The angel or angelot was first introduced to the shores of England by King Edward IV in 1465 and the minting of these particular coins lasted until the reign of King Charles I. The obverse usually carried a depiction of St Michael slaying a dragon, which was a representation of the devil. On the reverse – a ship was also depicted.
Over time, the Angel varied in value from 6 shillings and 8 pence to 11 shillings. It was a popular coin and came to be used as a “touch piece” where it was worn around the neck to ward off scrofula, a type of tuberculosis referred to then as the “King’s Evil” or vary ailments including skin conditions. These ailments were thought to be cured in medieval times by the touch of a king or, in the case of the King’s daughter – Queen Elizabeth I, hence, a touch piece!
Angel gold coin bearing the personal emblem of King Richard III, a boar’s head along with the initial “R” and red rose on the reverse above the royal crest. The coin dates from the late 15th century, circa 1484
Henry VIII of England’s Angel gold coin measuring 29mm, with a weight of 5.12 grams. This was among the King’s first coinage struck at the Tower, Royal Mint.
The legend around the coin: HENRIC VIII DI GRA REX AGL Z FR around the image of the Archangel Michael slaying the Dragon.
PER CRVCE TVA SALVA NOS XPC REDE. A ship bearing the royal shield and cross, the letter “H” and rose flanking cross.
Queen Elizabeth I’s gold angels differed little from those of her Father – her name positioned to the right of the Archangel’s depiction. These pieces were minted between 1578 and 1581
At Kenilworth in 1575, it was recorded that Queen Elizabeth I publicly prepared for the healing ritual associated with the Angel coins ‘prostrate on her knees, body and soul rapt in prayer’. She was known to lay hands on her subjects, and in addition she made the sign of the cross, with the gold angel, over the actual location of the sore or affliction.
Interestingly, the inscription on the reverse side of her own Angel coins read in Latin: “This is the Lord’s doing and it is marvellous” – perhaps a direct allusion to the ritual of healing itself – perhaps attributed to be the very words spoken by the then-princess Elizabeth upon learning of the death of her older sister Queen Mary I – which made her Queen of England!
An angel example issued by King Henry VI as king of France. The coin weighed 2.34 grams and was struck between the years 1427-1449. The legend: HENRICVS: FRANCORV: AND: A(nglia): REX. The image of the Archangel Gabriel positioned over the coats of arms of France and England. On the reverse, the legend: XPE: VINCIT: XPE: REGNAT: XPE: IMPERAT with a simple cross flanked by a lily and a leopard. A Superb specimen of great rarity!