Great Britain Noble (1361-69) Edward III MS64 PCGS
Edward III, noble, fourth coinage, Treaty Period (1361-69), king in ship holding sword and royal shield, flag at stern of ship, rev. floriated cross with a lis at end of each limb, a crowned lion passant in each angle, ‘C’ for Calais at centre of cross, all set within a tressure of eight arches, cross potent (S.1504; N.1234 but annulet before EDWARD), certified and graded by PCGS as Mint State 64, a fabulous example of this popular type, struck on a full flan with virtually perfect legends and a wonderful strike showing both the tiny details of the king’s face and crisp details on his shield and the entire reverse, blessed too with lovely gold colour—in short, FDC or Gem Mint State The British Isles possess no gold mines, and up until the reign of Edward III there had been almost no homeland coinage struck in gold. The earliest gold coins of the Anglo-Saxons (early to middle seventh century), thrymsas, were tiny coins also known as gold shillings; they were issued by regional warlords, still mostly unknown, and were the sole gold money other than ‘memorial’ donative pennies such as the Coenwulf gold mancus. The tradition changed some two decades into the reign of King Edward III (1327-77). The kingdom was expanding economically. Henry III had sought to alleviate the burdens of counting piles of silver pennies by attempting to introduce a gold penny, knowing that gold florins had begun circulating on the Continent. Philip IV in France had introduced an even larger gold piece which had found use in commerce—a coin that showed the monarch seated and holding a mace, a symbol of power. This inspired Edward III, who as Duke of Acquitaine had issued a gold florin in his southern French dominions. The first attempt in England occurred in 1344 with his own gold leopards (also called florins at the time, although they had been named ‘Leopards’ in his proclamation of January 1344). Like the French coin, the large double-leopard showed the king seated beneath a canopy holding his symbols of power. The three sizes of leopards’ intrinsic gold values were less than their ‘face values’, however, and as a consequence they were rejected in England and by merchants abroad. A proclamation of August 1344 essentially called them in, exchanging them for only their gold weight, paid in silver pennies. Almost all of them were melted. These were replaced by a new coin of a design that could not be confused with that of the leopard series—the noble—first issued 1344-46. The earliest nobles were too heavy with gold and were soon replaced, but the style was a success although it underwent changes in titles; these were impacted by the Treaty of Bretigny of May 1360 at which Edward surrendered his claim to be king of France, adopting the title of Lord of Aquitaine instead until war was renewed in 1369, whereupon he resumed his royal title as King of France since it was the enemy who had violated the treaty. The golden nobles’ legends reflect these changes. The gorgeous example in this lot was part of the Treaty Series of 1363-69. English kings continued to issue coins bearing that title until the reign of George III.