The first Gold Angels were struck up carrying the value of six shillings and eight pence, during the reign of Edward IV (1461-70 1st reign) to replace the old Noble which ceased in production by 1464. The initial Angels were somewhat inspired by the French Angelot that had been issued since the mid 14th century, archangel Michael slaying the dragon being the recognized or universal motif of these new coins. They were referred to as Angel-Nobles at first, the ecclesiastical design made them immediately recognisable.

Gold Angels, with their inception in Edward IV’s first reign continued to be issued right the way up to Charles I’s time, with Nicholas Briot’s pattern Angel being the great rarity known, three in private hands; more common examples presenting at auction or dealers trays as 10 shilling Angels, Royal touchpieces. The journey of the Angel saw a monetary fluctuation from 6s 8d right up to 11s, an important coin heavily collected in the hammered Gold English series, still enjoying a broad appeal today.

The iconic and timeless design helped separate it from other contemporary pieces, distancing itself from the representation of the King in ship, with its lofty nautical evocations that had been in the popular consciousness since the second period Nobles of Edward III in 1344-46. Angels can be found from the House of York (1461-85) right the way through to the House of Stuart (1603-25) appearing in Edward IV’s reigns, Henry VI (Restored), Edward IV or V, Richard III, Henry VII, VIII, Edward VI, Mary, Philip and Mary, Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I.

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