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Henry VIII, groat

I sometimes see a coin that I would have loved to unearth. It wouldn’t necessarily be a rarity but it would have great eye appeal. Here is one such coin.The finder, who asked to remain anonymous, wanted a full ID and a valuation on the coin pictured here.

The coin is a groat of Henry VIII, which was struck during this king’s second coinage. Groats of this coinage have always been popular with collectors as the bust of King Henry on the obverse is very attractive. This is how he looked before he started to put on weight from the mid-1530s onwards.

On the reverse is a shield of arms flanked by a letter T to the left and a letter W to the right. The letters are the initials of Thomas Wolsey, who held a high number of positions in both the Church and the government of England. Below the shield is a cardinal’s hat, which advertises the fact that the Pope had raised him up to be Cardinal Wolsey in 1515.

This groat has mint mark acorn on both sides and would have been struck between 1526 and 1530. Any profit that accrued from the striking of these coins went not to the king but to Cardinal Wolsey. However, the highest denomination that Wolsey was authorised to strike was a halfgroat. When he fell from power in1530 this was just one of the charges he faced. His death on the way to London meant that he did not have to face a trial that would probably have led to his execution.


The coin would grade good VF for the period, it is round, well struck and to a collector it would be highly desirable. If I was cataloguing it for sale at auction I would set the pre-sale estimate at £500 – £600 but wouldn’t be at all surprised if the final hammer price broke through the upper limit.

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