Anglo Saxon-Early Medieval

This is such a vast subject, that there will be highlighted links posted throughout to take you to experts & sites that are dedicated to one particular coin or a serious of coins, offering a much easier solution to the problem of identification

To start with, the everyday run of the mill coins we find as metal detectorist are to far gone for us to identify, let alone be able to have a positive ID, but when we find a coin that has something left, we all should try to find an ID… most people, instead of trying themselves to find the age of a coin will turn to the social media sites, i think personally this is sad, as they are missing out on a large part of metal detecting…

I personally do not have a lot of coins from this era, and as such have very little experience of the coins but when i found this Saxon of Aetheralred 11  i knew that it was a Saxon & was able to get a positive id from the spinks book…


MEDIEVAL COINS – An Introduction

Richard Kelleher, Fitzwilliam Museum and Barrie Cook, British Museum


1) Early coinage (c.600-860s)

This early phase saw the emergence of a gold coinage on a small scale inspired by imported Merovingian coins. Over the 7th century the gold gave way to a much more extensive silver currency

Shilling/Tremissis/’Thrymsa’ (early 7t century)
The first indigenous English coins imitated Frankish tremisses with occasional Roman or Byzantine influences. They are often referred to as ‘thrymsas’ but there is no evidence for the use of this word in the period. They
Weight: c.1.28g Diameter: 12mm Metal: Gold Design: various but often an obverse bust and some form of reverse cross. A few have inscriptions. As UK finds: Extremely rare.
Penny/Sceat/’Sceatta ‘ (c. 660-mid 8th century)
After a transitional phase comprising base gold coins the silver penny emerged c.660-680. These small, thick coins were of a similar size to the gold shillings. The use of the name ‘sceatta’ which one often sees was not a contemporary term.
Weight: c.l.log Diameter: 12mm Metal: Silver Design: Huge variety in imagery including busts, crosses, plants, birds and animals. As UK finds: Common.
Penny/ ‘Styca’
Coinage in the kingdom of Northumbria developed differently to that elsewhere in the late 8t and 9 centuries. The silver pennies became debased until they were essentially copper. They were produced in large quantities.
Weight: c.1.2g Diameter: mm Metal: Copper Design: Inscription around a central pellet or cross, naming the ruler and moneyer. As UK finds: Common in the North East.

2) Broad flan penny period (from c.760)

In the mid-eighth century the style of the coinage changed, inspired by developments on the continent. The new coins were broader and thinner than the previous pennies, carrying the name of the issuing authority (king) and the moneyer responsible for their striking. In c.973 a coinage reform under Ædgar introduced a standardised type at all mints and stipulated that both the name of the moneyer and the mint town were indicated on the reverse of each coin. This format would endure for over 300 years.

Penny Weight: 1.37g Diameter: 20-22mm Metal: Silver Design: Busts and cross designs most often, some horizontal inscription types. As UK finds: Uncommon before the 11 th century.
Halfpenny eoWeight: o.60g Diameter: 16mm Metal: Silver Design: Similar to the pennies. As UK finds: Very rare
Mancus Weight: g Diameter: mm Metal: Gold Design: Varies under Offa, later ones similar to pennies. As UK finds: Extremely rare.

For the majority of the period from the introduction of the broad flan penny to 1279 there were no minted fractional coins. The need for smaller denominations was achieved by the cutting of pennies into halves and quarters using the reverse cross as a handy guide.

Further reading:

Abramson, T. 2006, Sceattas: An Illustrated Guide. Anglo-Saxon Coins and Icons (Heritage Marketing and Publications Ltd.).

Gannon, A. 2003, The Iconography of Early Anglo-Saxon Coinage: Sixth to Eighth Centuries (OUP, Oxford).


Grierson, P. & Blackburn, M. 1986, Medieval European Coinage 1. The Early Middle Ages (5th 10 th centuries), (CUP, Cambridge).

Metcalf, D.M. 1993-4, Thrymsas and Sceattas in the Ashmolean Museum, Three volumes (Royal Numismatic Society/Ashmolean Museum, Oxford).

