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.
What to look out for to identify coins of Henry II, there are 3 simple ways. Classes 1a to 1c
Here are some identification tips for the Lionheart, classes 2 to 4b.
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.
Classes 6c to 8c are covered in this reign, they are also the most common largely to being produced for 30 years.