Henry VIII collectibles


2015-06-26 11:02:23


Henry VIII was King of England from 1509-1547. Historically, he remains one of the country's most famous and controversial kings.

Notable events in his life include his withdrawal from the Roman Church and creation of the Church of England following the Pope's refusal to nullify his first marriage.

Value on the collectors’ markets

According to market analyst Peter Temple in a report for the Financial Times newspaper, Henry VIII’s signature currently averages £48,000.

Temple comments that its value likely increased due to interest generated by the 500th anniversary of his accession in 2009. [citation needed]


Henry VIII was born on June 28, 1491, the second son of Henry VII, at Greenwich Palace.

He was a precocious student, learning Latin, Spanish, French, and Italian and studied mathematics, music, and theology.

He ascended to the throne in 1509, soon after marrying his brother’s widow Catherine of Aragon (the mother of Mary I).

In 1527, Henry pursued a divorce from Catherine to marry Anne Boleyn, but Pope Clement VII denied him an annulment.

Henry appointed a new minister in 1532, Thomas Cromwell, who initiated a revolution by deciding that the English church should separate from Rome. This allowed Henry to marry Anne in 1533. A new archbishop, Thomas Cranmer, declared the first marriage annulled.

In an interview with the Associated Press in June 2009 David Starkey, a British Historian, TV presenter and Tudor expert, said:

"It is an event of enormous magnitude, the most important event in English history. This is the moment at which England ceases to be a normal European Catholic country and goes off on this strange path that leads it to the Atlantic, to the new world, to Protestantism, to Euro-scepticism."

Head of the Church of England

Although it was Henry's major achievement, becoming the Head of the Church of England had wide-ranging consequences. Henry was ex-communicated by the Catholic Church.

He greatly enlarged his power by transferring to the crown the wealth of the monasteries and by new clerical taxes. Meanwhile, Henry VIII’s fame as a man of blood grew.

Anne was executed for adultery in 1536. Henry immediately married Jane Seymour, who bore him a son, Edward VI, but died in childbirth.

Henry married Anne of Cleves at the instigation of Thomas Cromwell, but demanded a quick divorce. Cromwell was beheaded in 1540. Meanwhile, Henry was gaining weight and becoming unhealthy.

In 1540 he married Catherine Howard, but had her beheaded for adultery in 1542. Also that year, Henry waged a war against Scotland which proved financially ruinous.

In 1543 he married Catherine Parr. She survived Henry, who was succeeded to the throne by his son, Edward.

Notable sales and collectibles


In 2010, collectibles dealer Paul Fraser Collectibles of Bristol, United Kingdom, announced that it had acquired Henry VIII's personal divorce plea, “the letter that changed the course of history.”

With a condition described as “good condition, with professional repairs and reinforcement,” the autographed letter has a listed price of £275,000.

In 2011, Paul Fraser Collectibles announed that it had acquired a Henry VIII signed large and rare petition manuscript, valued at £90,000.


Sotheby’s auctioned a portrait of King Henry VIII of England by Hans Holbein for $42,350 in Nordstemmen, Germany on 5th October, 2005. It had been estimated at €8,000-12,000.

Henry VIII-era chain

The only known surviving chain of office from the time of Henry VIII was auctioned at Christie's in London on 6th November 2008. The King gave the gold Coleridge Collar to one of his closest advisers, Sir Edward Montagu, around 1546.

The chains showed allegiance to the monarch and the intricacy of the design and quality of the metal signified the status of the wearer. Estimated at £300,000, it sold for £313,250 ($496,501) including Buyer’s Premium.

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