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GM24411

Henry VI, Penny, Rosette-Mascle issue, York Mint, mullets by crown

Henry VI, first reign (1422-61), silver long cross Penny, York Mint, Rosette-Mascle issue (1430-31), ecclesiastical issue under Archbishop John Kemp, facing crowned bust in beaded circle, mullet either side of crown, initial mark cross patonce, legend surrounding, beaded outer border,+hEnRICVSx REX◊ AnGLIE, rev. long cross pattée, voided quatrefoil with pellet at centre, tri-pellets in each inner angle, beaded circles and legend around, CIVI TAS EBO RACI, weight 0.98g (N.1451iii; S.1868). Toned, struck unevenly and short of flan, with bold definition, good very fine for issue and as good as the cataloguer can recall seeing for this rare variety.

The Latin abbreviated legend translates as "Henry, King of the England" and on the reverse "City of York."

Henry was born on the 6th December 1421 and became the infant King of England, the youngest person ever, on the 1st September 1422 and after the death of his maternal grandfather Charles VI on 21st October 1422, the disputed King of France which he reigned over until 19th October 1453. Henry is the only King in British history to be also crowned King of France, his English coronation being on 6th November 1429 at the age of 8 and the French coronation at Notre Dame, Paris on 16th December 1431 age 10. The early part of his reign was governed by a Regency Council of eighteen led by his uncle John Duke of Bedford, but dominated by his uncle Humphrey Duke of Gloucester (who became Lord Protector) and Bishop Henry Beaufort. Having inherited the War in France from his Father, this council soon became split and by 1429 with the rise of a resurgent French army led by Joan of Arc, and the crowning of the Dauphin as Charles VII at Reims and with the French gaining the upper hand, a peace party emerged under the now Cardinal Beaufort, as war was such a drain on resources. A further blow was the loss of the support of Burgundy upon the death of Anne of Burgundy, the former wife of John Duke of Bedford, in 1432 and his subsequent marriage to Jacquetta of Luxembourg. A conference was arranged at Arras in 1435 but the Duke of Bedford died just before it took place, and his replacement Richard Duke of York did not favour the peace policy. By the time Henry came of age at 16 and was crowned again at Merton Priory on 1st November 1437, he entered the fray at the worst time possible with rivalries amongst the council of nobles, massive war debts leading to the economic "great Slump" in England and coupled with a lack of leadership in the French territories, which were slowly becoming French again to the extent that Henry was left with only Calais as of 1453, having lost the Duchy of Aquitaine in 1451 and Bordeaux, despite having married the strong willed Margaret of Anjou in 1445 in an attempt at brokering peace. Margaret became more of a power behind the throne, and they had one son Edward of Lancaster on 13th October 1453. Discontent in England was growing not helped by Henry suffering episodes of mental breakdown, the Duke of York returned from Ireland in 1452 to take his place on council to put an end to bad government, but through the intervention of Margaret the Duke was isolated and it was when King Henry regained his senses around Christmas of 1454 that the Wars of the Roses gained momentum. Earls Warwick and Salisbury backed the Duke of York claiming his better ascendency from Edward III should give him control of government, and later from 1460 as King. Tensions continued between the Lancastrians and the Yorkists and Henry created the Council of Wales and the Marches for his son Edward in 1458, but by 1460 all out war broke out, with the Battle of Northampton on 10th July of that year capturing Henry, though Margaret escaped to Scotland with Prince Edward to recoup and gain support there, which led to the Battle of Wakefield on 30th December 1460 when York fell. This led on to the Battle of St Albans on 17th February 1461 where Warwick the captor of the King was defeated liberating Henry. The next engagement was the violent Battle of Towton on 29th March 1461 where the King and Queen were defeated by the Duke of York's son Edward, escaping to Scotland again to gain more support, with Margaret travelling on to France to encourage even more. Despite further unsuccessful skirmishes in succeeding years in the north of England it was after the Battle of Hexham on 15th May 1464 that the now fugitive King Henry was captured on 13th July 1464 and sent to the Tower of London. Queen Margaret was determined to win back the throne for her husband, and after Edward IV fell out with his younger brother George Duke of Clarence and Richard Neville Earl of Warwick, she formed a secret alliance with them urged by Louis XI of France. The Earl of Warwick married his daughter Anne to Margaret and Henry's son Edward, and then forced Edward into exile and restored Henry VI to the throne on 3rd October 1470 as the "readeption" though Warwick and Clarence effectively ruled in Henry's name. The rulership only lasted six months as Warwick declared war on Burgundy causing Charles the Bold to support and give assistance to Edward IV, killing Warwick at the Battle of Barnet on 14th April 1471, reconciling with the Duke of Clarence, and directly leading to the decisive Battle of Tewkesbury on 4th May 1471, where Henry's son Edward of Westminster was killed. Henry was imprisoned in the tower and was dead by the 21st May 1471. He was buried at Chertsey Abbey, later moved by order of Richard III to St George's Chapel Windsor.

The City of York at the junction of the River Foss and River Ouse, about 190 miles north-west of London has been an archbishopric since 753 with some gold Thrymsa coins being produced. It was the early minting place of coins of the Kings of Northumbria in both copper and silver as well as the Archbishops of York. The mint name first appears on some of the occupational Viking coinages making the city their capital from 867. In 919 the city passed to the Hiberno-Norse Kings of Dublin and back to the English in 927 when taken from Guthfrith. Between 939 and 943 the Vikings were back in town and again from 947-954 but otherwise remained under English rule with the Norman castle even holding out to a Saxon/Danish occupation in 1069 being relieved by William I who built a second castle on the right bank of the Ouse, the City having been burnt. As soon as William departed the Vikings returned but upon William's return they fled back to their ships and the Normans harried Yorkshire. Later minting activity occurs from the reign of Aethelstan onward, incorporating Viking Kings of York coinage, through a long period right through to King Edward VI, as well as a Civil War Mint for King Charles I and a branch mint for the milled recoinage of William III.

Provenance:

Ex Classical Numismatic Group, purchased 26th June 2000 via Studio Coins.

Ex Collection of an English Doctor part III, Sovereign Rarities fixed price list online September 2022.

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