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  • Paul Fraser Collectibles' Top Five Henry VIII collectibles
  • Post author
    Paul Fraser

Paul Fraser Collectibles' Top Five Henry VIII collectibles


For anyone who has ever been put on hold, today is a big day.

The purported author of Greensleaves was crowned king of England on June 24 1509 at the age of 17.

Henry VIII was an accomplished man. In addition to composing one of the world's most recognisable tunes, he also managed to establish Real Tennis as a popular pastime and, let's not forget, create the Church of England between sets.

Today, collectors and alternative investors flock to items associated with the much married Henry, due to his indelible impact on the shape of Britain.

Here are our top 5 Henry VIII collectibles.

5. Henry VIII's 1513 signed letter to John Heron, treasurer of the Chamber

A signed letter from Henry VIII to John Heron, the treasurer of the Chamber, permitting cloth merchant Richard Gresham to pay back his £637 10s loan two years late, is a rare example of the king's signature still available on the private markets.

Valued at £65,000, the document once formed part of the collection of Sir Thomas Phillipps, a British baronet who amassed the largest collection of manuscript material in the 19th century.

4. A $25,000 Holbein portrait of Henry VIII?

Hans Holbein's contemporary portraits of Henry VIII are highly prized by art investors. Most now belong in museums but many items of uncertain provenance appear at auction. One such piece, thought to have possibly been painted by the German artist, sold for $25,000 at Sotheby's in June 2008. If it were proved to be a real Holbein its value would increase dramatically.

3. £8,510 Henry VIII coin

A 7.55g testoon coin, featuring a bust of Henry VIII, sold for £8,510 at Spink in London in 2001. The coin achieved this sum thanks to its great rarity and "almost extremely fine" condition.

2. A rare large document signed by Henry VIII

An exceptionally large petition to the king to grant John and Dorothy Wingfield the right to rent the former Sussex priory of Woodbridge and Haspeley and the rectory of Woodbridge has really captured our attention.

It reads: "To the king o[u]r Soveraigne Lorde, Please it your hieghnes[s] of your mooste noble and abundant grace to gruante your mooste gracious, L[ett]ers patente under your grete Seale of England in due and sufficient fourme to, be made according to the teno[u]r herafter ensuing."

Signed by the king, a small notation states: "Given me 8th June 1797 by Mr. Betts of Colchester".

A fascinating insight into everyday Tudor life, this piece is available on the private market for £90,000.

1. The letter that changed history

Henry VIII's signed letter dated January 18 1529 is no ordinary correspondence.

In an attempt to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn, Henry wrote a letter of recommendation for his envoy, Anne's father Thomas Boleyn, to the Bishop of Ravenna.

A £275,000 history-changing document

Henry hoped that Thomas would represent him in discussions with Holy Roman Emperor Charles V regarding the possible annulment.

But Charles was unmoved. Henry's recourse was to break from Rome and establish the Church of England.

Amazingly this letter, which features a clear, bold signature, is available on the private markets, and comes with a £275,000 price tag.


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  • Post author
    Paul Fraser