Country: England, Medieval
King (reign): Richard II (1377 - 1399)
Denomination/metal: Gold Noble
Date/mint mark: mm. cross pattee; 1377 - 1399
Type Second Issue (French Titles omitted), Type 2b.
Ref. no: Schneider 150 var; N 1304; S 1655.
Obv. King in ship holding shield of Royal Arms and sword, Ropes – 3/1, saltire stops, Slipped trefoil above sail, 'RICARD' DEI GRA' REX ANGL DNS hYB' S AQT' . Rev. Cross fleureee with 'R' in centre and crowned lions 'passant guardant' in angles, 'Ih'C AVTEM TRANSIENS PER MEDIV ILLORVM' IBAT' (But Jesus, passing through the midst of them, went on his way)
34mm, 7.64g. GVF - Good Very Fine or better, attractively toned
Very good example of these scarce nobles of Richard II. Virtually no wear - probably an field find – it shows signs of minor superficial scuffs from being against soil particles in the ground. What is particularly interesting in this piece is that it reveals that the obverse die was rusty when the coin was struck (small pimples in the field reflecting the pitting on the die face). This can only mean that it was used a few years after being made. There is no overall, systematic classifications of the gold coins of Richard II although Web-Ware is working on one. Consequently it is not yet possible to say when in Richard's reign this coin was struck – other than to say that as the obverse die rusted which would have taken some time, not at the beginning of his reign. Richard II, born in 1367, was the son of Edward, the Black Prince and Joan, the Fair Maid of Kent. Richard was but ten years old when he succeeded his grandfather, Edward III; England was ruled by a council under the leadership of John of Gaunt, and Richard was tutored by Sir Simon Burley. Contemporary writers, even those less sympathetic to the king, agreed that Richard was a "most beautiful king", though with a "face which was white, rounded and feminine", implying he lacked manliness. He was athletic and tall; when his tomb was opened in 1871 he was found to be six feet tall. He was also intelligent and well read, and when agitated he had a tendency to stammer. While the Westminster Abbey portrait probably shows a good similarity of the king, the Wilton Diptych portrays the king as significantly younger than he was at the time; it must be assumed that he had a beard by this point. Religiously, he was orthodox, and particularly towards the end of his reign he became a strong opponent of the Lollard heresy. He was particularly devoted to the cult of Edward the Confessor, and around 1395 he had his own arms impaled with the mythical arms of the Confessor. Though not a warrior king like his grandfather, Richard nevertheless enjoyed tournaments, as well as hunting.