King John ruled England from 1 199 to 1216 (during the time of Robin Hood!). Under the English custom of primogenitor (whereby the oldest son inherits the entire estate and the titles of his father), the younger son John was left with no land inheritance, giving him his first nickname of “Lackland.”
However, during his reign, King John earned another even less desirable nickname: “Softsword.” This referred to his lack of control over his subjects and came about after he ran away from a fight for power which he had instigated with the King of France. He was looked upon with disdain and was the laughing-stock of all England.
Rebellious subjects, led by the Barons who had been heavily taxed without any representation in the government, captured London in 1215. King John could see that he was hopelessly defeated and in a real jam. Rather than fighting on, he reluctantly agreed to sign the Magna Carta (Latin for “Great Charter”), drafted by his enemies. This was not just a peace treaty, but one of the most important documents in the history of basic human rights – guaranteeing all English subjects due process under the law. This was a big improvement over the way things had been under earlier kings, where many subjects were considered no more than the property of the Crown, disposable at the whim of any noble.
The treaty has since been hailed as the predecessor of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, However, John considered his signing of this great document to have been a tremendous humiliation, and he immediately began fighting to have it overturned. He died a frustrated death the following year, but the concessions he granted live on in England and America today.
In the spirit of Robin Hood, Worldwide Treasure Bureau is now re distributing the wealth of King John in the form of 700-year-old Short Cross silver pennies minted during his reign. The obverse features a facing portrait bust of the King. The reverse has a cross in the style of the crusades, of whom John’s older brother Richard the Lionheart, was the most famous.
These coins were hand-struck (“hammered”) and are in about fine condition. This is an excellent opportunity to acquire an affordable coin from the king who signed the Great Charter which forever changed the course of western civilization. We have a small handful of pieces in stock at this price, and they will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis. On the obverse of the coin is a facing portrait bust of the king, and on the reverse is a cross.