Reproduction Elizabeth I Quarter Angel
Obverse: St. Michael represented as a winged figure standing with both feet on a dragon about to thrust it into the Pit with a cross-topped lance (the dragon represents Satan). Text around ELIZABETH D G ANG FRANCIE (Elizabeth by the Grace of God England, France).
Reverse: A ship bearing a shield and cross, E and rose at the sides. Text around ET HIBERNIE REGINA FIDEI (and Ireland Queen of the Faith).
History: When Queen Elizabeth I came to power, she inherited one of the most debased coinages in history, which damaged trade relations and the reputation of the monarchy. Within a year (1560-61) the debased money had been withdrawn, melted down and replaced with newly minted Elizabethan coins of precious metal. The restoration of the nation’s coinage improved the dealings of English merchants abroad and secured trust and respect from the City for Queen Elizabeth I and her government.
On 19 April 1572 the issuing of angels, angelets (half-angels) and quarter-angels in fine gold with a fineness of 994 was begun (First to Fourth issues). With the reintroduction of these denominations in the gold, the coins being produced at the mint were identical in weight and fineness with the pre-debasement coins of Henry VIII. The commission expired on 15 September 1578 and a slightly debased fineness of 992 was introduced in an attempt to improve mint efficiency (Fifth issue). This reduction in standard was removed in 1582 and the fine gold coin fineness was increased to 995 (Sixth issue).
Date: Fifth issue, mintmark Greek cross, 1578-79