Can you tell a Richard I from a Henry III ? This guide will show you how to, quickly and easily.
This guide will I hope attempt to provide quick and easy ways to differentiate between and establish the mint, moneyer, monarch and class of the early Plantagenet Short Cross cut half pennies. It is not as comprehensive as the information given in some standard reference books, but I hope it will be easier to work with.
In 1180 Henry II introduced a completely new kind of coinage to replace his often poorly struck Cross Crosslets 'Tealby' type. These new pennies replaced the cross and crosslets with a small voided cross pomee as the central motif on the reverse of the coins. This design continued in use throughout the reigns of four kings. Henry II, Richard I, John and the first thirty years of the long reign of Henry III. A total of sixty seven years. Each of these monarchs in turn only minted English coins with the legend HENRICUS REX [The only coins bearing the names of Richard and John are territorial French, and Irish issues respectively, both having smaller denominations, thus no cut halves], these having similar portraits. For beginners and novices this makes them very difficult to tell apart.
For this Short Cross coinage, the reverse of the coin always has an initial cross [pattee or pommee] preceeding the name of the moneyer, followed by the word ON [which simply means at] and then the name of the mint town. Eg. +OSBER ON WIRICE. Osber at Worcester.
I have singled out exclusive mint towns, as once these are worked out the coin is identified. An exclusive mint town is one that is used by one of the four monarchs alone, but not the other three. For example Ipswich. A Short Cross coin bearing the legend 'GIPESWIC' [Ipswich], or an abbreviation of it, can only have been struck in the reign of king John, as the other three monarchs did not mint coins there.
Exclusive mint towns.
Henry II : WILTON.
Richard I : SHREWSBURY. LICHFIELD.
John : CHICHESTER. IPSWICH. KINGS LYNN. ROCHESTER.
Henry III : None.
These are all of the mint towns employed by each monarch.
London, Carlisle, Exeter, Lincoln, Northampton, Oxford, Wilton, Winchester, Worcester, York.
London, Canterbury, Carlisle, Durham, Exeter, Lichfield, Lincoln, Northampton, Shrewsbury, Winchester, Worcester, York.
London, London, Canterbury, Bury St. Edmunds, Carlisle, Chichester, Durham, Exeter, Ipswich, Kings Lynn, Lincoln, Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Rochester, Winchester, York.
London, Canterbury, Bury St. Edmunds, Durham, Winchester, York.
Mint signatures on the Coinage.
These are the forms that mint towns appear on the actual coinage. They are often abbreviated.
Bury St. Edmunds : S.EDMV, SANT.ED
Canterbury : CANT etc..
Carlisle : CARDU
Chichester : CICES
Durham : DVREME, DVNOL
Exeter : EXECES, ECCE
Ipswich : GIPES
Lichfield : LIHEFL
Lincoln : NICOLE, LINCOL
London : LVND etc..
[Kings] Lynn : LENN
Northampton : NORAMPTU, NORHT
Norwich : NORW
Oxford : OXENE, OCSEN
Rochester : ROVE
Shrewsbury : SALOPE
Wilton : WILTU
Winchester : WINC
Worcester : WIRICE
York : EVERWIC
These are moneyers whose names are not duplicated at the same mint, under different monarchs. Note some are duplicated at different mints.
London. ALAIN, ALAIN V, ALWARD, DAVI, FIL AIMER, GILEBERT, GODARD, HENRI PI, IEFFREI, IOHAN, OSBER, PIERES, PIERES M, RANDUL, REINALD.
Exeter. ASKETIL, IORDAN, OSBER, RAUL, ROGER.
Lincoln. GIRARD, HUGO, RODBERT, WALTER, WILL DF.
Northampton. FILIP, HUGO, RAUL, REINALD, SIMUN.
Oxford. ASKETIL, IEFREI, OWEIN, RICARD, RODBERT, RODBT FB, SAGAR.
Winchester. CLEMENT, OSBER, REINER, RODBERT.
Worcester. EDRICH, GODWINE, OSBER, OSLAC.
York. ALAIN, GERARD, HUNFREI, ISAC, WILLELM.
London. RAUL, STIVENE.
Canterbury. IOAN, MEINER, REINALD, REINAVD, VLARD.
Durham. ADAM, ALEIN, PIRES.
Winchester. OSBERN, PIRES, WILLELM.
