Edward III Penny




Julie Shoemark

This week’s #FindsFriday is a rather worn penny from the reign of Edward III. Medieval silver coins were struck in low relief, so they tend to wear very heavily. This can make them difficult to identify.

Edward’s 50-year reign saw wars with France and Scotland, attempted coups, an outbreak of the Black Death and domestic strife. And as the economic and social situation changed, multiple issues of coinage were produced.

Coinage of Edward III’s reign is divided broadly by coins struck before the Treaty of Brétigny in 1360 and those struck after. This penny is from Edward’s fourth ‘pre-treaty coinage’ and dates to c.AD1351–1361. At this time, coinage saw a reduction in weight across denominations and the addition of two new denominations: the groat and half groat. People were expected to exchange the older, heavier coinage for its smaller equivalent.

Although the legend on the reverse of this coin is largely worn away, in the centre we can just about see a quatrefoil, an element of the design specific to coins minted at York. Handily, the remaining part of the reverse inscription reads ‘EBOR’, which is the first part of the word Eboracum – the Latin name for the city of York.


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