Featured A New Penny for England

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by TheRed, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. TheRed

    TheRed Well-Known Member

    I acquired an Edward I Penny Class 1c back in 2017 but haven’t had the chance to give it the post it deserves until now. I hope this long winded post makes for an enjoyable read, even for those without a collecting interest in medieval coins.

    The reign of Henry III of England is remarkable for not only its length, but also the political instability and military setbacks throughout his reign. In 1247 a reformation of the English coinage was badly needed. Clipping of the coins had become such a problem that many of the coins in circulation were underweight while many others were in poor shape. Coins of good quality and full weight were hoarded and removed from circulation. The new penny that was introduced is known as the Voided Long-Cross penny, with a cross stretching the lengthof the reverse of the coin in an attempt to deter clipping. The voided long cross also made cutting the penny into halves and quarters, a long standing tradition, much easier.
    Henry III London.jpg
    Henry III AR Penny Voided Long Cross type 1251-1252 AD London mint.
    18mm 1.46g
    Obv: HENRICVS REX III; Crowned facing bust, holding scepter.
    Rev: NICOLE ON LVND; Voided long cross with trefoil in each quarter.
    SCBC 1368A

    The Voided Long-Cross penny would remain in production for the last 25 years of Henry’s reign. Upon his death in 1272, at the “old” age of 65, his son Edward ascended to the throne. There was just one problem, Edward had taken the cross in 1268 and was fighting in the Holy Land around the beleaguered Christian stronghold of Acre. The crusade was largely ineffectual and the blade of an assassin gravely wounded Edward. Eventually he sailed for Cyprus in the fall of 1272, where he learned of his father’s death. Edward did not return to England until 1274, and immediately set about restoring order and asserting royal authority. Edward also launched a successful invasion of Wales in 1276.

    By 1279 Edward was secure enough in his position as King to address a pressing financial matter: the poor state of the circulating coinage of England. The Voided Long-Cross pennies in circulation were largely from the first few years of Henry’s recoinage, 1248-1250, and had become worn and clipped. The need for small change had also resulted in cutting becoming ever more prevalent. In response to the deterioration of the currency Edward’s administration undertook radical recoinage and produced a penny unlike anything minted in England before. The new style would be known simply as the Long Cross penny.
    Edward I Penny 1c.jpg
    Edward I AR Penny Long Cross type Class 1c 1279 AD London mint.
    18mm 1.42g
    Obv: EDW REX ANGL' DNS HYB; Crowned facing bust.
    Rev: CIVI TAS LON DON; Long cross three pellets in each quarter.
    SCBC 1382

    The recoinage of 1279 was groundbreaking in a number of ways. The appearance of the penny was greatly improved as compared to the short and voided long cross pennies of the old monarchs. Previously the images of the kings were made up of pellets, crescents, and strokes from a very limited range of punches used to engrave the dies. With Edward’s new coinage more advanced punches with well rendered features were used. This gave the coins a higher artistic quality and more life-like portrait.

    The legends of the pennies also changed. On the obverse, the legend was expanded. Previously, the legend named the king, such as HENRICVS REX III on the VLC penny of Henry III. But with the new penny the legend expanded greatly. The obverse legend of the new penny read EDW REX ANGL DNS HYB, and abbreviated form of EDWARDVS REX ANGLIE DOMINVS HYBERNIE (Edward, King of England, Lord of Ireland). On the reverse, the name of the moneyer associated with each mint was removed from the penny. Instead, the name of the mint was all that was present. This was a radical change, as the moneyer’s name had appeared on the English penny since the 8th century when Offa first introduced the coin. On my example above, the reverse legend simply reads CIVI TAS LON DON, for City of London.

    With the recoinage of 1279, new denominations were also minted. A new coin called a groat, worth 4 pence, was introduced. (Read more about the groat here) The old habit of cutting pennies into halves and quarters was addressed by minting half pence and farthings. The halfpenny and farthing were largely identical to the new penny in appearance with minor changes to the legends.
    Edward I Farthing.jpg
    Edward I AR Farthing Long Cross type Class 2 1280 AD London mint.
    13mm 0.38g
    Obv: EDWARDVS REX; Crowned facing bust.
    Rev: LON DON IEN SIS; Long cross three pellets in each quarter.

    Not My Coin

    The minting of the new coinage commenced in May of 1279 at London. Despite the changes to the penny, the coin proved to be incredibly popular with the people of England. Old, worn, clipped, and cut coins could be exchanged for the new coins, and nine additional mints were opened to facilitate the exchange. Those mints were located in Bristol, Bury, Canterbury, Durham, Lincoln, Newcastle, and York. A later recoinage in 1300 was undertaken and mints were also established in Kingston-upon-Hull and Exeter.

