FAQs

What makes a coin valuable?

Plus Icon

I have coins to sell, what’s the next step?

Plus Icon

How will my purchases be shipped?

Plus Icon

What happens if I’m not entirely happy with my purchase?

Plus Icon
HM32267

Edward III Noble, Calais Mint, type b, flag at stern, MS63

Regular price £27,500
Regular price Sale price £27,500

Edward III (1327-77), gold Noble, Calais Mint, Treaty Period (1361-69), group b with nothing before E of legend, King standing in ship with upright sword and quartered shield, English flag at stern of ship, beaded circle surrounding, ED WARDxx DEIxx GRAxxREXxx AnGLxx DnSxx hYBxZx AQ T', rev. C at centre of ornamental cross with lis terminals, crowns over lions in angles, all within a beaded and linear tressure, fleurs in spandrels, legend +IhCxx AVTEmxx TRAnSIEnSxx PERxx mEDIVxx ILLORVmxx IBAT, weight 7.72g (Schneider 97; N.1235; S.1504). Struck on a nice broad flan with an excellent portrait of the King, a super example of this variety of the Calais Mint, very rare this well preserved, has been graded and slabbed by NGC as MS63.

NGC certification 6769464-001.

The Calais Mint is depicted only by the letter C for Calais at the centre of the reverse on this coin as opposed to the majority which also have a flag at the stern of the ship. The abbreviated Latin legends translate as on the obverse "Edward by the Grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland and Aquitaine"; and on the reverse "But Jesus, passing through the midst of them, went His way" taken from the Bible.

This coin was struck in the period of the Treaty of Bretigny ratified on the 24th October 1360, at which point Edward III relaxed his claim to the French throne, so that he no longer styled himself as King of France in the Latin titles upon the coinage. This all changed in 1369 when the captive King John II died and his son became King Charles V of France continuing the 100 years War.

The moment John II ascended the French throne in 1350, his reign was marked by tension and conflict both within and outside of his vast kingdom. The Valois family's claim on the Kingdom of France had been disputed for decades at this point by rival claimants in the form of Charles II of Navarre and Edward III of England. Northern France was especially precarious for John "The Good", as provinces such as Normandy, Britanny, and Picardy maintained a high level of autonomy from the crown. The feudal system that dominated these regions resulted in the local aristocracy often threatening war in an attempt to hold sway over the King. Many nobles in this region, due to their close proximity to the Channel, also had closer economic and cultural ties to the English than their more southern-centric French counterparts.

The Hundred Years' War which took up the majority of the 14th and 15th centuries had often been described as a de facto civil war as opposed to a war between separate nations. The majority of those who fought in the Edwardian War (1337-60) were either Burgundian or Gascon who, despite fighting on behalf of the English claimant Edward III, were evidently fighting to further their own individual interests. After the French defeat at Crecy on the 26th August 1346 under John's father, Philip VI, as well as the loss of Calais to the English, the pressure built upon John to reclaim these territories and restore French military prestige.

After a long lull in fighting between the two Kingdoms - due largely to both economic strain as well as the devastating Black Death which spread across much of Europe in the mid-14th century - the War continued in the Spring of 1355. Despite the offer from John II to Edward III of continental French land, the English knew that any peace would only be temporary. In September, Edward the Black Prince, son of Edward III, led a joint English-Gascon attack across southwestern France. In retaliation, John led an army of 16,000 outnumbering the English by 10,000 at Poitiers on 19th September 1356. The ensuing battle on cold marshland however resulted in a phenomenal defensive victory for the foot soldiers of the Black Prince after panic was generated in the ranks of the French.

