Gold Guyennois of Edward III

2nd half of the 14th century. Gold. Inv. no.: D.91.19.61

This gold Anglo-Gascon coin of the 14th century represents Anglo-Gascon Guyenne in the period during which Edward III was the king of England (1327-1377) and his son Edward of Woodstock (1330-1376) was Prince of Aquitaine (from 1362 to 1372). Called by Froissart "the most magnificent Lord of this time" and later immortalised by Shakespeare under the name of the "Black Prince" because of this dark armour, this valiant knight became famous during the Hundred Years War for his destructive charges which enabled him to reconquer practically the whole of the territory of 12th century Aquitaine.

At the age of 16 he distinguished himself at the battle of Crécy, and in 1355, to commemorate his naming as lieutenant of Gascony he issued "gold and silver leopards" struck in Bordeaux in order to differentiate them from the coins struck in England. After his victory over Jean le Bon at Poitiers in 1362, he ordered "gold and silver Guyennois" to be struck with the effigy of the Prince of Aquitaine "walking to the right with two leopards beneath his feet"; these were symbols of his victories and the role of Bordeaux as capital. These coins took on political significance because they represent Anglo-Gascon Guyenne.

However, after a victorious expedition to Castille, the Black Prince was forced to retire in 1372 when he became ill. Two years later came the end of the princedom of Aquitaine, and he died in 1376 at the age of 46.

Gold Guyennois of Edward III (c) mairie de Bordeaux. Photo L. Gauhtier