05 July 2020
Your video guide to the Angel, an English gold coin introduced by King Edward IV in 1465 which lasted until the 17th century and the arrival of milled coinage
The angel was an English gold coin introduced by King Edward IV in 1464-5.
The coin had a value of 6 shillings and 8 pence when it was introduced and. on the obverse, featured a depiction of Archangel Michael slaying a dragon; a retelling of the bible (according to the ‘Book of Revelations‘ Michael led God's armies against Satan – represented by the dragon).
The other side (reverse) of the beautifully designed coin shows a ship at sea with arms and rays of sun at the masthead.
The coin changed value over time and through different reigns – and a half-angle featuring the same design was also introduced - but it finally went out of circulation in the 17th century when Charles II introduced milled coins, struck by machine rather than hand. It was at that point, in 1663, that the guinea became the standard gold coin.
A little more about the coin's features
The Henry VIII angel shown above features a depiction of Archangel Michael slaying a dragon.
The following text is seen around the reverse of the coin:
'HENRIC VIII DI GRA REX AGL & FR'
…which translates as 'Henry VIII by the Grace of God King of England and France'.
The obverse shows an English ship with the King's arms in the centre of the design.
The legend reads 'PER CRVCE TVA SALVA NOS XPC REDE'
…which translate as 'Through Thy cross save us, Christ Redeemer'.
Period in use: 1464 to 1634
The coin replaced the gold 'noble' coin and so was also known as the 'angel-noble'.
How much do gold Angel coins cost?
Want an angel coin? You’re going to need around £1,000 at least, but if you want a nice specimen you’ll need to start saving.
Auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb sold a half angel for £34,000 in 2017 – the coin had been found in a field by a metal detectorist and is one of just a few known to have been minted during the brief reign of Richard III.
There is a modern version. The Isle of Man produce an angel coin each Christmas, available in a number of sizes and metals, which can cost from around £75 for the smallest version.