Featured Medieval - "All the moneyers who were in England should be mutilated"

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by FitzNigel, Jan 26, 2017.

  1. JBGood

    JBGood Collector of coinage

    Interesting writeup! Bankers apparently were disreputable from the get go. I found the following in Jack Bogle's "Enough"

    "Some men wrest their living from nature and with their hands. This is called work.

    Some men wrest their living from the men who wrest their living from nature and with their hands. This is called trade.

    Some men wrest their living from the men who wrest living from the men who wrest their living from nature and with their hands. This is called finance."
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  3. Magnus Maximus

    Magnus Maximus Dulce et Decorum est....

    Amazing write up on the Norman King of England, Henry I.
    Lovely and rare coin of Henry, I'll have to get one someday.
    I have a Norman Denier of Duke William in my eyes sights; I'll let you know if I get it.
    Here is a coin from Richard the Fearless(I)
    Minted in Rouen
    942-996 CE


    And one from the cousins from the south

    Tancred Billon dirham fraction
    .49 grams
    A lovely picture of a Norman Knight
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2017
  4. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    @Magnus Maximus - you did come to mind when I cam upon these. You'll appreciate why I had to snatch them up!
    Magnus Maximus likes this.
  5. Nap

    Nap Well-Known Member

    There was a guy with a Henry I round halfpenny at NYINC. There's only 8 or 9 known. I did not ask the price...
    FitzNigel likes this.
  6. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    Would have loved to have seen that...
  7. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

  8. alde

    alde Always Learning Supporter

    Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge and research. It was a fascinating write up.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  9. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Bammed

    King Henry I's brother in law was King David I of Scotland. Henry was married to Matilda, sister of the King of Scotland.

    Researchers have long debated whom was the first Scottish King to have actually instituted a native Scottish coinage. Whilst the Kingdom of Northumbria encompassed parts of Scotland up to the Forth River, it is believed that all of the Northumbrian coinage was minted in the south, ie York. Occasionally these coins are found in southern Scotland. Ca. 1980 there was a report in the press about a researcher determining that a coin was minted during the reign of Ecfrith of Deira and Northumbria (664-670 AD) in Scotland, but subsequent research has determined that this theory is not with due merit.

    Earlier volumes on Scottish Coinage, such as "The Coinage of Scotland" by J.D. Robertson have suggested that the first native Scottish coins were issued during the reign of Alexander I (1107-1124) however this is 19th century research, which has since been disproven. Without a doubt, David I issued coins in his name, and therefore is most likely the first Scottish monarch to have actually issued them as such.

    The first Scottish coins are believed to be those issued by King David I(1124-1153), previous to this time very few coins ever found their way into Scotland, though some Roman era and Northumbrian sceats are very occasionally found. The first issue of coins was ca. 1136, and was likely connected to the Scottish capture of Carlisle and it's mines. Even after the introduction of a native coinage, barter continued to the basis for the economy for many years.

    David I was the youngest son of Malcolm Canmore (1058-1093) and the third son to have acceded the throne after his father. His early years appear to have been spent in England, the birthplace of his mother, Margaret(whom was the sister of Edgar The Aetheling.) With his mother's sponsorship, and given his lower rank in the possibility of his inheriting the throne he spent much of his youth in the Church and was an accomplished student. In 1113 he was married to Matilda, whom was the daughter of the Earl of Northumberland. With this marriage he acquired lands south of the Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, Huntington and Northampton. This acquisition would result in his being recognised as a Norman Baron. David's older brother, Alexander I, soon would recognise David as the sub-king of the Scottish lowlands as a result.

    In 1124 Alexander I died and the throne again was inherited by a son of Malcolm Canmore and David I would soon have the opportunity to forge Scotland into a united kingdom once more, as divisions existed from the earlier disputed monarchs of Scotland. Some of the legacies which were instituted during this reign included the creation of the counties of Scotland, which in effect lasted until 1975.

    Whilst there was a sound degree of harmony in Scotland, the opposite was true of her southern neighbour, England. The first English Civil War was in full swing, with Stephen (1135-1154) as King of England defending himself against Matilda, whom was the daughter of Henry with purportedly a better claim at the throne. Whilst the explanation of the English Civil War would take up volumes, it can be summarised in that David I of Scotland soon saw opportunity knocking and moved south in favour of his niece, Matilda in 1135. Despite having made this move, it is in retrospect, obvious that he was looking more for acquisition than assisting Matilda, as subsequently his support could be described as lukewarm at best.

    The move south resulted in the Scots acquiring Carlisle, with it's nearby mines, and importantly for coin collectors, it's mint. Coins had been struck in the name of Stephen since the previous year. The capture of the mint resulted in some coins in Stephen's name still being struck after the capture, but soon they began changing the dies and issued pennies in David's name.

