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Diameter: 4.2 cm (1 5/8 in.)
Weight: 15.376 g (0.54 oz.)
The Norweb Collection 1969.170
The Sovereign was first produced by Henry VII in 1489; he wanted a new gold coin to represent the power of his reign.
During his life Henry VII had accumulated enormous wealth, and it took his son, Henry VIII, until 1542 to squander it. Henry knew how the English coinage had been debased in the past and did not see why it should not be debased again, this time for his personal benefit. Regardless of the inevitable financial catastrophe, he grasped at this easy revenue and in his last years not only debased the gold coinage to 20 ct., but the silver also, to one part silver and two parts alloy.
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