Angel (coin)

Last updated
Angel gold coin
Henry VIII Angel 2.jpg
The image of the Archangel Saint Michael slaying a dragon, the legend inscribed with HENRIC VIII DI GRA REX AGL & FRThe image of an English galley with the monogram 'H' and a rose set below the main topmast, the ship surmounted by a shield bering the King's arms, the legend inscribed PER CRVCE TVA SALVA NOS XPC REDE.
AV 29mm, 5.12 g, 8h. Mm: portcullis, London. First coinage, 1509-1526.

The angel was an English gold coin introduced by Edward IV in 1465. It was patterned after the French angelot or ange, which had been issued since 1340. The name derived from its representation of the archangel Michael slaying a dragon. As it was considered a new issue of the noble, it was also called the angel-noble. [1]

Contents

In 1472, the half-angel was introduced with a similar design weighing 40 grains (2.6 grammes) with a diameter of 20 to 21 millimetres.

Design

Obverse The Archangel Michael standing over a dragon (representing The Devil) and piercing it with a spear.

Reverse: Depicts a ship with the rays of the sun at the top of the cross-shaped masthead and an inescutcheon with the Royal Coat of Arms overall.
It was later replaced starting in the third coinage issue (1619-1624) of James I's reign with a galleon in a trian-aspect view (simulated three-dimensional rendering), a straight pillar-shaped masthead, and its sails decorated with the Stuart Royal Coat of Arms. It is also shown reversed, or depicted towards the dexter (i.e., facing the right-hand side of the heraldic field, or left-hand side of the coin).

Legend 1 (1344-1553): per cruce[m] tua[m] salva nos christe rede[mptor], Latin > "By Thy cross save us, Christ Redeemer."
Legend 2 (1553-1604): a domino factum est istud et est mirab[ile in oculis nostrum], Latin > "This was done by the Lord, and it is wondr[ous in our eyes]." Motto adopted by Mary I Tudor.
Legend 3 (1604-1624): a domino factum est istud, Latin > "This was done by the Lord". Truncated motto adopted by James I Stuart of England (James VI of Scotland).
Legend 4 (1625-1642): amor populi praesidium regis, Latin > "The love of the people is the protection of the king." Ironic motto adopted by Charles I Stuart.
Legend 5 (1660-1807): soli deo gloria, Latin > "To God alone the glory." Used on non-circulating gold-plated touchpieces by the reigning House of Stuart from 1660 to 1714 and the Jacobite pretenders in exile from 1689 to 1807.

Value

The angel varied in value from 6 shillings 8 pence to 11 shillings between Edward's reign and the time of James I.

It was last minted during the reign of Charles I in 1642 before the English Civil War (1642–1651). [1] [2] [3] It was not minted during the Commonwealth under the rule of the Cromwells as it was seen as impious and idolatrous. [4] In 1663, Charles II replaced the existing coinage with entirely new designs struck by machine ("milled"). The standard gold coin then became the Guinea.

Touch Pieces

In France and England there was a superstitious belief that the royal touch could cure scrofula, or "the king's evil". The kings of England often performed a ceremonial laying of hands on sufferers, and then gave each one a gold Angel coin.

After his execution in 1649, royalists believed that Angel coins that had been given to sufferers by the "martyred" King Charles I could miraculously cure scrofula. In 1660, Charles II began handing out gold-plated "touch-pieces" in the place of Angel coins. This was continued by his successors until the death of Queen Anne Stuart in 1714, though it was briefly halted from 1689 to 1702 by Queen Mary II Stuart and her co-regent William III of Orange. [5]

It was also practiced by the exiled James II Stuart and the other Jacobite pretenders after he was deposed in 1689. (The Jacobite touch pieces were plated in silver instead of gold as an economy measure.) They were last issued by the fourth and final direct Jacobite pretender, "Henry IX" Stuart (the Cardinal King) until his death in 1807. [6]

Social impact

The angel was such an iconic coin that many English pubs were named after it. The Angel Inn in Islington (after which the Angel tube station is named) was one of these.

