Short Cross Coinage

Introduced in 1180, the new Short Cross Coinage replaced the often poorly struck Tealby issue. This new coinage covers the reigns of Henry II, Richard I, John and into the reign of Henry III. All Short Cross coinage bears the name “hENRICVS”.

The coins can be divided into 8 different classes and each coin bears the name of the moneyer who minted it, and the name of the mint at which it was produced. A table of mints, moneyers and the classes each moneyer produced can be found in Spink's Coins of England and the United Kingdom.

All coins minted were pennies with the exception of rare round halfpennies and farthings of class 7. Cut halfpennies and farthings can still be found of the Short Cross issue.

Continental imitations of this issue are known, and can generally be identified by them not quite fitting any of the descriptions, having misspelt legends, or unusual portraits.

Key things to look out for.

Type of hair: Smaller non-pelleted curls were used from Henry II up to John class 5a1. Circular pelleted curls were used from John class 5a2 onwards.

Style of the lettering: Some classes can be distinguished by differences in the shape or style of lettering used. The descriptions from Spink listed below tell you of any differences in the lettering for each class.

Mint and moneyer: The mint and moneyer can be very helpful in narrowing down the coin, and as explained above, the table of mints and moneyers in the Spink Standard Catalogue is a very useful tool when doing this.

Initial Mark: On the reverse of the coin there is an initial mark between the end of the mint name and the start of the moneyer's name. Most Short Cross coins will have a cross Pattee as its initial mark, but a few have a cross Pommee. If the initial mark is a Cross Pomme then it can only be a John 5a1 or Henry III class 8 (unless it is an imitation), or Rhuddlan Mint. The round halfpennies and farthings have up-turned crescents as initial marks.

Henry II, 1180-1189

Class 1


Spink 1343: “Small face, square E, and/or C, and/or round M, irregular number of curls.”

1a variant:

Spink 1343A: “Small face, seriffed X, round E and C, square M, irregular number of curls.”


Spink 1344: “Fine portrait, curls 2 left and 5 right, stop before REX on most coins.”


Spink 1345: “Portrait less finely shaped, irregular number of curls, normally no stop before REX.”

Richard I, 1189-1199

Class 2


Spink 1346: “Chin whiskers made up of small curls, no side whiskers, almost always 5 pearls to crown, frequently no collar, sometimes RE/X.”

Class 3


Spink 1347: “Large or small face, normally 7 pearls to crown, chin and side whiskers made up of small curls.”

Class 4


Spink 1348A: Normally 7 pearls to crown, chin and side whiskers made up of small pellets, hair consisting of 2 or more non-parallel crescents left and right.”


Spink 1348B: “Same as last but with reverse colon stops (instead of single pellets).”

4b: (Now thought to be of John rather than Richard)

Spink 1348C: “Normally 7 pearls to crown, chin and side whiskers made up of small pellets, single (or parallel) crescents as hair left and right, frequent malformed letters.”

John, 1199-1216


Spink 1349: “Reversed S, square face at bottom, 5 pearls to crown, normally single crescents as hair left and right.”

Class 5


Spink 1350A: “Reversed or regular S, irregular curved lines as hair (or circular curls containing no pellets), cross pattee as initial mark on reverse, London and Canterbury only.”


Spink 1350B: “Reversed S, circular curls left and right (2 or 3 each side) containing single pellets, cross pommee as initial mark on the reverse.”

Spink 1350C: “5a/5b or 5b/5a.”


Spink 1351: “Regular S, circular pelleted curls, cross pattee as initial mark on reverse.”


Spink 1352: “Slightly rounder portrait, letter X in the form of a St. Andrew's cross.”

Class 6


Spink 1353: “Smaller portrait, with smaller letter X composed of thin strokes or, later, short wedges.”

Henry III, 1216-1272. Short Cross issue from 1216-1247.


Spink 1354: “Very tall lettering and long rectangular face.”


Spink 1355: “Lettering now shorter, face narrow and triangular.”

6c orn.:

Spink 1355A: “Various letters now ornamental in design, curls 3/3 left and right.”


Spink 1355B: “Canterbury mint only, RE/X, curls 2/2, nostril pellets outside nose.”


Spink 1355C: “Face less distinct in shape, N's containing a pellet along the crossbar.”

Class 7


Spink 1356A: “Small compact face, letter A with top coming to a point under crossbar.”


Spink 1356B: “Letter A with square top, M appears as H.”


Spink 1356C: “Degraded portrait, letter A and M as in 7b, large lettering.”

Class 8:


Spink 1357A: “New portrait; letter X in shape of curule; cross pattee as initial mark on reverse (early style) or cross pommee (late style).”


Spink 1357B: “Degraded portrait, wedge-shaped X, cross pommee as initial mark.”


Spink 1357C: “Degraded portrait, cross pommee X, cross pommee as initial mark.”


Spink 1357D: “Round halfpenny in style of class 7, initial mark in the shape of up-turned crescent, London mint only.”


Spink 1357E: “Round farthing in the style of class 7, initial mark in the shape of up-turned crescent, London mint only.”

Coins of the Rhuddlan mint were an irregular local issue and so stretched between reigns. There are two different groups of Rhuddlan mint coins.

Group I - c.1180 - Pre1205

Group II - c.1205 - 1215

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