Medieval English Hammered Farthings: Henry VIII - Canterbury

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This online guide is designed to help

  • Metal Detector enthusiasts
  • Museum Curators
  • Coin Dealers & Collectors
accurately identify and classify their English Hammered Farthings.


Henry VII accumulated an enormous wealth and it took Henry VIII many years to squander it. Only when his resources were nearly depleted did Henry VIII seek easy solutions to guarding English coinage against competitive foreign currencies - the debasement of his coinage. Gold was reduced to 0.83 fineness and silver eventually to 0.33 fineness. One major design change was the introduction of the portcullis/rose farthing as a means of differentiating between the farthing and the diminutive half-penny. The Hammered Silver Farthings of Henry VIII are all extremely rare - and those of the Canterbury mint excessively so.

The Canterbury mint was the ecclesiastic mint of the Archbishop of York, Thomas Cranmer.².

Henry VIII Farthing CanterburyHenry VIII Farthing Canterbury

Date: 1526-1544
Mint: Canterbury

Diameter: 9mm
Weight: 0.16g (2½ grains¹)

Obverse: RVTILANS ROSA around a Portcullis
    Mint mark: Catherine Wheel
    Legend translated:
        A dazzling Rose

    Rose on "Long Cross"
    Legend translated:
        By the Grace of God

Scarcity: Extremely Rare

Guide Price:
  £550 (Fine)
  £1200 (Very Fine)

  Provenance: Found at Canterbury, 1987. Was published in Numismatic
  Circular, September 1987, p.218.

¹ SEABY, BA. (ed) 1948: Notes on English Silver Coins 1066-1648 to
  help collectors in their classification
(London, Seaby). pp 87

² WHITTON, CA. 1950-52: 'The Coinage of Henry VIII and Edward VI in
  Henry's Name' BNJ 26, p. 56-89, 171-212, 290-332.

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