Williams, G. 2008, Early Anglo-Saxon Coins, (Shire, Oxford).


DenominationMetalValue Weight standard (in grains)
1279 135114121464/5
FarthingSilver1/4 pence  4-53-753
HalfpennySilver1/2 pence  97-56
PennySilver1 penny22.2 181512
Half-groatSilver2 pence  363024
GroatSilver4 pence89 726048
Testoon/shilling (1485)Silver12 pence    144
NobleGold6s. 8d. (80 d.)  128.59108 
Half-nobleGold3s. 4d. (40 d.)   54 
Quarter-nobleGoldIS. 8d. (20 d.)   27 
RyalGoldIOS. (120 d.)    120
Half-ryalGold5s (60 d.)    60
Quarter-ryalGold2s. 6d (30 d.)    30
AngelGold6s. 8d. (80 d.)    80
Half-an el (from 1470)Gold3s. 4d. (40 d.)    40
SovereignGold20 s. (240 d.)    240


1160sConstruction of Henry Il’s castle at Orford, Suffolk including the surrounding ditch, palisade and stone bridgeEl,414 9S 2d
13 centuryWar horseE80
1259Wage for threshing a quarter of barley1 pence
1261A dozen pigeons2 pence
1277-1304Edward I’s castle building programme in WalesE80,ooo
14 centuryAle – poor quality3 farthings/gallon
1331Wine – best Gascon in London4d/gallon
Mid-14 centuryLandless serfs tunic1-6 pence
1439-63Memorial chapel for Richard Beauchamp, Earl of WarwickE2,481
1457Spinning wheel10 pence
1457Two buckets1 shilling


The following sections provide the basics for identifying medieval coins from 1066-1500.

There are a couple of standard works that are well worth owning if at all possible.

North, J.J. 1993, English hammered Coinage, Two volumes (Spink, London).

Coins ofEngland and the United Kingdom, Annually published standard catalogue (Spink).

I. The Normans (1066-1154)

William I and Il (1066-1100)

The English coinage in the aftermath of the Norman Conquest is surprisingly similar to that which preceded it. William I did little to alter the style of the coins and many moneyers continued to operate under the new regime. There are 13 types of coins bearing the obverse inscription of William, rendered VILLELM with the Anglo-Saxon r (wen) for W. Another letter which is sometimes encountered is the D (thorn) for TH. Eight are attributed to William I with five given to William Il. There is a possibility that type 8 was struck under William Il.

o 00
1. Profile/Cross Fleury2. Bonnet3. Canopy4. Two sceptres
5. Two stars6. Sword7. Profile/Cross & Trefoils8. PAXS
1. Profile2. Cross in quatrefoil3. Cross voided4. Cross pattee & fleury
5. Cross fleury & piles

Coins of William I and Il (Images O British Museum).

There were over 70 mints active in the reigns of the first two Norman kings.

Breakdown of PAS/ EMC coins by type (Richard Kelleher).

The most frequent type encountered is BMC 8 (PAXS) which is more than twice as common as the next most prolific (BMC 5). Only a small proportion of the sample are cut halfpennies and farthings.

Henry I (1100-35)

The change of types at regular intervals continued under Henry I. In 1108 in a reform decreeing that all coins be snicked prior to leaving the mint, evidently to prove the coin was not a plated forgery, was introduced and some type 6 and all type 7-12 coins show this treatment. The order of types 7-11 is debated. By 1124 conditions had worsened, the AngloSaxon Chronicle reported a great purge of moneyers at Winchester in which many were mutilated by removal of a hand and castration as punishment for false coining. Type 15 is dated from 1125 to the end of the reign.

1. Annulets2. Profile/Cross fleury3. PAX4. Annulets & piles
es coee
5. Voided cross & fleurs6. Pointing bust & stars9. Cross in Quatrefoil8. Large profile/cross & annulets
7. Quatrefoil with piles11. Double Inscription10. Full Face/ Cross Fleury12.             Smaller Profile/Cross Annulets
13. Star in Lozenge Fleury14. Pellets in Quatrefoil15. Quad. on Cross Fleury

Coins of Henry I (Images O British Museum).

z      U halfpennies u cut farthings cut halfpennies u penn ies                                                                                                                       140 120 IOO .80 60 20

Breakdown of PAS/ EMC coins by type (Richard Kelleher).

