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 coin.
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