Noonans sell Frank Bartlett collection of English groats

Noonans sell Frank Bartlett collection of English groats

On 27 September 2022 Noonans are selling the Frank Bartlett collection of English Groats. The collection contains groats spanning from Edward I to Anne. The auctioneer’s interview with Frank provides a fascinating insight into what inspires a collection and the quality of coins that collectors are looking for.

To view any of my selected lots in the auction catalogue click on the lot number. The full catalogue can be found here.

There is a buyer’s premium of 24% (plus VAT) on the hammer price.

Frank Bartlett

Frank told Noonans that his interest in coins started as a child. In retirement he took the advice of a colleague to “only focus on and collect a series for a period of history which really interests you and do it methodically without distractions

Frank settled on English groats. He goes on to say “I have no claim to great numismatic scholarship, so rarity of mint marks, dies and similar were of little interest in themselves. What interested me was each groat had been hand-made, and handling them brought me closer to the history, so condition was
everything“. This reiterates the point I have made several times about the importance of condition to its valuation.

Groats

The story of the groat is linked to the kings that introduced or modified it:

Edward I (1272 - 1307)

A coin worth four pennies was introduced by Edward I as part of his recoinage of 1279-81 and is considered to be the first groat. The word “groat” (from the Dutch word “groot” meaning great) only dates from the second half of the 14th century and so these were probably not known as groats at the time. 

Edward wanted to improve the crude coinage of his father, Henry III, which was produced in poor conditions and suffered greatly from clipping. As part of the redesign Edward chose to appear without a beard; the portrait appearing within a quatrefoil (Lot 1).

Edward III (1327 - 1377)

It wasn’t until 1351 that groats were struck in earnest, when the need for a larger denomination coin to support trade had become ever more pressing. The design closely resemble the gros of Antwerp and Brussels, in the style of lettering and the king’s portrait in a tressure. The title of King of France and the words Dei Gratia appeared on coins for the first time during Edward III’s reign.

The familiar POSVI DEVM ADIVTOREM MEV appears on the reverse (Lot 2). 

The design of the groat would remain largely unchanged through to Richard III (Lot 56).

Henry VII (1485 - 1509)

The first groats of Henry VII would continue to broadly follow the existing design . The changes are minor: four lines are added to the crown to change it to an arched crown with the addition of a ball and sceptre above (Lot 62).

In 1503 a major change in design of the silver coinage was undertaken. A realistic profile portrait was brought in and the regnal number appeared for the first time in the obverse legend since Henry III.  

On the reverse the place of issue is replaced by the coat of arms.

Henry VIII (1509 - 1547)

The first issues of Henry VIII were practically the same as his father with just the regnal number changing (Lot 63). In 1526 the portrait of the young Henry appears (Lot 69). In his third coinage of 1544 -1547 it becomes the portrait inspired by the Hans Holbein the Younger portrait, which Henry loved (Lot 74).

James I (1603 - 1625)

James I didn’t issue any groats but there were a couple of innovations in his coinage that would appear in the groats of Charles I; the quartering of the arms of Scotland and Ireland with England and France on the reverse and the denomination ( as “IIII”) on the obverse.

Charles I (1625 - 1649)

The changes to coinage of James I and the reverse legend  CHRISTO AUSPICE REGNO appear on the groat (Lot 92). On the later groats, the Wellington Declaration is seen on the reverse (Lot 94).

Auction Lots

I have included at least one lot from each king or queen in the collection.

Photo: © Noonans

Edward I groat

Obverse reads: D’I GRA REX ANGL. Reverse: DN’S HBIN’E DVX AQVT, LONDONIA CIVI
Estimate: £1500 – £1800
Photo: © Noonans

Edward III groat

Pre- Treaty. Obverse reads: EDWARD D G REX ANGL F FRANC D HYB. Reverse: POSVI DEVM ADIVTOREM MEV, CIVITAS LONDON
Estimate: £200 – £260
Photo: © Noonans

Richard II groat

Obverse reads: RICARD DI GRA REX ANGLE F FRANCIE D.
Estimate: £1500 – £1800
Photo: © Noonans

Henry V groat

Obverse reads: HENRIC DI GRA REX ANGLIE Z FRANC
Estimate: £4,000 – £5,000
Photo: © Noonans

Henry VI (first reign) groat

Obverse reads: HENRIC DI GRA REX ANGLIE Z FRANC. Reverse reads SIVITAS instead of CIVITAS.
Estimate: £700 – £900
Photo: © Noonans

Edward IV (first reign) groat

Obverse reads: EDWARD DI GRA REX ANGL Z FRANC.
Estimate: £500 – £600
Photo: © Noonans

Henry VI (second reign) groat

Obverse reads: HENRICV DI GRA REX ANGL Z FRANC.
Estimate: £400 – £500
Photo: © Noonans

Edward IV or V groat

Obverse reads: EDWARD DI GRA REX ANGL Z FRANC.
Estimate: £3,000 – £3,600
Photo: © Noonans

Richard III groat

Obverse reads: RICARD DI GRA REX ANGL Z FRANC.
Estimate: £1,500 – £1,800
Photo: © Noonans

Henry VII groat

Obverse reads: HENRIC DI GRA REX ANGL Z FRA
Estimate: £300 – £360
Photo: © Noonans

Henry VIII (first coinage) groat

Obverse reads: HENRIC VIII DI GRA REX AGL Z FR, with portrait of Henry VII
Estimate: £400 – £500
Photo: © Noonans

Henry VIII (second coinage) groat

Obverse reads: HENRIC VIII D G R AGL Z FR, with portrait of young Henry VIII
Estimate: £500 – £600
Photo: © Noonans

Henry VIII (third coinage) groat

Obverse reads: HENRIC 8 D G AGL FRA Z HIB REX, with Holbein’s portrait of an older Henry VIII
Estimate: £800 – £1,000
Photo: © Noonans

Henry VIII (posthumous) groat

Obverse reads: HENRIC 8 D G AGL FRA Z HIB REX. Reverse reads: CIVITAS CANTOR
Estimate: £300 – £360
Photo: © Noonans

Edward VI (first period) groat

Obverse reads: EDWARD 6 D G AG FRA Z HIB REX.
Estimate: £800 – £1,000
Photo: © Noonans

Mary, groat

Obverse reads: MARIA D G ANG FRA Z HIB REGI. Reverse reads: VERITAS TEMPORIS FILIA, literally “Truth is the daughter of time“, with the sense that the truth will emerge with the passage of time
Estimate: £500 – £700
Photo: © Noonans

Elizabeth I groat

Obverse reads: ELIZABETH I D G ANG FR ET HIB REGINA. Reverse reads: POSVI DEV ADIVTOREM MEV
Estimate: £500 – £600
Photo: © Noonans

Charles I groat

Obverse reads: CARLOS D G MAG BRI ET HIB REX. Reverse reads: CHRISTO AVSPICE REGNO
Estimate: £500 – £700
Photo: © Noonans

Charles I (Wellington) groat

Obverse reads: CARLOS D G MAG BRI FR ET HIB REX. Reverse reads: Wellington Declaration
Estimate: £800 – £1,000
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