moneyers in the Tower of London to make puncheons and stampes for the new gold and silver coins. They were to be in the same form as before as before but of the new "Sovereign" design but retaining the inscriptions and privy marks. The mandate was given on the same day as the Treaty of Medina del Campo was ratified by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. The draft treaty specifying a settlement of 200,000 Scudos had been signed on July 1488. There are two possible continental prototypes for the design of this splendid coin. Firstly the pledge of a future marriage of the infant Prince Arthur (d.1502), he is interred in Worcester Cathedral, to the Infanta Katherine of Aragon held out the prospect of a splendid dynastic alliance. It is intrigueing to consider (Metcalf) whether, while his ambassadors were in Spain, Henry might have set in motion plans for a coinage of similar design and which rivalled in splendour the Leon and Castille coinage from Henriques IV (1454-74). 2, 5, 10, 20 and 50 Enriques were struck at several mints. they, particularly the 100mm. diameter 50 Eriques were the prestige coinage of a powerful state. (Ref. Aloiss Heiss, Monedas Hispano-Christianas. - Madrid, 1865 & reprint 1975. Pl.13, 1.). It might be that the design owes much to that of the large gold coins of Enrique IV rather than the Low Countries gold reale of Maximilian I which imitated the latter (Ref. Egg, Erich, Die Munzen Kaiser Maximilianus I. - n.d. 1979? no.40). Metcalf considers the Spanish prototype the more likely.

    Presumably so that the prestige of the new boastful coins should sink down the prosperous but nevertheless poorer classes silver pennies were struck at various mints with a design similar to the sovereigns (N.1724-31; S.2225...)

    As we know the death Prince Arthur at Ludlow, soon gace rise to the marriage of Katherine to Arthur's younger brother who was destined to become Henry VIII at Winchester in November 1501. The background to the subsequent divorce is too well known to require rescension here. Suffice it to say that when Henry wished for a divorce on the grounds that he greviously needed a male heir (destinated to be Edward VI) and besides he fancied Anne Bullen (Boleyn). He cited primarily, with much else, Leviticus Chap. XVIII, V.16: Thou shalt not uncover the nakedness, of course Katherine was only his brothers actual wife if the marriage had truly been physically consummated. herein lay the debate; we all know what actually happened.
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