Here’s one of my untold stories. As a family, and when I was a teenager, we’d moved to a new home in Albrighton in southern Shropshire.
The unmade rear garden needed digging. My brother and I were to share the work. One day, when it had been my turn, and I’d been at the task for a while, I uncovered a small dull coin. Washing off the dirt, I soon realised it was an old silver coin, the vintage I couldn’t guess at.
The rest of the family weren’t around with whom to share my discovery. I imagine you know what happens next. Yes, I carried on digging over the ground, hoping to find more. Unfortunately none were found.
When the family returned, they were surprised at how much digging of the garden I’d accomplished. I said to my pater that I thought he’d planted the coin in the ground to encourage our efforts. It was a good story told be me at the local pub, where the coin was duly inspected by one and all.
Decades later, and I mean decades, the coin was passed to me. Only this time I determined to find out what it was. No better place to go than Spink & Son in London to unravel the coin’s heritage.
Shocked, I tell you, shocked. It’s a Henry VI silver Groat, issued at the Calais mint between 1422 – 1430. So, almost 600 years old. A groat was worth fourpence. It’s Spink catalogue no.1836, if you’d like to know more about it, with some photos HERE. The coin says on the front face, Henry, King of England and France. Oh, how we might that still wish to be the case.
Obverse: Crowned facing portrait of Henry VI, annulets at neck, legend around
Lettering: hEnRIC DI GRA REX AnGL Z FRANC
Translation: Henry, by the Grace of God, King of England and France
Reverse: Long cross with pellets in angles, annulets linking pellets in two opposing angles, legend around in two circles
Lettering: POSVI DEVM ADIVTORE MEUM
Translation: I have made God my helper Town of Calais
If you’re really, really, keen to know more about hammered groats, the THIS AUCTION CATALOGUE should be your source.