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Noble of Henry V

The detectorist who unearthed this hammered gold con wished to remain anonymous but asked if I could let him have a valuation on his find.

The coin is a noble of Henry V, the king who scored a truly incredible victory over the French at Agincourt in 1415. Despite being greatly outnumbered, the superior tactics and fire-power of Henry’s army led to its success in a very famous battle.

On the obverse of this noble there is a mullet by the hand holding a sword and a broken annulet on the side of the ship. On the reverse there is a large letter h (for Henry) in the centre and no other distinguishing marks. Therefore, this is a Henry V noble of London, it belongs to series C and in the Standard Catalogue it is listed as number 1542.


From the images I received I would grade the coin as good Fine. However, the coin has been buckled and bent out-of-shape whilst in the soil and still has earthen deposits clinging to its surface. After looking closely at the images I could see no cracks or sharp bends, both of which would be significant minus points. Fairly obviously, this coin is in need of expert cleaning and restoration.


Nobles of this period were made of almost pure gold so they bend quite easily; they also straighten quite easily. However, it would be vital that whoever was entrusted with this work had prior experience of doing the same thing. I’ve seen hammered gold coins in worse condition than this specimen that looked almost perfect after being attended to by a skilled goldsmith. I’ve also seen coins that were ruined after amateur attempts at remedial work.    


In its present ‘as found’ state a pre-sale auction estimate might be in the region of £1,600. After the necessary remedial work it would sell for more but how much more would depend on exactly what it looked like after the remedial work was completed.

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