    The popularity of the new penny of Edward wasn’t limited to England. It was much admired throughout norther Europe where England had strong economic ties due to the wool trade. The English penny was of high quality and fine silver, unlike much of the coinage of the continent which was debased. Merchants from Flanders, Brabant, Hainaut, and other regions wanted the new English penny to conduct trade with England. In response, continental mints began producing their own copies. These coins, which became known as crockards and pollards, were often debased and lacked high silver content of their English rivals.
    John II of Avesnes .jpg
    John II of Avesnes AR Sterling Crockard type 1280-1304 AD Mons mint
    18mm 1.21g
    Obv: +IOH COMES HANONIE Facing bust waering chaplet of roses.
    Rev: MONETA MONTES; Long cross with three pellets in each quarter.
    Mayhew 34

    The coins also had some stylistic difference. The coin above is a crockard, so called because the crown is replaced by a chaplet of roses. Pollards lacked any type of crown or chaplet, and instead had a bust with a bare head. The coins also bore legends for their specific region or city. In response to the influx of foreign coins, they were first accepted as legal tinder at half their face value. This changed as the fineness of the crockards and pollards decreased, and eventually they were banned as counterfeit. Despite the status, many still found their way to England and circulated amongst the population.

    The Long Cross penny first minted by Edward I in 1279 would continue to be minted by subsequent English monarchs for over 200 years. While the fineness and size would decrease, only minor stylistic changes would take place until the reign of Henry Tudor in 1485. He would introduce the Sovereign coinage, so called because the obverse of the coin depicted the king seated on a throne.

    I hope this post made for an enjoyable read for some of you. Feel free to post any coins you like, especially if you have made it all the way through this.
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  3. Mat

    Mat Ancient Coincoholic

    Nice examples & writeup.

    Henry III (1216-1272 A.D)
    AR Penny
    Long Cross type Class 3b
    Engraver: Nicholas of St. Albans
    O: hЄNRICVS RЄX | III, Crowned facing portrait of King Henry III, 6 pointed star straddles central crown ornament, legend from 12 o'clock.
    R: NIC OLE ONL VND, Voided long cross with trefoil of pellets in each angle.
    London mint
    North 987
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
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  4. chrsmat71

    chrsmat71 I LIKE TURTLES! Supporter

    Cool coin, and a cool write up! I enjoyed reading it!
    TheRed likes this.
  5. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Thanks for this. I'm a medieval lit guy by trade but collect ancient Roman coinage because 1) some medieval coinage can get pretty pricey and 2) I just don't know very much about the coinage and don't even know what to look for, especially when so much of the coinage looks the same to the untrained eye. A write-up like this really helps with the latter. Thanks.

    Here are my only medieval English coins; an Edward III penny and a cut penny.

  6. seth77

    seth77 Well-Known Member

    I especially like the Jean d'Avesnes sterling.
    TheRed likes this.
  7. Orfew

    Orfew Supporter! Supporter

    @TheRed That was a wonderful writeup! Thanks very much for taking the time to do this. I have been researching medieval English coins for the last few months and find it to be an extremely interesting area of collecting. Though I have several hammered English coins one thing is hiding me back. It is a bit hard to spend more than 1000.00 on some of the tougher coins when the weight is under one gram in some cases and when a vf coin looks like a vg-f coin in any other collecting area. Still I m having fun with it partially because of enthusiastic and interesting posts such as yours.

    Here is my Edward I penny. I could not believe I got this for 50.00 from Harlan Berk's bid or buy sale several months ago. I would pay 50.00 for this any day of the week.

    While yours is Class 1C mine is 3G.

    Edward I.png
    England, Plantagenet Kings
    ND AR Penny Edward I 1272-1307 London
    (19.1 mm 1.4 g)
    Class III g, late “S”.
    North 1022 S 1393
    Purchased from H. J. Berk May 15, 2017
    201st Bid or Buy sale lot 516
    Rich Buck, Curtisimo, JBGood and 13 others like this.
  8. dougsmit

    dougsmit Member Supporter

    Henry III/Jacob on Brust (Bristol) ex. John Anthony on CT.

    I found interest in the ligate letters included the bridging different words N of on and B of Brust or is the B just missing the bar so it looks like an 3???
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  9. alde

    alde Always Learning Supporter

    Outstanding writeup Red. It made for a very interesting and informative read. I wish more history books were writen in your style as it reads easily. I also love the coins. I have grown to love English hammered pennies and am trying to accumulate as many mints as I can. Of course I keep saying I need to get busy with the camera so I can share more of my coins. I promise it will be soon.

