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  Wikipedia: Maundy money

Wikipedia: Maundy money
Maundy money
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Maundy Money is a special British coinage given to deserving poor people in a religious ceremony performed by Anglicans on Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter.

History of the Maundy ceremony

The present-day Maundy ceremony has evolved over the centuries and bears little relationship to the original rites to which it owes its origins. A fundamental aspect of the original Maundy service was the washing of the feet of the poor, which has its origins in Jesus' washing of the feet of the Disciples at the Last Supper. In early ceremonies, senior clergymen would wash the feet of lower clergy, while in other ceremonies, the washing would be done by someone higher up the hierarchical order.

King Edward II (1307-1327) seems to be the first English monarch to have been recorded actively taking part in the ceremony, although King John (1199-1216) is said to have taken part in a ceremony in about 1210 donating small silver coins to the poor. King Edward III (1327-1377) washed feet and gave gifts including money to the poor; the practice continued regularly, with the participation of the monarch, until 1698.

Although the monarch did not participate personally, later ceremonies continued in which a selection of people were given Maundy money consisting of silver pennies totalling, in pence, the current age of the monarch. The washing of feet ended after the 1736 ceremony, until it was re-instated in the 2003 ceremony when it was performed by the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.

In 1932 King George V agreed to take part personally in the distribution of the Maundy money, while the 1936 set was distributed by King Edward VIII although the coins bore George V's effigy. By 1953 it had become normal practice for the monarch to distribute the Maundy money, a practice which continues to this day.

Maundy coinage

Until 1820 ordinary silver coinage was used for the Maundy money, but from 1822 special coins were minted in values of 1, 2, 3, and 4 pence. Each set of Maundy money therefore contains 10 pence, and recipients would be given an appropriate number of complete sets, plus a part-set when appropriate.
The dimensions and reverse designs of the coins have not changed since 1822, although their composition has changed over the years (not necessarily in ways which would be expected!):

1 penny : weight 0.5 grams, diameter 11 millimetres.
2 pence : weight 0.9 grams, diameter 13 millimetres.
3 pence : weight 1.4 grams, diameter 16 millimetres.
4 pence : weight 1.9 grams, diameter 18 millimetres.

The original composition of the coins was Sterling (0.925) silver. In common with all circulating British silver coins, the fineness was reduced to 0.500 in 1921. In 1947 silver was removed from all circulating British coins in favour of cupronickel, but it was felt to be inappropriate to strike Maundy money in such debased metal, so unusually the fineness was restored to 0.925, where it remains to the present day.

In 1971 British currency was decimalised, with 100 new pence instead of 20 shillings of 12 pence (240 pence) in a pound. The design of the Maundy money was not changed at all, so instead of being worth 1, 2, 3, or 4 old pence, the coins are now worth 1, 2, 3, or 4 new pence, each one being worth 2.4 times its former value. As there is no difference in the design or weight between pre and post 1971 coins, it was uniquely decided to revalue all pre-decimal Maundy coins back to 1822 at the equivalent value in new pence, i.e. the face value of each coin was increased by a factor of 2.4 overnight. All Maundy coins, back to 1822, remain legal tender in Britain at their stated value in new pence.

Availability of the coins

Victorian Maundy coins are quite common, as anybody could order a set from a bank, however in 1908 King Edward VII ordered that they should only be supplied to their recipients and people connected with the service, so coins dated 1909 and later are considerably scarcer than those which preceded them -- although of course the quantity increases as the reign gets longer.

Coin obverses

1822-1830 Left-facing head of King George IV. GEORGIUS IIII D G BRITANNIAR REX F D (George IV by the Grace of God King of Britain, Defender of the Faith).
1831-1837 Right-facing head of King William IV. GULIELMUS IIII D G BRITANNIAR REX F D (William IV by the Grace of God King of Britain, Defender of the Faith).
1838-1887 Left-facing "young head" of Queen Victoria. VICTORIA D G BRITANNIAR REGINA F D (Victoria by the Grace of God Queen of Britain, Defender of the Faith).
1888-1892 Left-facing "Jubilee head" of Queen Victoria. VICTORIA D G BRITANNIAR REGINA F D (Victoria by the Grace of God Queen of Britain, Defender of the Faith).
1893-1901 Left-facing "old head" of Queen Victoria. VICTORIA DEI GRA BRITT REGINA FID DEF IND IMP (Victoria by the Grace of God Queen of Britain, Defender of the Faith, Empress of India).
1902-1910 Right-facing head of King Edward VII. EDWARDVS VII D G BRITT OMN REX F D IND IMP (Edward VII by the Grace of God King of All the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India).
1911-1936 Left-facing head of King George V. GEORGIVS V D G BRITT OMN REX F D IND IMP (George V by the Grace of God King of All the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India).
1937-1948 Left-facing head of King George VI. GEORGIVS VI D G BR OMN REX F D IND IMP (George VI by the Grace of God King of All the Britains, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India).
1949-1952 Left-facing head of King George VI. GEORGIVS VI D G BR OMN REX FIDEI DEF (George VI by the Grace of God King of All the Britains, Defender of the Faith).
1953 Right-facing head of Queen Elizabeth II. ELIZABETH II DEI GRA BRITT OMN REGINA F D (Elizabeth II by the Grace of God Queen of All the Britains, Defender of the Faith).
1954-current Right-facing head of Queen Elizabeth II. ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA F D (Elizabeth II by the Grace of God Queen, Defender of the Faith).

Note that the "young head" of Queen Elizabeth (by Mary Gillick) has been used on all Maundy coins of her reign, despite it not having been used on regular circulation coins since 1970.

  

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 
Modified by Geona