Piedfort Coin, what does it mean?
If you are a fan of coin collecting you may have come across coins described as Piedfort Coins.
The Piedfort Coin dates back to the Middle Ages and refers to a coin struck double thickness of the regular coin. The diameter will be the same and it will have been stuck with the same mint dies as the standard coin.
They originated in France (hence the French name) and were issued as sample coins to demonstrate new coin designs.
Britain stopped producing Piedforts way back in the sixteenth century, the last example being a sixpence struck in 1588.
Simply put, a double-thickness coin; made to proof quality for coin collectors.
These special coins were given the name ‘Piedfort’ meaning ‘heavy measure’ (literally "Heavy Foot" in French). You may also find these coins referred to as the 'Piefort' coin, this is a misspelling.
Another error is in the thinking that this term relates to the weight (not thickness) of a coin. Although of course, a double-thickness coin is also double the weight!
You may hear many different ways to pronounce the term "Piedfort", especially different between British English and American English.
The most common is pee-ay-fore - as is typical in the French language, the "T" at the end is silent.
The Oxford English Dictionary version is pjeɪfɔːt, see their page for an audio clip to listen to.
Coins fit for a King!
Piedfort Coins were minted as Royal prestige pieces from the mid-16th to the mid-17th century, where Kings and Queens began the tradition of giving ‘prestige pieces’ to members of their court.
Some Kings and noblemen had these extra thick coins struck, either to display or to give as gifts. This was a way of showing wealth and power during these times.
In England, the gold Double-Sovereigns of Henry VI were one spectacular example!
Source: The Royal Mint Museum
Royal Mint Coins
The Royal Mint made the first Piedfort version of a UK coin available to the public in 1982.
These coins are Silver Proof, Gold Proof or Platinum Proof quality and produced in extremely limited mintage quantities, making them very attractive to UK Coin Collectors and Numismatists around the world.
Some Piedfort Coins hold the fastest sales records on the mint shop website, with some (such as the 2017 Gold Sovereign) totally selling out on the first day of issue.
Normally, they are struck as commemorative coins to mark the anniversary of a special event or to celebrate a brand new design. Their rarity value coupled with the mint craftsmanship required to produce them, means that these high quality, double-thickness coins will be appreciated and collected for generations to come!
They are available in denominations of 20p, 50p, £1, £2 and £5 coins.
Many are also sent to coin grading companies such as NGC or PCGS to be locked into protective storage capsules.
Piedfort Coins For Sale
The Royal Mint Shop Piedfort Coins page shows their current double-thickness coins available to buy direct from the UK mint.
You will also find them in the resale market on the Numismatic sections of eBay. Take care to check the coins before committing to purchase.
See our Piedfort Coins eBay page for current opportunities to buy a Piedfort coin and a buyer's checklist.
On 26th June 2017, The Royal Mint announced the first ever Piedfort Sovereign Gold Proof Coin.
The 2017 Piedfort edition of The Sovereign had a mintage of just 3,500 coins, struck in twice the thickness of 22 carat gold as The Sovereign and finished to Proof standard.
The 2017 edition sold out within 24 hours!
The Piedfort Sovereign 2018 Gold Proof coin is still available from The Royal Mint
In addition to The Royal Mint in the UK, other mints known to produce these double-thick coins include;
- The Royal Canadian Mint
- Perth Mint, Australia
- Pobjoy Mint, UK
- Europe’s largest privately owned mint, Pobjoy Mint is based in the English county of Surrey. Produces many British territories coins
Certificate of Authenticity
Due to only being made available direct from the mint and in proof quality, most Piedfort coins will come with a COA (Certificate Of Authenticity).
This document not only confirms the coin as genuine, but will also give you interesting facts, most especially the number of coins minted in total and in the particular Limited Edition Presentation (LEP).
If you are buying Piedforts, we recommend that you always look for inclusion of the COA as part of your purchase decision.
Piedfort coins are also issued as Silver Proof Sets or Piedfort Collection sets.
Typically, these are in presentation boxes with 3 to 6 coins in the set of the same or mixed denominations.
For instance there may be a 20p, 50p and £1 coin in the set, with at least one of these being a Commemorative Coin.
As an example, the Great Britain 2003 Mint Box Set of 3 Piedfort Silver Coins. This includes a one pound coin, Commemorative two pounds Double-Helix coin and Suffragette 50 pence coin.
PIEDFORT scores 14 points in Scrabble!