    Many of the coins issued during this reign are quite similar to the English issues of Stephen, and this has led to some confusion given the fact that all of the coins from this era were quite crude by comparison with earlier issues. Workmanship on the coins had deteriorated, and legends on the coins were often blundered, the result of uneducated die cutters creating the coins. All of the coins of this era featured a portrait of the monarch, or more likely during this time a crude representation of him. The reverse was usually a short cross with pellets in the quarters of it. Later in the reign coins were minted in Berwick, Perth, Roxburgh and Edinburgh.
    Nap, RAGNAROK, Orfew and 5 others like this.
  10. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    Very nice @scottishmoney ! I believe David was also responsible for knighting a young Henry II, future king of England during the course of the anarchy (love to have one of those myself for that reason...). I do have a Stephen though:
    Stephen, r. 1135-1154 (c. 1136-45)
    AR Watford Type Penny, London Mint, 19.17mm x 1.1 grams
    Obv.: S[TIEFNE RE]X. Bust right, crowned and diademed, holding sceptre in right hand
    Rev.: ADEL[ARD : ON : LVN]. Cross moline with fleur in each angle
    Ref. North 873, SCBC 1278, CC99 ST1D-005, De Wit 3189
    And I wrote about the anarchy here.

    You can see the similarities in busts, but the difference of the pellets on the reverse of yours (as you say...). Very cool!
  11. rooman9

    rooman9 Lovin Shiny Things

    Great write up. Those old pictures always remind me of this.
    panzerman, TIF, KIWITI and 5 others like this.
  12. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    Well, the figure on the left is William the Conqueror, so you could say the one on the right is Henry..l

    RAGNAROK Naebody chaws me wi impunity

    Thenk ye! Byspale wittins!! ;):)
  14. alde

    alde Always Learning Supporter

    It has always been interesting to me how the Greeks and Romans could have such advanced technology, architecture and art only to have it decline to the state of things that produced these coins. I have a Canute, an Edward the Confessor and a couple others of the period that I could photograph and share if they could add to the conversation. I am embarrassed to say that I don't know much about them yet though.
    TIF, FitzNigel and Alegandron like this.
  15. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

  16. Nap

    Nap Well-Known Member

    Nice coin of David I. I have been looking for a reasonable example but they are quite pricey.

    My only early Scottish coin is a cut halfpenny of Earl Henry of Northumberland, the son of David I:


    A full example remains outside of my budget, but I do quite like the early Scottish money.
    Alegandron likes this.
  17. Garlicus

    Garlicus Debt is dumb, cash is king.

    Wish I had read this post before I spent a week in Bury St. Edmunds back in 2003.

    Very first photobomb ever? lol
    Bury St Edmunds .jpg

    Bury St Edmunds a.jpg

    Bury St Edmunds c.jpg

    Bury St Edmunds b.jpg

    Bury St Edmunds 1 .jpg
    TJC, scottishmoney, FitzNigel and 2 others like this.
  18. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Bammed

    Many many coins were struck in Bury St. Edmunds, and quite frankly more than a few have been dug there also.
  19. Colonialjohn

    Colonialjohn Active Member

    In my new book out shortly via Amazon Books on Counterfeits although my contemporary circulating counterfeits (CCCs) start around 1500 in my foreign CCC chapter since I always like a date on my coins it was difficult and could be problematic on any issue which is debased in silver on why this is the case - is it an intentional contemporary circulating counterfeit or is it debased as an emergency issue or is it simply poor management at the MINT which seems to be the case in this thread. So analyzing these pieces indeed I would expect their debasement will be with tin rather than copper? Possibly as tin was more commonly used even in the 16thC from my research. Prior to 1500 I have not explored this issue in any depth. Was tin or copper use in the debasement and why?

    John Lorenzo
    United States
  20. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    Hello John - I'm not sure I have an answer for you. It seems the practice of minting in anything other than silver disappears in Europe around the 8th/9th centuries (excepting Byzantine territories), and I suspect the belief arose that a coin could only hold value if it contained silver (gold was then added later). Debasements were often purposeful, particularly in France, as a means for the king to pay for wars. Different denominations would also develop with debased deniers (black money) and pure silver coins (white money). The exception is England which maintained a high fineness of silver in their coinage until the reign of Henry VIII. In the case of Henry I, is was likely not mismanagement, more than a sheer lack of silver in Europe. Very few coins from the early 12th century can be found, and most of those are debased because of the silver was draining out to Italy and the Middle East through trade. It wasn't until new silver deposits were discovered that the problem of debasement lets up (only to reappear in the 15th century as the supply of silver dries up,again)
  21. scottishmoney

    scottishmoney Bammed

    Indeed, jolly olde Hal was oft referred to as "Olde Coppernose" for a good reason. The debasements continued into the reign of Edward VI, and only near the end of his reign did they cease. Queen Mary didn't reign long enough(she was too busy pining over Phillip III of Spain).

    Queen Elizabeth was the one with Thomas Gresham of "bad money drives out good" fame. Her reign saw a whole new approach to coinage with much greater quantities issued and sound assaying to insure good coin. Gold also became much more plentiful. QE's coinage served long and hard, only disappearing with the great re-coinage into milled coins in the 1690s.

    Unfortunately up in Scotland the debasements began in the 14th century and were pretty well established as a fact of life. They reached their apex during the reigns of Queen Mary(1542-1567) and her son James VI(1567-1625) - whole recoinages and recalls were the accepted norm. Counterfeit, particularly of billon coinage was quite common - a practice the French soldiers in Edinburgh in the 1550s took up as a profession.
    FitzNigel likes this.
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