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Perkin Warbeck 1494
pretender to the English throne

   


1494 GROAT [4d.] Silver
A British Rarity
Perkin Warbeck pretender to the English throne,
(1474 – executed 23 November  1499)
1494, m.m. lion, crowned arms with crowned lis and rose at sides, within tressure, domine salvvm fac regem, rev., crown above lis and lion, rose below, within tressure, mani teckel phares 1494, double saltire stops (N.1758; MI.21/3), struck on a small flan (as usual), an excellent example, near extra fine, extremely rare 

Perkin Warbeck, claiming to be Richard, Duke of York, the brother of Edward V, tried to invade England three times. He was finally captured near London and was executed in 1499.

These extremely rare pieces, of which around 12 examples are known, are believed to emanate from the Burgundian Low Countries. They carry the royal arms of England and, although anonymous, have generally been accepted as being associated with Warbeck. The date, 1494, the legend, on one side a version of the writing on the wall at Belshazzar's feast (seemingly a threat to Henry VII) and on the other the Latin equivalent of 'O God, save the King' (a reference to the pretender) and the general resemblance of the obverse to a description of a seal of Warbeck's strengthen the attribution.

The average weight of the extant examples is around 60 grains, in contrast to the 48 grain standard for the contemporary English groat, and the existence of only one pair of dies suggest that they were not a serious exercise in finance, but they may well have been struck in the run up to Warbeck's 'invasion' of England in July 1495.

Curiously the specimen in the Fitzwilliam Museum was bequeathed to Cambridge University as long ago as 1589 (C E Blunt, BNJ 1950 pp.215-6)
 







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