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Calais half groat of Henry VI

Sam LeBailly said this hammered silver coin was unearthed from a pasture field in Devon. Sam wanted to know what it might be worth and if he was correct in thinking it was a mule.

Firstly, the coin measures 20m in diameter so it is a halfgroat. On the obverse the legend starts with hEnRIC and there is an annulet either side of the king’s neck. On the reverse the inner legend reads VIL LA CAL IS, with a double saltire stop after VIL, a rosette after IS and another rosette after POSVI in the outer legend. Therefore, this is a halfgroat of Henry VI, which has been struck by an obverse die of the annulet coinage and an early reverse die of the rosette mascle coinage.

During the later medieval period mules are not particularly rare. When a new coinage was introduced if there were any serviceable dies from the previous coinage they would be used until they wore out. Occasionally, there was muling between reigns but most examples are of considerable rarity.



The obverse of Sam’s find would grade good Fine, the reverse VF but both sides have been struck off centre. It might be clipped or struck on a flan too small for the dies but to tell whether it is one or the other the coin would have to be weighed. As a mule it is rare but its eye appeal is reduced by the offset strike. As it stands, my price range would be £120 to £150.

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