The Gold Ryal, is an incredibly rare late-medieval coin, also known by a number of other names; Rose Noble, Rose Ryal and Spur Ryal. First issued in 1464, the Ryal would be minted sporadically in the following years, until the third coinage of James I (1619 – 25) which saw the final issuance of the Ryal. The Ryal was issued in quarter, half, and full denominations. Due to low mintage numbers, and the age of these coins, the Ryal is quite scarce and would make an incredibly unique addition to any old coin collection.
The Gold Ryal was first issued in 1464 during the original reign of King Edward IV. During the 1430s onward, the price of gold had been rising in Europe, and this had resulted in the Gold Noble being valued much higher on the continent than its face value in England. Gold Noble’s were exported to Europe to be sold, and a shortage of coins was becoming more apparent. The Ryal was issued in an attempt to prevent this from happening, and was originally valued at ten shillings.
The Ryal looks similar in design to the Noble, but features a rose in the King’s ship, giving it the common nickname of Rose Noble. The first issue took place between 1464 and 1470, and would have been struck at the London mint, as well as provincial mints in Bristol, Coventry, Norwich and York. The Ryal may feature a letter to show which mint it was produced at; the London mint is the exception with no letter, while Bristol is indicated by “B”, Coventry by a “C”, Norwich an “N”, and York with an “E”.
Henry VII, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I, all issued various Ryal’s during their reigns. These included the Tudor rose specifically and, the Tudor Ryal is incredibly rare and can fetch extremely high prices amongst collectors.
King James I issued the Rose Ryal during his second coinage of 1604 to 1619. The coin was originally worth 30 shillings, and over an inch and a half in diameter. The obverse showed the King in royal robes, while the reverse featured a large shield-on-rose design. In 1612, the value was increased to 33 shillings.
At the same time as the Rose Ryal, the Spur Ryal was also issued by James I. Essentially a half Rose Ryal, the Spur Ryal had a face value of 15 shillings, which was increased to 16 shillings and sixpence in 1612.
During the third coinage, a new version of the Spur Ryal was issued with an altered design; instead of the royal portrait, the third coinage Spur Ryal featured a lion holding the sceptre above the royal shield.