Unique Silver double-penny, minted during the reign of Henry III believed to
have been struck around 1247 as a pattern or test piece which was struck from
ordinary penny dies of the time and not from specially prepared dies. There was
no documentary authority for such a coin, and nothing else aside from its weight
and slightly larger diameter would have distinguished it from an ordinary penny
during the era.
The obverse of the coin features a facing crowned bust of Henry III
with his sceptre with the legend “HENRICUS REX III”.
Henry became king at the age of nine in 1216, and whose reign is the fifth longest in
English history at 56 years, 19 days. The reverse of the coin shows a long
cross design, introduced onto silver penny pieces around 1247. The cross
is surrounded with the inscription “WILLEM ON CANT” which identifies the
moneyer’s name and mint location, Canterbury.
This coin was known to have been offered at a Sotheby’s auction almost 100
years ago in 1920 when it was sold for the princely sum of £250 – which
would have been equal to nearly £11,000 today according to the Bank of
England’s inflation calculator. Most recently, the coin was auctioned by
Sotheby’s as part of the Stack Collection in 1999 when Coincraft bought the
piece and later sold it to a private collector. The historic silver piece
weighs 43.8 grains of silver (2.83 grams) double that of an ordinary silver
penny of that era with a diameter of 22.3 mm. and is graded Good Very Fine.
It has traces of having been previously mounted, possibly to wear as
jewelry and includes contemporary gilding on both sides. For the price of
£24,500 you can own a piece of English numismatic history like no other