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Mary I Groat

Here’s another of Roger Paul’s finds, this time a groat of Mary Tudor.

Historical Background

This queen is usually described just as Mary but she was in fact Mary I. The later queen, who was the daughter of James II and wife of William III, reigned as Mary II from 1689 until her death in 1694. The first Mary (born 1516) had a very sad life. She was the only child of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon; as such it could be expected that she would marry into the family of European royalty.

Mary was still single when Henry VIII died and it was only after her half-brother, Edward VI, died that she gained a husband. She was a strict Catholic and so was her husband, Philip of Spain. In 1555 Mary believed she was pregnant and preparations were made for the birth of a child. Sadly, it turned that she wasn’t pregnant. Mary was devastated, whilst many Protestants breathed a sigh of relief. She felt as if she had been deserted by Philip, who spent less time with Mary and far more on the government of the lands he took over on the retirement of his father, Charles V. The loss of Calais in January of 1558, England’s last possession in France, was viewed as a national disaster and much of the blame was put on Mary. Her health gradually deteriorated and on 17 November 1558 she died.

Groats of Mary

Groats of Mary are without doubt the most common coins of her reign. A huge number must have been struck, for today they are common both in and out of the ground. Being fairly fragile, most of the groats of Mary that turn up as detecting finds are damaged in some way; additionally, as they circulated for quite some time they also tend to be rather worn.


Roger’s find is in above average condition; it would grade about VF for the issue but has some weak areas and discolouration. After allowing for the plus and minus points, I’d say that to a collector this groat shouldn’t be worth any less than £200.

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