Half Crown <<-- : -->> 4s, 50d and 4s6d
Values of 3s (36d), 40d and 45d
Pictures of 3s, Half Nobles (40d) and Half Angels (45d)
In 1344 Edward III issued a series of gold coins, the florin, worth six shillings, the quarter florin or helm, and the half-florin, which was worth thirty six pence, and was called a leopard as the obverse showed a leopard wearing a banner or cape showing the royal arms, and the reverse had a royal cross with a leopard in each quarter.
It should be mentioned that in heraldic terms a leopard is actually a lion walking left with head facing. It certainly is not spotted! The English crest of three leopards is thus really three lions.
In heraldic terms the lion is as on the Scottish crest, standing on its rear legs.
However, the issue was withdrawn in August 1344 as it proved unacceptable on account of the incorrect amount of gold used (there was less than eighteen pence worth in it). They were melted down, and survivors are extremely rare, neither Seaby nor Coincraft being prepared to put a value on them.
The history of this token is very much as for the Eighteen Pence Bank Token issued at the same time.
In the later part of the reign of George III the price of silver was high and there was an acute shortage of silver coins available for circulation.
The Bank of England took steps to remedy this situation by issuing tokens of value three shillings and eighteenpence during 1811, and for the following years up until 1816. During the latter year the Great Recoinage took place, and after 1820 they were only accepted as bullion.
During 1812 the type changed, with a larger bust of the King, and a change to the reverse.
All issues are reasonably common with the exception of 1816, the last year of issue, which is very scarce. There are some rare proofs as well.
Besides the three shillings and eighteenpence tokens, a scarce ninepence pattern also exists, but is not listed separately as it was never issued for circulation.
The half noble of value forty pence was first produced during the reign of Edward III in 1346, a couple of years after the introduction of the noble and the quarter noble. The design, with the King holding a sword and a shield aboard a ship on the obverse, and an ornate cross on the reverse, remained in use until about 1470.
Problems over the price of gold resulted in a number of weight reductions, from about 64 grains to 60 grains in 1351, and to 54 grains in 1412. The supply of gold dwindled during the first reign of Henry VI and half-nobles issued after 1430 are extremely rare.
After 1464 the value of half-nobles was raised to 50 pence.
Although no coin of value one mark or 160 pence (13s 4d) was ever issued, the mark was popularly used as money of account. A coin of forty pence, being a quarter of a mark, was much liked by merchants. As a result, when the half-noble was raised in value, a new coin, the half-angel, was made to take its place. This coin, weighing 40 grains, first appeared in 1470 during the second reign of Henry VI, and was sometimes called an angelet. The name comes from the portrait of St Michael killing a dragon on the obverse.
Issues between 1473 and 1485 are exceedingly rare. A coin of Henry VI struck at Bristol with a B mintmark is thought to be unique.
The denomination remained at the same weight and value until 1526, when they were increased to 45 pence, and further to 48 pence in 1544. This value-increasing process continued in later reigns.
When the value of the Half-Angel was raised in 1526, a new coin, the half-George-Noble, was issued, but only a single specimen has survived.
After 1526 the value of the half angel was increased from 40 to 45 pence, at which level it remained until 1544.
See my Main Coins Index page for acknowledgements. My thanks to Pete Day for the image of the half noble.
Half Crown <<-- :
-->> 4s, 50d and 4s6d
Values of Three Shilling bank tokens
Pictures of Half Nobles and Half Angels
Help and Advice
Coins of the UK - 3s, 40d and 45d
Copyright reserved by the author, Tony Clayton
v26 4th March 2015