Short Cross Coins

c. 1180 - 1247 A.D.


A new coinage was needed to replace the poorly struck and irregular flans of the Cross & Crosslet "Tealby" Coinage. So 22 years into Henry II's reign he introduced a new penny. This would continue to be the style for the next 67 years, that lasted the remainder of his reign and that of his sons Richard I "the Lionheart" and John. It also continued for 30 years into his grandsons reign Henry III until he brought in a new coinage the voided long cross penny.

Short cross coins are aptly named for the short cross on the reverse. The voided cross was used as a marker to cut along to create smaller denominations as the penny was the only coin produced, in half for a Halfpenny and into quarters for Farthings. They did experiment with a round halfpenny and farthing in Henry III's reign but with the low numbers still around today and that they didn't produce any in the next new coinage it clearly didn't do well.

The general style stayed the same throughout with the obverse legend reading "hENRICVS REX" the latin form of the kings name so there were no english coins in the names of Richard I or John. The reverse design always had the small cross in the centre with a quatrefoil of pellets in the angles. This was surrounded by the reverse legend which started with a cross followed by the monyers name then ON and then an abbreviation of the mint signature.

There are many mints, moneyers and classes which makes the short cross coinage interesting for collectors. We will go into more detail on that in a while but first of all how do you identify which monarch your coin was struck under. Here are some quick identification tricks to get you started.

Quick Identifier Tricks for the Short Cross Coinage.

Henry II - 1180-1189 AD

What to look out for to identify coins of Henry II, there are 3 simple ways. Classes 1a to 1c

  1. If there is a pellet between henricvs and rex - hENRICVS . REX this will be Henry II, class 1a or 1b.
  2. Number of hair curls are either an irregular number of simple curls each side or 2 left and 5 right.
  3. Any with a sqaure E will be an early class 1a issue.
Henry II Penny Square E
Henry II with Square E uneven hair curls and pellet in legend - Class 1a early
Henry II Penny
Henry II with seriffed X - Class 1a late
Henry II Penny
Henry II with hair curls 2 - 5 - Class 1b

Henry II Short Cross Coins for Sale

Richard I "Lion Heart" - 1189-1199 AD

Here are some identification tips for the Lionheart, classes 2 to 4b.

  1. Most of the coins struck for Richard had 7 pearls making up the rim of the crown. Although Class 2 was still 5.
  2. The beard is generally bushy made up of curls.
  3. The early class 2 is the only type to not have a collar around the neck.
Richard I Penny Class 3
Richard I with curls in beard and 7 pellets to crown - Class 3
Richard I Penny Class 4a
Richard I with pellets for beard and many irregular hair curls - Class 4a
Richard I Penny Class 4b
Richard I single hair curl each side and very easy to identify and many pellets to crown - Class 4b
Richard I Short Cross Coins for Sale

John "Lackland" - 1199 - 1216 AD

John has been assigned Classes 4c to 6b with class 5b & c being the most common. These are also the easiest to identify with the matching double hair curls with pellets.

  1. Most coins of John have long slim faces and 2 hair curls with a pellet per side.
  2. Class 5a has a reversed letter S in hENRICVS.
John Short Cross Penny Class 5a2
John early class with reversed S in legend - Class 5a2
John Short Cross Penny Class 5c
John with double hair curls with pellets, most coins of King John have these - Class 5c
John Short Cross Penny Class 6b
John with a long face seen on the later coins which go over into the reign of Henry III - Class 6b
John Short Cross Coins for Sale

Henry III - 1216 - 1247 AD

Classes 6c to 8c are covered in this reign, they are also the most common largely to being produced for 30 years.

  1. Most have a more rounded face, small and compact.
  2. One class has ornamental letters - Class 6c Orn. Mostly curls on the letter e's and c's.
Henry III Short Cross Penny Class 7a
Henry III Small compact face - Class 7a
Henry III Short Cross Penny Class 7b
Henry III rounded face - Class 7b
Henry III Short Cross Penny Class 6c orn.
Henry III with ornamental lettering - Class 6c orn

Henry III Short Cross Coins for Sale

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