Around 59 mints struck coins for Henry I.

Stephen (1135-54)

The civil war had a profound effect on the coinage of Stephen’s reign. Four main types were minted for the king. Types 1 and 7 were struck at the national scale, bookending the civil war period. Types 2 and 6 were struck only in southern and eastern areas under Stephen’s control during the conflict. A large variety of irregular types were struck based on type 1, as well as rare types in the name of Matilda and other barons.

1. ‘Watford’2. Cross voided & mullets6. Profile/cross & piles7. ‘Awbridge’

Coins of Stephen (Images @ British Museum).

300 250 200 150 100 50 BMC I        RMC Il       8M C VI    BMCVII     Baronial and irregularu Cut-farthing u Cut-halfpenny u Penny

Breakdown of PAS/ EMC coins by type (Richard Kelleher).

Further reading:

Allen, M. 2012, Mints and Money in Medieval England, Cambridge University Press:


Allen, M. 2012, ‘Mints and money in Norman England’, Anglo-Norman England XXXIV.

Blackburn, M. 1991, ‘Coinage and currency under Henry I: a review’, in M. Chibnall (ed.) Anglo-Norman Studies XIII, Proceedings of the Battle Conference 1990, Boydell: Woodbridge, 49-81.

Blackburn, M. 1994, ‘Coinage and currency’, in E. King (ed.) The Anarchy of King Stephen’s Reign, Oxford, pp.145-203.

Mack, R.P. 1966, ‘Stephen and the anarchy 1135-1154’, British Numismatic Journal 35, pp.38-112.

Il. Cross and Crosslets (‘Tealby’) coinage (1158-80)

In 1158 Henry Il reformed the coinage which had suffered as a result of the uncertain conditions of the civil war. This new type moved away from a regular change in design and so new coins were effectively added to the currency pool without the older pieces being recalled. The classification into six classes (A-F) is based on changes to elements of the bust. Of all the medieval series’ this suffers from the worst manufacturing and coins are more often than not ill struck with only parts of the bust or inscription legible.

Obverse: Crowned bust facing turned slightly to the right, bearded with sceptre. Cloak and armour visible, +hENRI REX ÄNGL.

Reverse: Large cross potent with small crosses in each angle, in centre, a small cross in saltire.

Thirty-two mints are known to have struck Cross-and-Crosslets coins although many were only operational in the initial recoinage class A. Just twelve struck the final class F.

Bedford (BEDDE)

Bristol (BRISTO)

Bury St Edmunds (S:EDMV)

Canterbury (CANTO, CANT)

Carlisle (CARDV, CAR)

Chester (CESTE, LES)

Colchester (COLEC)

Durham (DVNhO, DVN)

Exeter (EXCES)

Gloucester (GLOECES) Hereford (hERFD, hERFOR) lichester (IVELCE) Ipswich (GIPEW, GIPEØ‘, PIP)

Launceston (LANST)

Leicester (LERE, LERLS)




Newark? (NEPI)

Newcastle (NEVCAS, NIVCA)

Northampton (NORAD, NORhÄ)


Pembroke (PAIN)

Salisbury (SÄLEB)

Shrewsbury (SALOPES)

Stafford (STÄF)

Thetford (TETFO, TIEF)

Wallingford (WALK)

Wilton (WILT, VILTV)

Winchester (WINE, VINCS, WIN)


Cross-and-Crosslets coins recorded by the PAS by mint (Richard Kelleher).

Simple classification

Class A (1158-c.1163) 4XX)hENRl REX ANG(L) No hair. Class D (c.1167-c.1170) hENRl:REX (RE or RX)
Class B (c.1162-c.1163) hENRl REX AN(G) No hair. Class E (c.1170-c.1174) hENRl REX           (REX: or RE:) Mantle sweeps from left shoulder across body.
Class C (c.1163-c.1167) Mantle indicated by sweeping lines, single curl.Class F (c.1174-1180) I-ENRI REX (A AN or ANG) Hair is a bunch of curls.

