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Penny of Edward III

This is another set of images that came in from Peter Vernon. They show a hammered silver penny, which was found a few months back by a detectorist named Colin.

The penny is a coin of Edward III and is certainly one of the best I have seen that dates from this reign. This Edward was on the throne for 50 years so there is much variation in his numerous coinages.

On the obverse is a large head and the surrounding legend reads +EDARDVS REX ANGLIE, with a saltire either side of REX. On the reverse we have a CIVI TAS LOn DOn legend, with a saltire before CIVI. Apart from the saltires there are no other distinguishing marks on this penny.

This coin was struck during the post-treaty period and Lord Stewartby (page 266 in English Coins 1180-1551) has it as type 2. In the Standard Catalogue it is number 1642.

Pennies of Edward III   

Peter Vernon said he had found lots of Edward I-II pennies but very few of Edward III. He asked if I could give a plausible reason for this. There are two main reasons: inflation and prosperity. The death toll due to the Black Death epidemic of 1348-49 led to demands for higher wages. The government tried hard to keep wages at the same level but demand from landowners for labour did cause an upward shift to payments. As is sometimes the case, rising prosperity across most sections of society also helped to fuel inflation. Prosperity and inflation seemed to jog along with the other.

The first groat was struck under Edward I but the denomination did not become common until the start of the fourth coinage of Edward III, which commenced in 1351. By then rising inflation coupled with increasing prosperity had created a greater need for higher denomination silver coins and a lesser need for pennies.  


On Colin’s penny the edge is slightly defective between the LOn and DOn quarters on the reverse but it is otherwise in good VF condition, which is way above average for the period. What would it be worth? Well, a collector who was really interested in high quality silver coins of Edward III should be willing to pay £220 for this one.

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