John is said to have surrendered to Edward by handing over his glove. The King was then adorned with every kind of courtesy befitting his title, with the Black Prince personally seeing that he was treated well and fairly. The two dined together on several occasions and were said to have conversed in French in a friendly manner. Once safe passage had been established, John was taken to Bordeaux, and from there taken back to England under the close protection from professional men-at-arms. In England he was held at the Savoy Palace for several weeks before being consistently moved to various locations in the English countryside to prevent a potential rescue attempt. Eventually he was settled in the Tower of London for nearly 4 years, where he enjoyed a near free reign of the castle. John's son, Philip, joined his father in London having himself been captured at Poitiers. By all accounts the King's exile was a lavish one, with account books showing regular purchases of silk, lace, cloth, horses, jewellery and even a personal astrologer and court band.

Nonetheless, the capture of a King was no laughing matter. John had the challenging task of trying to negotiate a peace treaty between England and France without the counsel of his ministers. Back in France, the Dauphin, Prince Charles, was struggling to negotiate on behalf of his father. The idea of launching a military campaign to recapture lost territory was met with disdain from the Estates General, who felt a depleted army without the leadership of their King would face an inevitable defeat. In the end, John was responsible for negotiating his own ransom and concessions. The Treaty of London was signed in 1358, which set the initial ransom at 4,000,000 Écus, which was a totally unachievable sum for the war-weary Kingdom. After the French failed to pay, the Treaty was rewritten in 1359 to include the secession of the majority of southwestern France. The Estates General unsurprisingly rejected this revised treaty, leading to another invasion of France by Edward the Black Prince in October of that year.

After a drawn out campaign, the English dominated (but never decisively defeated) the Dauphin's forces. A reduced ransom and smaller territorial concession was offered by Edward III, who set the price tag at £3,000,000, as well as just the regions of Aquitaine and Gascony near the modern-day Spanish border. The French reluctantly agreed, finally resulting in the signing of the Treaty of Bretigny in May 1360, later ratified on the 24th of October. John returned to France via the Dover-Calais crossing, where he was greeted by a delegation of English and French officials. As an insurance measure to make sure the ransom was paid in full, John offered two of his sons, Louis of Anjou and John of Berry.

Numismatically, the Treaty of Bretigny has a strong legacy on both sides. The period marked the first minting of the Franc, a gold coin approximately 3.8g in weight and with a high purity of at least 95% gold. Struck in Paris between 1360 and 1364, these coins made up the bulk of the coinage used to pay the ransom. This coin, which went on to act as the foundation of French currency for remainder of the middle ages, featured a militaristic design of John II on horseback bearing a sword on the obverse, and a compounded cross fleuroné in quadrilobe on the reverse. The reverse legend, allegedly chosen by John himself reads "Christ defeats, Christ rules, Christ commands." As they were minted in extremely large quantities, surviving examples are thankfully relatively easy to come by, with even the highest graded examples rarely breaking the €10,000 barrier.

In England, what became known as the 'Treaty Period' between 1360 and 1369 was marked by an increase in the production of Quarter, Half, and Full Nobles in the continental Calais mint, probably in reaction to the ransom payments received, the coins now with the omittance of the English claim to the French throne in the legend, replacing it instead with the Lord of Aquitaine title to acknowledge Edward's new addition to his Kingdom. For example, Nobles of Edward III prior to the Treaty of Bretigny read "E DWARD' DEI. GRA. REX. AИGL' Ƶ FRAИC' D hyB'," which translates as "Edward by the Grace of God, King of England, France and Ireland." After the treaty, the legend was altered to read "ED WARD: DEI GRA: REX: AnGL: DnS: hYB. Z. AQ T," which translates as "Edward by the Grace of God, King of England, Lord of Ireland and Aquitaine." This alteration in the legend lasted for the remainder of John II's life, before eventually being succeeded by his son Charles, who reneged on the Treaty of Bretigny and continued the Hundred Year's War. The Post-Treaty English coinage then revives the claim to the French throne resuming the title upon the coins.

FAQs

What makes a coin valuable?

Plus Icon

I have coins to sell, what’s the next step?

Plus Icon

How will my purchases be shipped?

Plus Icon

What happens if I’m not entirely happy with my purchase?

Plus Icon
1 of 4