Edward III, Plantagenet King 1327-1377
Fourth coinage, Pre-Treaty period of 1351-1361. During this reign, gold was regularly minted for money for the first time since the seventh century, in large part in order to facilitate the flourishing wool trade with the Continent. The earliest coins, such as the Double-leopard in this collection, were almost all melted in favor of sizes and denominations easily exchanged abroad. The first Nobles and their fractions also disappeared soon after being issued, as they contained too much gold for their stated values. By 1351, weights consistent with easy exchange emerged from the mint. Each new noble showed an image of the king standing in a ship, crowned and wearing armor, and facing the viewer. The king held a sword and a large shield, identifying him as English. The reverse side displayed a central cross with elaborate royal symbols. The legends on each side became long sets of abbreviations of royal titles and religious sayings taken from the Bible, intended to inspire loyalty and faith.