    Here is a Henry III long cross of Willem of Cantabury and an Edward I Irish penny of Waterford.
    Henry III AR Penny Willem on Cant S-1362A Class 3a2.jpg Edward I Irish Penny S 6254.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
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  10. TheFinn

    TheFinn Well-Known Member

    Thank you. Another subject I find very interesting and could absorb all of your spare time. I am a calligrapher, and that skill comes in handy sometimes with script on coins and currency.
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  11. alde

    alde Always Learning Supporter

    Gavin, your cut penny looks like Edward I. Can you show us the reverse of both and we may be able to give you more info.
  12. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Thanks! Looks like I took down some good notes when I bought the penny, but the cut coin (must be a cut farthing by the size) is still a bit of a mystery to me.

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  13. alde

    alde Always Learning Supporter

    Gavin, it looks like you already have a full attribution of the penny. The cut coin is indeed a farthing of Edward I and was minted in London as well. You are lucky to have the full text of the city name. It may not be possible to get much more from it. This is a wonderful area of collecting but can be a rabbit hole if you let it.
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  14. swish513

    swish513 Penny & Cent Collector

    Not the only obverse legend. Class 1 pennies have 3 different legends. Class 1a and 1c read "EDW REX ANGL DNS HYB" while class 1d through class 9 read "EDW R ANGL DNS HYB." There are, of course, variations dealing with punctuation in those classes, hence, multiple classes.
  15. randygeki

    randygeki Coin Collector

    Very nice!
    England, Edward I (1272-1307), Penny, 1.26g., New coinage, class 9a1 (c.1299 to 1300/1), London mint, facing bust of King, star on breast, +EDWAR ANGL DNS HYB, rev., long cross with trefoil of pellets in each angle, CIVITAS LONDON (N.1036/1; S.1407), struck flat in parts, fine.
  16. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

    Thanks @alde for the attribution help on the cut farthing. I had no idea it was that early.
  17. TJC

    TJC Well-Known Member

    Great write up!!! Very cool coins!
    TheRed likes this.
  18. David D

    David D EuroTrash

    First off, that was an awesome write up! I am, and have always been, intrigued by mid-evil times. My wife and I traveled to Europe last September making stops in London, Amsterdam, Stockholm, and Gothenburg. We had such an amazing time in London and after reading your post, I could kick myself for not looking for any old coinage available for sale while visiting. I will say this, if you find yourself in London, visit the London Dungeon. It was absolutely fascinating, and slightly unnerving, learning what many people during mid-evil times went through. Any idea what they might have used to cut a metal coin like that? I'm going to go ahead and assume their hardware stores didn't have bolt cutters
    TheRed likes this.
  19. TheRed

    TheRed Well-Known Member

    Thanks to all for such kind praise. Medeivals are such a small niche around here so its really nice to know people alleviate the coins and post.

    That's a real nice Henry III penny @Mat it's my favorite class of his.

    @Gavin Richardson your cut farthing is fascinating. There are some really helpful web sites and inexpensive books or there that make the tall of identification a lot easier. I'd be happy to pass them along if you are interested.

    @dougsmit you have a very nice Henry III penny, class 3 is my favorite. The combination of letters was a common practice, and usually involved the letters N, B, and D. It was any easy way for the die engraver to save space.

    @Orfew I feel the same way some times. A Seleucid tet has such a pleasant feel and size compared to an Edward penny. Yet my interest in history is largely medieval and i just can't say no to a nice coin of Edward III or Henry II. I still can't believe Harlan sold your coin for such a low price. It's got a fantastic bust of Edward. I would have gladly paid double for it. Class 3 is one of the nicest of the series.
    Orfew and Gavin Richardson like this.
  20. TheRed

    TheRed Well-Known Member

    Those are some very nice coins @alde especially the Irish penny of Edward. I have yet to purchase any, but really want to start with that series next.

    Thanks for adding that @swish513 I had written a couple paragraphs on the different classes, but removed them as it was making a somewhat tedious post even worse.

    Very nice coin @randygeki It's nice to know a dedicated FTR guy like yourself has a medeival penny lurking in his collection. All it takes is one coin to draw into the darker side of the dark side.

    That sounds like a great trip @David D I would love to go to Stockholm and Amsterdam. Usually a chisel would be used to cut the coins, or very strong shears. English pennies aren't very thick, so it doesn't take much to cut them. Some of the cut coins are nicely done and others horribly mangled.
    randygeki likes this.
  21. Gavin Richardson

    Gavin Richardson Well-Known Member

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