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Henry IV quarter noble

Stephen Tate said he found this coin on a beach in West Sussex. It’s a highly unusual beach find, as will become clear when I provide a detailed description.

The coin is a gold quarter noble. On the obverse the legend starts with hEnRIC, so it is obviously a coin of one of the Henrys but which one?

The shield on the obverse has a fleur de lis above it, a slipped trefoil either side of the centre and an annulet at each side near the pointed base. For those who don’t know, a slipped trefoil is a trefoil with a stalk hanging from its base.

On the reverse there is a fleur de lis in the centre. The legend on this side ends with GLORIA, after which is a double saltire stop followed by a slipped trefoil and the cross marking the start of the legend.

All the above adds up to this coin being a very rare light coinage quarter noble of Henry IV, which is listed in the Standard Catalogue as number 1717.

In terms of the two separate coinages, for many years there has been some confusion about where the reign of Henry IV ends and where the reign of Henry V begins. Mint accounts were kept of all the coins struck but not for the king for whom they were struck. This, of course, left problems for numismatists who studied coins and coinages centuries later.

The light coinage quarter nobles of Henry IV are similar in a number of respects to the early issues of Henry V. In some cases reference works are rather vague about what exactly the differences are. Stephen’s find matches S. 1717 but there are other very similar varieties of the type.

In terms of wear this quarter noble would grade about VF. Unfortunately, it has a number of minus points. Both sides have been struck well off centre, the flan is uneven and there is some damage to the edge. I should also point out that the dies used to strike the coin are not of a high standard, so the coin itself would need to be seen and handled in order to establish beyond doubt that it is genuine.

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