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Sovereign type penny of Henry VIII

This very nice hammered silver coin was found recently by Anthony Hopkinson. I was asked if it was a coin of Henry VII or Henry VIII and what the initials on the reverse stood for.

The coin is a sovereign type penny, on which the obverse legend starts with h D G so it was struck during the second coinage of Henry VIII. The mint mark is a star, which is on the obverse only. On the reverse the legend reads CIVI TAS DVR RAM, so it was struck at Durham.

The shield of arms on the reverse has C to the left and D to the right, which stand for Cuthbert of Durham. Therefore, this penny was struck for the profit of Cuthbert Tunstall when he was Bishop of Durham. In the Standard Catalogue pennies of this type are listed as number 2354.

Sovereign type pennies of both Henry VII and Henry VIII are rarely well struck. The flans are often too small for the dies and off-set strikes are common. This coin is way above average for the generic type. It is round, well struck and overall it would grade about VF. It’s not only an attractive detecting find, it would also be a welcome addition to the collection of any numismatist specialising in English hammered coins.

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