The North Yorkshire Moors Collection of British Coins & Tokens formed by Marvin Lessen (29 January 2020)

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Date of Auction: 29th January 2020

Sold for £1,600

Estimate: £1,000 - £1,500

Henry VIII (1509-1547), First coinage, Groat, Tournai, mm. crowned cursive T, reads aglie, civitas tornacen’, 2.67g/11h (Hoc 214, same rev. die; Hewlett 2; Laker B; N –; S 2317). Edge chipped at 12 and 6 o’clock (perhaps removed from an old mount at some time), otherwise very fine and with a good portrait, rare £1,000-£1,500


Provenance: SNC April 1987 (2217).

The siege and capture of Tournai in September 1513 marked the end of Henry's military campaigns in France. The decision was taken to crown the achievement with a special issue of groats and halfgroats, to the same weight and fineness as contemporary English issues, and a commission authorising the striking of coinage at Tournai was dated 7 March 1514. It is thought that the total issue, which amounted to 2,381lb, was coined in a matter of 3 or 4 weeks; the dies were prepared by Henry Basse, a London goldsmith who was later to become chief engraver at the Tower. At more or less the same time, French gros à l’écu were also produced, probably by local craftsmen, within the Tournai mint. Upkeep of the garrison and fortifications at Tournai proved to be horrendously expensive and, in 1518, the city was restored to France following the Treaty of London