Since the time of Edward I, who reigned from 1272 to 1307, English monarchs have observed Maundy (or Maunday) Thursday - the day before Good Friday - by distributing specially struck fine silver coins (Maundy Money) and other gifts to the "Deserving Poor" in a major cathedral service. The term "Maundy" derives, like "mandatory," from the Latin "mandatum" - meaning command. It refers to the commandment, "Love one another," expressed by Jesus at the Last Supper when he washed disciples' feet. According to my research, James II (1685-1688) was the last monarch who actually did that, too.
Our array of these coins - drilled long ago for wear as charms or pendants - includes four Georgian examples, three from the reign of George III and one from that of George IV. All are threepence: two from 1762 (sold), one from 1763 (sold) and one from 1823. The monarch's portrait appears on the front of each and, on reverse, the denomination is represented in the style still current, with the number shown beneath a crown.
The number of Maundy Money sets produced each year varied with the monarch's age. For instance, George IV was 60 at Easter in 1823, so he honored 60 worthy recipients - each receiving 4 coins, 1 of every denomination from one penny to four. Thus, besides ours, there are only 59 more 1823 Maundy threepence coins anywhere in existence.
These Georgian coins are estate items discovered during a house clearance in northern England - also the source of our 8 James II and 12 Victorian Maundy Money coins.