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Henry IV halfpenny

Richard Lyon said the coin featured here had been identified as a Henry IV heavy coinage halfpenny. There are several minor varieties and this coin was said to be an example of Wither’s class 4.

Richard sent in images of his find and asked me for a second opinion. He wanted another opinion because the cross at the start/end of the obverse legend looked to him to be fleury. This being the case, Richard wondered if it was a later halfpenny of Henry VI. After examining the image of the obverse I could understand why the initial cross looked fleury; however, this was due to wear and flatness in the crucial area, which had altered the original shape of the cross.

Halfpennies of Henry IV used to be extremely rare but over recent decades detectorists have managed to find quite a high number of examples. During the medieval period a huge amount of low denomination silver coins circulated in England. These coins were earned and spent by ordinary folk, who made up the majority of the population. Centuries later the coins are unearthed by detectorists, who are still mostly ordinary folk and descendants of those who originally lost them.

The differences between some of the varieties of Henry IV halfpennies are in some cases minute. However, they have been sorted into classes by P. and B. R. Withers and the end result of their research was published in 2003. After checking illustrations of a number of specimens I was able to tell Richard that in my opinion his find is a Henry IV halfpenny of Wither’s class 4.

Even though Henry IV halfpennies aren’t as rare as they used to be, they are still much rarer and more valuable than most of those issued during the reign of Henry VI. 

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