In the year 1248

The coat of paint needed on this house is indicative of the state of the money supply in England this year. It was decided to mint a new coinage, never popular because you always got back less pennies in the exchange. First, you had to pay the king’s traditional farm (or profit) of 6 pence on the pound, then the average loss sustained by your pennies due to wear and clipping. The assay revealed this loss to be about 10 pence on a pound of silver, a pound being worth about 240 pennies. Vendors therefore lost 16 pence on the pound. The job of minting the new coins was given to Henry III’s brother, Richard of Cornwall, mainly because he had the startup capital to get it going. His contract ran for seven years and his mints (17 in all) were soon stamping a daily output of around 150,000 coins. Another seven-year contract sealed this year named Simon de Montfort the viceroy for Gascony. Henry appointed him to keep him from going on crusade (run by and therefore to the glory of the French) and because he came from that region and so would know best how to stamp out their rebellion. Did he ever. Suffice it to say that whatever profit Henry made from the re-coinage was quickly swallowed up by Simon’s thorough and overzealous approach to handling people who didn’t listen very well.

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