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Continental sterling of Jean III

During the later medial period lots of foreign coins circulated in England. Many were not up to the correct standard for English gold and silver coins but exchange rates were well known by the merchant class. Therefore, foreign coins circulated far and wide. In the later 13th and early 14th century there were many Continental copies of English silver coins in circulation; some of these looked almost exactly like the genuine article. Others, though, were more obviously foreign and many examples of various types have been unearthed by detectorists.

Pictured here is a Continental sterling, which was found by Bill Byford. Even though it is nothing like an English penny it would have circulated as such in the first half pf the 14th century.

Within the inner circle on the obverse is what looks like a church or a cathedral. However, in reference works it is described as a chateau. The legend on this side reads +DVX DE BRABANTIA.

The reverse copies the English type for the same period. On this side the legend is split into four parts by a long cross pattee and reads MON ETA BRV XEL, which points towards this coin being struck at the mint situated in Brussels.

This sterling was struck for Jean III when he was Duke of Brabant and Limburg (1312-55). It’s not a rare coin but is made more interesting because it was found in England. This is just one of the Continental sterlings that circulated beside English coins back in the 14th century.


The obverse is well struck and would grade good Fine. The reverse is only Fine, with some kind of deposit in one quarter and a small striking crack in the edge. In its present condition I’d give the coin a price range of £35 – £45.

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