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GM23359

Henry VIII silver Penny Sovereign type, Durham Mint, BishoP Thomas Wolsey

Henry VIII (1509-47), silver Penny, second coinage (1526-44), Sovereign type, Durham Mint, ecclesiastical issue under Bishop Thomas Wolsey, facing seated figure of King on throne with orb and sceptre, two pillars of throne visible, Latin legend and beaded border surrounding, initial mark trefoil (1526-29) both sides, .:h'x D'x G'x ROSA'x SIE'x SPIA'x, rev. long cross fourchee over quartered shield of arms, T to left, W to right, hat a bottom, Latin legend and beaded borders surrounding, .:CIVI TAS DVR RAm, weight 0.58g (N.1811; S.2352). Toned, some elements of design a little blundered with just some wear or weakness of strike to the tops of some letters, otherwise very fine for issue.

The abbreviated Latin legends translate as on the obverse "Henry, by the Grace of God, a rose without a thorn" and on the reverse "City of Durham."

Cardinal Thomas Wolsey (1473-1530) in a long career for Tudor times, became the closest advisor to King Henry VIII. Appointed Cardinal, Archbishop of York, Primate of England from 15th September 1514, as well as Bishop of Lincoln earlier the same year, his secular power again increased in 1523 when appointed Bishop of Durham. Wolsey became the Lord Chancellor from 1515 when the Archbishop of Canterbury William Warham resigned, now practically the most powerful man in England after the King he exercised his right to coinage as Archbishop of York as his predecessors had, his initials and cardinal hat appearing on the reverse on his Groats from 1526. The rare variety here being the rarest of all as it omits his initials. Wolseys fall from the Kings grace occurred from 1529 with the tardiness of his annulment of the Kings marriage to Catherin of Aragon, which displeased Anne Boleyn. The Kings confidence in Wolsey lost, he stripped him of his government office and property including Hampton Court, leaving him only with secular titles and as Archbishop of York where the Cardinal set out for soon after for the first time in his bishopric. However, when he reached Cawood in Yorkshire he was accused of Treason by Henry Percy 6th Earl of Northumberland, and ordered to return to London. He fell ill on the journey and died at Leicester on 29th November 1530 at the age of 57, he was buried in Leicester Abbey without a monument. Interestingly Wolsey had had a black sarcophagus made by Benedetto da Rovezzano and Giovanni da Maiano for eventual internment at Windsor, and King Henry VIII even contemplated using it for himself. However, it was eventually used for the resting place of Lord Nelson some 250 years later in the vault of St Pauls Cathedral.

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