Did She or Didn’t She? The scandalous legend of Lady Godiva dating back to medieval times (1057) has many different versions! Did Lady Godiva ride through Coventry, England naked on her horse, with nothing covering her but her long blonde hair? A rich noblewoman, Godiva was said to have lost a wager to her husband, Leofric. He had become greedy and imposed harsh taxes on their town’s peasants, right down to a tax on their manure! Godiva, an equestrian and patron of the arts, was said to have fought for the peasants of Coventry. She wanted them to have enough money for fine art, although in reality, they barely had enough money to eat, after paying their taxes. One day, in the midst of one of their many arguments over this subject, Leofric stated that he would lift all of the peasant’s taxes if she dared to ride through the town nude for all to see. Rumor has it that he lost!
Many scholars agree that her famous ride has no historical basis. However, the tale of Lady Godiva and her bravery for the common folk will raise eyebrows and inspire artists for many more centuries!
The obverse has Lady Godiva riding side saddled and naked on a horse with the legend PRO BONO PUBLICO (for the public good) and 1793 at the bottom. The reverse has a tusked elephant carrying an English tower on its back with COVENTRY HALFPENNY encircling it.
BE-1 Exact replica