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 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 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 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 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.