The angel was traditionally given to sufferers of the disease known as "king's evil", in a mediaeval ceremony intended to heal them with the "royal touch". After it was no longer minted, medals with the same device (called touch pieces) were given instead. [1]

The 1610 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Glasgow was named after the coins. M'Crie wrote: "The bribery practised at this Assembly was shamefully notorious. Golden coins, called angels, were so plentifully distributed among the ministers, that it was called, by way of derision, the angelical Assembly." [7]

See also

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 EB (1911).
  2. Gold Pennies Florins Leopards Nobles Ryals & Angels
  3. Baker, Donald C. The `Angel' of English Renaissance Literature, Studies in the Renaissance, Vol. 6 (1959), pp. 85-93. Cambridge University Press
  4. Baker, Donald C. The `Angel' of English Renaissance Literature, Studies in the Renaissance, Vol. 6 (1959), pp. 85-93. Cambridge University Press
  5. Baker, Donald C. The `Angel' of English Renaissance Literature, Studies in the Renaissance, Vol. 6 (1959), pp. 85-93. Cambridge University Press
  6. Young, Francis. The Gold Angel: legendary coin, enduring amulet.
  7. M'Crie 1875.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coins of the pound sterling</span> British current and historic coinage

The standard circulating coinage of the United Kingdom, British Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories is denominated in pennies and pounds sterling, and ranges in value from one penny sterling to two pounds. Since decimalisation, on 15 February 1971, the pound has been divided into 100 (new) pence. Before decimalisation, twelve pence made a shilling, and twenty shillings made a pound.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Noble (English coin)</span> 14th/15th-century English gold coin

The noble was the first English gold coin produced in quantity, introduced during the second coinage (1344–1346) of King Edward III. It was preceded by the gold penny and the florin, minted during the reign of King Henry III and the beginning of the reign of King Edward III; these saw little circulation. The derivatives of the noble, the half noble and quarter noble, on the other hand, were produced in quantity and were very popular.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">History of the English penny (1603–1707)</span>

The history of the English penny from 1603 to 1707 covers the period of the House of Stuart, up to the Acts of Union of 1707 which brought about the Union of the Kingdom of England with the Kingdom of Scotland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Threepence (British coin)</span> Former coin of the United Kingdom and other territories

The British threepence piece, usually simply known as a threepence, thruppence, or thruppenny bit, was a denomination of sterling coinage worth 180 of one pound or 14 of one shilling. It was used in the United Kingdom, and earlier in Great Britain and England. Similar denominations were later used throughout the British Empire and Commonwealth countries, notably in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The Spur Royal was an extremely rare English gold coin issued in the reign of King James I. The coin is a development of the earlier Rose Noble, or Ryal which was worth ten shillings when issued by Kings Edward IV and Henry VII, and fifteen shillings when issued by Queens Mary and Elizabeth I.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Guinea (coin)</span> British gold coin minted between 1663 and 1814

The guinea was a coin, minted in Great Britain between 1663 and 1814, that contained approximately one-quarter of an ounce of gold. The name came from the Guinea region in West Africa, from where much of the gold used to make the coins was sourced. It was the first English machine-struck gold coin, originally representing a value of 20 shillings in sterling specie, equal to one pound, but rises in the price of gold relative to silver caused the value of the guinea to increase, at times to as high as thirty shillings. From 1717 to 1816, its value was officially fixed at twenty-one shillings.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Half guinea</span>

The half guinea gold coin of the Kingdom of England and later of Great Britain was first produced in 1669, some years after the Guinea entered circulation. It was officially eliminated in the Great Recoinage of 1816, although, like the guinea, it was used in quoting prices until decimalisation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rose Ryal</span>

The Rose Ryal is a gold coin of the Kingdom of England issued in the reign of King James I and is now very rare. The coin is really a two-ryal coin worth thirty shillings and is a development of the earlier fine sovereign of Queen Elizabeth I.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Unite (English coin)</span>

The unite was the second English gold coin first produced during the reign of King James I. It was named after the legends on the coin indicating the king's intention of uniting his two kingdoms of England and Scotland. The unite was valued at twenty shillings until 1612 when the increase in the value of gold throughout Europe caused it to be raised to twenty-two shillings. The coin was produced during James I's second coinage (1604–1619), and it was replaced in the third coinage by the Laurel worth twenty shillings. All the coins were produced at the Tower Mint in London.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mycobacterial cervical lymphadenitis</span> Human medical condition

The disease mycobacterial cervical lymphadenitis, also known as scrofula and historically as king's evil, involves a lymphadenitis of the cervical lymph nodes associated with tuberculosis as well as nontuberculous (atypical) mycobacteria.

