Gold coins circulating in Ireland during the reign of Henry VI, c. 1460 (when he fixed exchange rates)

Monetary Crisis (1460), as Henry VI fixes exchange rates for foreign coins in Ireland

Introduction: The price of gold rose from the 1430s onward, so gold coins were worth more in Europe than in England, which resulted in a gold shortage in England as coins were exported for profit. This is known as an ‘arbitrage market’ and is also an early example of Gresham’s Law – it caused a…

Mining in the 14th C - scenes from a medieval silver mine

Monetary Crisis (1369), as Richard II orders his colonists to search for silver and gold mines in Ireland

Following the death in 1376 of his father, Edward of Woodstock (the Black Prince), Richard became heir to his grandfather, King Edward III of England, whom he succeeded in 1377 at the age of ten. His reign of twenty-two years saw a number of domestic crises, from the Peasants’ Revolt (1381) to later conflicts with…

James II, King of England, Scotland & Ireland

Monetary Crisis (1689), as James II Fixes Exchange Rates for Foreign Coins in Ireland

Introduction When James II succeeded his father in 1685, he continued to issue copper halfpennies, albeit via a ‘patent’ like his father did before him. This maintained the flow of small change but the same ‘decades old’ problem persisted with the large proportion of under-weight ‘clipped’ silver in circulation. This might have sufficed for transactions…