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The Weight Standard of the English Coinage 1158-1279

The Weight Standard of the English Coinage 1158-1279

By Martin Allen

Numismatic Chronicle, Vol. 165 (2005)

Introduction: In 1279 ‘The Form of the New Money’ (Forma nove monete) and the indenture of William de Turnmire both described the weight standards of Edward I’s new coinage. 243 pennies were to be struck from a tower pound of silver (5,400 troy grains) and the new round farthing was to be made in slightly debased silver at a heavier standard. There are no descriptions of the standard before 1279, but mint accounts record an ‘increment’ beyond 240d. to the pound from the 1230s, and in 1259 there is the first clear evidence that the royal mints were using a standard of 242d., including an increment of 2d. An account from the ecclesiastical mint of Bury St Edmunds in 1256–8 provides slightly earlier evidence that the increment was 2d. in the pound. It is reasonable to assume that a standard of 242d. to the tower pound was employed from the introduction of the Long Cross coinage in 1247, and it has been suggested that this might also have been the standard during the production of the Short Cross coinage of 1180–1247. This note will argue that more than 242d. were struck from a tower pound in 1180–1247 and that the standard may have been 246d. per tower pound in this period.

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