London. BENEIT, RENER, RICARD B, RICARD P, WILLELM B, WILLELM L, WILLELM T.
Canterbury. ARNAUD, IOHAN B, IOHAN M.
Bury St. Edmunds. FULKE.
Lincoln. ALAIN, ANDREV, HVE, IOHAN, RAUF, RICARD, TOMAS.
Northampton. ADAM, ROBERD T.
Norwich. GIFREI, IOHAN, REINALD, REINAVD.
Oxford. AILWINE, HENRI, MILES.
Winchester. ANDREV, BARTELME, IOHAN.
London. ELIS, GIFFREI, LEDVLF, NICHOLE, TERRI.
Canterbury. ARNOLD, HENRI, HIVN, IVN, IOAN CHIC, IOAN FR, NICHOLE, OSMUND, ROBERT, ROBERT VI, ROGER, ROGER OF R, SALEMUN, TOMAS, WALTER, WILLEM, WILLEM TA.
Bury St. Edmunds. IOHAN, NORMAN, RAUF, SIMUND, WILLELM.
York. IOHAN, PERES, TOMAS, WILAM.
Further to these regular issues is the irregular coinage of the Rhuddlan mint, produced from locally cut dies.
Group 1 : c.1180-1205. HALLI, SIMVND, TOMAS.
Group 2 : c.1205-1215. SIMVND, HENRICUS.
Mint signature is RVLA, RVDLAN etc..
The coins of each monarch are divided into Classes or types. Most also have sub-divisions. Further information on Classes etc.. may be found in Spink's Coins of England, and English Hammered Coinage : Volume One, by J.J. North.
Class 1a, [1a variant], 1b, 1c.
Class 2, 3, 4a, 4a*, 4b.
Class 4c, 5a1, 5a2, 5b, 5c, 6a.
Class 6b, 6c, [6c ornamental], 6x, 6d, 7a, 7b, 7c, 8a, 8b, 8c.
General description of coins of each monarch.
Fine silver. Neat style portrait. Some squared letters. Well struck, bold and central.
Good silver. Degraded, crude portrait. SEVEN pearls to crown, except Class 2. Pronounced chin whiskers on most coins. Thin unique lettering, boldly struck. Coins of this monarch tend to be quite expensive.
Class 4 similar to Richard I, but FIVE pellets to crown. Class 5 neater, in style of Henry II. 5a2 has cross pommee initial mark. Reversed S on coins of 4c-5a.
Portrait getting progressively worse throughout reign and class. Class 8 very crude. Silver content lower. Each sub-division has at least one distinguishing feature, eg. 6b has very tall lettering, 6x has nostril pellets outside nose. Flans are somewhat irregular, with off-centre striking common. Long Cross coinage [post 1247] is not included.
DECIPHERING A SHORT CROSS CUT HALF.
Firstly look at the reverse of the coin. Find either the initial cross or the word ON. This will give an idea of where each word begins. Bear in mind some moneyers names contain these letters either singly or together.
If neither of these is present the coin will probably only show the name of moneyer or mint. Match the mint name, with one of those above. The closest match will be the mint of issue.
Coins showing moneyer only are generally more difficult to identify unless the name is uncommon. Several moneyers at the same and different mints have identical names. Other factors must be taken into consideration when attempting to discern monarch and mint with the common moneyers. A process of elimination is generally employed. For that reason I have included in this guide only Exclusive Moneyers. That is no moneyers of different monarchs with the same name at the same mint. For example both Henry II and Richard I had coins struck by the moneyer AIMER at London, therefore [to ease confusion] his name is missing from the list of London moneyers for both kings. A full list of moneyers may be found in the above books.
If the cross is present, the last letters of the mint town preceed it and the first letters of the moneyers name follow it. Try a process of elimination to discover mint and moneyer, then extend this to general description and Class.
Study as many cut coins as possible. Practice often with the cut halves always for sale on ebay.
I believe over 80% of cut halves can be identified using my method.
I hope this guide has been of help, and not too difficult to understand. If so please vote for my guide below. Thankyou. Kind Regards, Dave.
P.S. I can be contacted for any reason through my ebay profile [CONTACT MEMBER]. I also provide a coin identification service, which is free and available to all.
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My website is Daves Rare Coins. Please see my 'About Me' page. It contains hopefully interesting historical info and indepth coin research. Thanks for looking.