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GM24400

Richard II Halfpenny, London Mint, intermediate type, Roman Ns on reverse

Richard II (1377-99), silver Halfpenny, London Mint, intermediate facing crowned bust, beaded circles and legend surrounding, +RICARD'x REXxx ANGL', rev. long cross pattee, tri-pellets in angles, beaded circles and legend around, CIVI TAS LON DON, weight 0.60g (Withers type I b(i); N.1331b; S.1698/1699). Scuffed in parts, unevenly toned, a bold very fine, with a nice clear reverse and rare with normal Roman Ns.

The Latin abbreviated legend translates as "Richard, King of the English" and on the reverse "City of London."

Young Richard II succeeded as King after the death of his Grandfather Edward III on 21st June 1377 aged 10. His Father was Edward the Black Prince who had pre-deceased his own Father from dysentery on 8th June 1376. His mother was Joan of Kent who was his Father's cousin married 10th October 1361 and Richard was the second son born 6th January 1367, his elder brother having died aged six in January of 1371. Richard succeeded under the regency councils led by uncles John of Gaunt and Thomas of Woodstock, and a few years later on 20th January 1382 he married Anne of Bohemia paying 20,000 florins to her brother King Wenceslaus IV in return for her hand in marriage. They had no children and twelve years later Anne died probably from the plague on 7th June 1394. Richard then went on to marry the six year old Isabella of Valois in 1396, however Richard was deposed in 1399 before any question of children for the line of succession was possible.

The biggest challenges in his reign were the continuing Hundred Years War and the Peasants Revolt of 1381 in which the young King played a major part in suppressing the crisis. Wat Tyler raised an uprising based on socio-economic tensions caused by a combination of Black Death plague and increased taxes to pay towards war with France. The final straw being a poll tax collection by John Brampton in the Brentwood area of Essex on 30th May 1381 ending in violence and causing rebels to march on London to cause further havoc. 14 year old Richard retreated to the Tower as there were few soldiers in London at the time due to the French campaigns. Richard met the rebels and agreed terms but a further skirmish the next day resulted in the death of Tyler and gave time to raise a militia against the rebellion, and within a few months the revolt was settled with most of the leaders tracked down and executed, reports say 1,500 rebels were dead by November of 1381. For the next six years Richard tried to find a way to end the war in France and relied heavily on a small group of courtiers which eventually caused discontent at aristocratic levels. A group named the Lords Appellant therefore took control of government in 1387, though by 1389 Richard had regained control and ruled in harmony until he turned in 1397, taking revenge on these Lords exiling or executing them, and the tyrannous ways then continued till he was deposed. John of Gaunt died in 1399 and his son Henry Bolingbroke who had been exiled invaded England in June 1399 with a small force which grew as he traversed the country and met with little resistance. Henry deposed Richard who formerly surrendered to abdicate at Flint Castle in Wales on 19th August 1399 and had himself crowned King, and it is thought Richard later starved to death in captivity.

Capital City London upon the River Thames following Roman occupation, minted some of the earliest Saxon coins with gold Thrymsas and silver denarii with a "Londuniu" signature. Mercian Kings beginning with Offa minted coins there, but the first coin to actually say City of London upon it is the unique Ludica portrait Penny that was found in 2016, followed by subsequent coins of Ecgberht. In 871 the Danes wintered in London for the first time but was King Alfred of Wessex who settled and fortified the capital circa 880 to resist further invasions. Edward the Elder incorporated the City in Wessex in 911 and it resisted a major attack in the reign of Aethelred II in 1009. However, London submitted to the Danish Swein in 1013, but three years later the citizens accepted Eadmund Ironside as King and resisted a siege by Canute.

Later unsettled times occurred in the anarchy period of the reign of King Stephen, remaining loyal to the King except for a few months in 1141 when Empress Matilda was admitted but within a short time expelled. Coinage activity here has been mostly constant throughout history from the Romans until the reign of our current Queen and only moving out to Wales from 1969.

Provenance:

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

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