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Quarter Noble of Henry IV

Henry V quarter noble of class C

Maurice Sanderson said he unearthed this hammered gold coin during March of 2022. It was identified as a Henry V quarter noble of class C and I was asked if I agreed with this ID. Well, first of all, I can say that this coin proved to be far from straightforward.

On the obverse the legend reads +hEnRIC DI GRA REX AnGLI with double saltires as stops. In the centre is a shield of arms with what looks like a slipped trefoil (a trefoil with a stalk) above and at either side. The surrounding tressure has an annulet on each cusp.

Within the inner circle on the reverse is is a floriated cross with a fleur de lis at each end. The central panel has a trefoil with a pellet centre on each tip and a large pellet in the centre. The initial cross at the start of both legends is a cross pattee with nothing in the centre.

In English Coins 1180 -1551 Lord Stewartby lists only one variety for series C of Henry V. The legend is given as hEnRIC REX AnGL & FRANC and it has a broken annulet to the left and a cinquefoil to the right of the shield.

In volume I of English Hammered Coinage J. J. North lists more varieties but does not include one with a pellet in the centre of the reverse. However, some earlier quarter nobles of Henry IV do have a pellet in the centre of the reverse.

Continental imitation

The Standard Catalogue includes two varieties for Henry V series C (1755 and 1756), neither of which match this coin.
I looked at images of a large number of Henry V quarter nobles but failed to trace an example of a specimen with the combination of marks listed above. Could the coin be a contemporary forgery? Well, Continental imitations are known of hammered gold coins of this period. However, the general style of this coin is excellent and all the details suggest that it is perfectly genuine.

Quarter noble of Henry IV

After studying the coin for quite some time my conclusion was that this quarter noble was more likely to be a coin of Henry IV. This switch in focus gained a positive result.

A coin with the same combination of marks (annulets on the cusps on the obverse, slipped trefoils by the shield and a large pellet in the centre of the reverse) was offered for sale during 2011 by a leading London auctioneer. Everything was the same as the coin under discussion but it might have been struck from a different set of dies. The sale catalogue suggested it was a mule of a Henry IV light coinage obverse combined with a heavy coinage reverse. It was described as a new variety and apparently the only known specimen.

Therefore, it would seem that instead of being a class C quarter noble of Henry V, the coin found by Maurice is an excessively rare coin of Henry IV. This, of course, would mean that it would be of great interest to specialist collectors of English hammered gold coins.

The coin looks as if it would grade about VF but it has dirt in the crevices, so its eye appeal would be enhanced were it subjected to professional cleaning.

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