<i>Nemo me impune lacessit</i> Latin motto of the Royal Stuart dynasty of Scotland

Nemo me impune lacessit was the Latin motto of the Royal Stuart dynasty of Scotland from at least the reign of James VI when it appeared on the reverse side of merk coins minted in 1578 and 1580. It is the adopted motto of the Order of the Thistle and of three Scottish regiments of the British Army. The motto also appears, in conjunction with the collar of the Order of the Thistle, in later versions of the royal coat of arms of the Kingdom of Scotland and subsequently in the version of the royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom used in Scotland. It has been loosely rendered in Scots as Wha daur meddle wi' me?. It is also alternatively translated into English as No one can harm me unpunished.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Half crown (British coin)</span> Former coin of the United Kingdom and other territories

The British half crown was a denomination of sterling coinage worth 18 of one pound, or two shillings and six pence, or 30 (old) pence. The half crown was first issued in 1549, in the reign of Edward VI. No half crowns were issued in the reign of Mary, but from the reign of Elizabeth I half crowns were issued in every reign except that of Edward VIII, until the coins were discontinued in 1970.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pound Scots</span> Currency in the Kingdom of Scotland until 1707

The pound was the currency of Scotland prior to the 1707 Treaty of Union between the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England, which created the Kingdom of Great Britain. It was introduced by David I, in the 12th century, on the Carolingian monetary system of a pound divided into 20 shillings, each of 12 pence. The Scottish currency was later devalued relative to sterling by debasement of its coinage. By the time of James III, one pound Scots was valued at five shillings sterling.

The pound is the currency of the Isle of Man, at parity with sterling. The Manx pound is divided into 100 pence. Notes and coins, denominated in pounds and pence, are issued by the Isle of Man Government.

From c. 1124 until 1709 the coinage of Scotland was unique, and minted locally. A wide variety of coins, such as the plack, bodle, bawbee, dollar and ryal were produced over that time. For trading purposes coins of Northumbria and various other places had been used before that time; and since 1709 those of the Kingdom of Great Britain, and then of the UK.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Royal touch</span> Healing power supposedly possessed by monarchs

The royal touch was a form of laying on of hands, whereby French and English monarchs touched their subjects, regardless of social classes, with the intent to cure them of various diseases and conditions. The thaumaturgic touch was most commonly applied to people suffering from tuberculous cervical lymphadenitis, and exclusively to them from the 16th century onwards. The disease rarely resulted in death and often went into remission on its own, giving the impression that the monarch's touch cured it. The claimed power was most notably exercised by monarchs who sought to demonstrate the legitimacy of their reign and of their newly founded dynasties.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Touch piece</span>

A touch piece is a coin or medal believed to cure disease, bring good luck, influence people's behaviour, carry out a specific practical action, etc.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Shilling (British coin)</span> Former official unit of currency of the United Kingdom and other territories

The British shilling, abbreviated "1/-", was a unit of currency and a denomination of sterling coinage worth 120 of one pound, or twelve pence. It was first minted in the reign of Henry VII as the testoon, and became known as the shilling, from the Old English scilling, sometime in the mid-16th century. It circulated until 1990. The word bob was sometimes used for a monetary value of several shillings, e.g. "ten-bob note". Following decimalisation on 15 February 1971 the coin had a value of five new pence, and a new coin of the same value but labelled as "five new pence" or "five pence" was minted with the same size as the shilling until 1990, after which the shilling no longer remained legal tender. It was made from silver from its introduction in or around 1503 until 1946, and thereafter in cupronickel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Penny (British pre-decimal coin)</span> Former denomination of sterling coinage

The British pre-decimal penny was a denomination of sterling coinage worth 1240 of one pound or 112 of one shilling. Its symbol was d, from the Roman denarius. It was a continuation of the earlier English penny, and in Scotland it had the same monetary value as one pre-1707 Scottish shilling. The penny was originally minted in silver, but from the late 18th century it was minted in copper, and then after 1860 in bronze.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sovereign (English coin)</span>

The sovereign was a gold coin of the Kingdom of England first issued in 1489 under King Henry VII. While the coin typically had a nominal value of one pound sterling and one Shilling, or twenty one shillings, the sovereign was primarily an official piece of bullion and had no mark of value on its face. Nonetheless, it was the country's first coin to be valued at one pound and one shilling

References