Angel (coin)

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Angel gold coin
The image of the Archangel Saint Michael slaying a dragon, the legend inscribed with HENRIC VIII DI GRA REX AGL & FR The image of an English galley with the monogram 'H' and a rose set below the main topmast, the ship surmounted by a shield bering the King's arms, the legend inscribed PER CRVCE TVA SALVA NOS XPC REDE.
AV 29mm, 5.12 g, 8h. Mm: portcullis, London. First coinage, 1509-1526.

The Angel is a gold coin introduced into England by Edward IV in 1465 as a new issue of the Noble, thus is was first called the "angel-noble". It is based on the French coin known as the Angelot or Ange, which had been issued since 1340. It varied in value between that period and the time of Charles I, when it was last coined in 1642[1] from 6s. 8d. to 11s. The name was derived from the representation it bore of the Archangel Saint Michael. In 1472, the Half Angel was introduced with a similar design weighing 40 grains (2.6 grams) with a diameter of 20 to 21 millimeters.

Reverse: Depicts a ship with arms and rays of sun at the masthead. Legend: PER CRUCEM TUAM SALVA NOS CHRISTE REDEMPTOR, meaning "Through Thy cross save us, Christ Redeemer."

The value fluctuated over time:

  • In 1526 during the reign of Henry VIII, it increased to seven shillings and six pence (7s/6d) or 90 pence.
  • In 1544, it increased again to eight shillings (8s) or 96 pence.
  • In 1550 during the reign of Edward VI it increased to ten shillings (10s) or 120 pence.
  • In 1612 during the reign of James I it increased to eleven shillings (11s) or 132 pence.
  • In 1619 it decreased to ten shillings (10s) and at that point in time it weighed 70 grains (4.5 grams).

Eventually in 1663 during the reign of Charles II, coinage was replaced with entirely new designs and struck by machine (milled). The standard gold coin became the Guinea.

Social impact[edit]

The angel was such an iconic coin that many English pubs were named after it. The Angel Inn in Islington (after which the Angel tube station is named) was one of these.

The angel was traditionally given to sufferers of the disease known as king's evil, in a mediaeval ceremony intended to heal them with the "royal touch". After it was no longer minted, medals with the same device, called touch-pieces, were given instead.



  • Public Domain This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Angel". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.