Double Patard of Charles the Bold
Most of the hammered silver coins unearthed by detectorists are English but they are accompanied by reasonable number of Scottish and Irish examples. During the later medieval and Tudor periods it wasn’t unusual for foreign coins to circulate. Weights were available to check the coins were up to the correct standard and the percentage of silver in them was also widely known. The circulation of some foreign coins was sanctioned by the government but many others were used unofficially. Pictured here is a foreign hammered, which was found by Andrew Thompson. It’s a Burgundian double petard, which is about the same size as an English groat. It was struck for Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, who was also known as Charles the Rash.
In September of 1470 the Earl of Warwick and the Duke of Clarence (brother of Edward IV), together with a large army, marched on London. Henry VI, who had been held in captivity, was released and paraded through the city with a crown on his head. King Edward was at Nottingham when he received news of this and was told that Warwick and Clarence intended to remove him from the throne. Seemingly deserted by those thought he could rely on, his only option was to flee the country. Edward sought refuge in the Court of Burgundy; Edward’s sister, Margaret, had been married to the Duke of Burgundy in 1468.
The Duke was initially cautious, as he had to consider the possibility that the Earl of Warwick would join with Louis XI of France and declare war on Burgundy. It soon became obvious that this was what Warwick and Louis XI intended to do. The only option open to Burgundy was to back King Edward in the hope that he could regain his throne. Therefore, in 1471 the Duke provided Edward with 1,200 Flemish and German troops, plus ships for their transport and money to pay them. The money would include gold coins and maybe a sack or two of double patards.
Most of the foreign hammered coins found by the detectorists are of silver penny or halfpenny size. Larger coins are rarer, except for Burgundian double patards of Charles the Bold, which are found all over England. I can’t be certain but I’d suggest that the majority of double patards that turn up in England could have arrived here with Edward IV and his followers in 1471.
In 2018 Dix Noonan Webb sold a lot of eight double patards of Charles the Bold that were originally part of the Warkworth School Hoard, which was found in Northumberland during 2017. The coins were said to be mostly Fair to Fine and the hammer price was £70. They might not be expensive but it could be argued that coins like those, together with the specimen featured here, help an English king to regain his throne.