Irish Coinage


Richard III

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The Irish Coinage of Richard III (1483 to 1485)

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© 2001 - Copyright
_ Stafford-Langan
Version 1.08b
7 July, 2001


Introduction to Richard III

Edward IV died in 1483. The normal succession should have been to the elder of his two sons - however his brother Richard claimed that Edward's marriage had been invalid on the basis that he had secretly married earlier and that therefore his son's were not legitimate and could not succeed to the throne. Richard was sucessful in establishing this claim and ascended the throne in 1483. Edward IV's son (aslo called Edward) is known historically as Edward V. Coins struck in this interim period in Ireland are indistinguishable from those of Edward IV.

Henry Tudor was courted by some of the English nobility to challenge for Richard's crown and was successfull. Richard died in 1485 (at the battle of XXXX) and Henry Tudor was crowned Henry VII.

Henry subsequently systematically eradicated all the claimants to the throne from the York line that could challenge his title - including, most probably, the two (now illegitimate) sons of Edward IV for which murders Richard has been populary held responsible not in small part thanks to William Shakespear's play.

Ricards has two distinct issues of coins for Ireland in his short reign. However both are essentially continuations of the coinages of Edward IV. The first the Rose on Cross issue of 1483 being a direct continuation and the second the Three Crowns Issue of 1483-1485 being an implementation of Edward's final coinage act of 1483.

Rose on Cross issue 1483

Three Crowns Issue 1483-1485

Rose on Cross issue 1483

As a final act Edward IV attempted another revision of the Irish coinage before his death in 1483. But this new coinage did not emerge until after his death.

Richard III - Rose Groat - Drogheda

Richard III did implement his brother Edward IV's new coinage (see next section) but the earliest coins in his name are of the last type of Edward (with Richard's name often stamped over Edward's on the die).

These coins of the Rose Groat type are only found from Drogheda rather unusually instead of Dublin. A possible explaination is that the Drogheda mint had reopened in 1483 around the time of Edward V's death and was actively striking coins at the time that the news of Richard's having ascended the throne came through.

Three Crowns Issue 1483-1485

Edward IV's last coinage Act in 1483 was to introduce a new coinage of entirely Irish design and of a lower standard from the sterling issues in England. This coinage known as the 'three crown coinage' was introduced by his brother Richard III after Edward's death in 1483.
Richard's short reign ended with his death in 1485 and the three crown coinage was continued by the first of the Tudor monarchs, Henry VII.