Bust types in the Cross-and-Crosslets type (Richard Kelleher).

Further reading:

Allen, D.F. 1951, British Museum Catalogue of the Cross-and-Crosslets (‘Tealby’) type of Henry Il, British Museum: London.

Crafter, T.C.R. 1998, ‘A re-examination of the classification and chronology of the Cross-andCrosslets type of Henry Il’, British Numismatic Journal 68, pp.42-63.

Ill. Short Cross coinage (1180-1247)

The Short Cross coinage was first issued under Henry Il in 1180 and continued to be struck by his sons Richard I and John and grandson Henry Ill without change to the obverse inscription ‘Henricus’.

Obverse: Facing bust, crowned and bearded, with sceptre,

Reverse: Short voided cross, with quatrefoil of four pellets in each angle. Initial cross followed by legend of [moneyer’s name] ON [mint name]. In the example above this reads for Philip at Northampton.

The eight Short Cross classes do not correspond to the regnal division of the period, e.g. class 4 was issued by both Richard and John and class 6 under John and Henry Ill.

Twenty-one mints are known to have struck the Short Cross coins although most were only active in the 1180 recoinage and partial recoinage of 1204/5. These are listed below with common abbreviations seen on the coins.

Bury St Edmunds (SOMV, SANTO)Lynn (L€NN)
Canterbury (CANT€, CAN, CA, C)Northampton (NORAMTV, NORhT)
Carlisle (CARDV)Norwich (NOR, NI)
Chichester (CIGS)Oxford (OX€N€, OCS€N)
Durham (DVR€, DVNOL)Rochester (ROV€)
Exeter (€xacas, accoShrewsbury (SALOP)
Ipswich (GIPE)Wilton (WIL)
Lichfield (Llh€Fl)Winchester (WINC€, WINC, WIN)
Lincoln (NICOL€)Worcester (WIRIC)
London (LVND€, LVND, LVN, LV)York (€V€RWIC)

Rhuddlan (RVTA, RVTLAN, RVTLN), which struck coins (c.1180-c.1215) used local dies which do not correspond to the main English classes.

York Worcester Winchester Wilton Shrewsbury Rochester Rhuddlan Oxford Norwich Northampton Lynn London Lincoln Lichfield Ipswich Exeter Durham Chichester Carlisle Canterbury Bury St Edmunds                                                        200           400           600          800          1000        1200 Number of coins

Short Cross coins recorded by the PAS by mint (Richard Kelleher).

Simple classification

Class 1 (1180-9) Hair of 2 curls (left) and 5 (right) each side of crown, crown formed of 5 pearls (distinctive letters square L and E in la; no pellets between h€NRlGVS.R€X in IC.Class 5 (1204/5-c.9) Hair formed of pellets enclosed in circles; some (5a) have a cross pommee initial mark; others (5c) have the X in saltire (like St Andrews cross).
OHair a mass of small curls at each side, crown of 5 pearls (rare).Class 6 (1209-17) OSmaller pearls in crown, bust usually coarser and triangular; X in small with rounded ends; some coins (6c) have ornamented letters.
Class 3 (1192-4) Long, narrow face, 7 or more pearls in crown.Class 7 (1217/18-42) No punctuation in reverse legend   (eg. ROBERTONCANT), except where the moneyer’s name is in more than one word
Class 4 (1194-1204/5) Coarse, almost grotesque bust, beard of pellets instead of the curls of earlier classes, 7 pearls in crown; may have only 1 or 2 curls for hair and the S in h€NRlCVS is often very blundered (4b) or reversed (4c).Class 8 (c.1242-7) Rare coins with various types; the commonest is crude looking with a cross pommee as the initial mark and sometimes as the X in ROC.

Further reading:

Mass, J.P. 2001, The J.P. Mass Collection of English Short Cross Coins 1180-1247, SCBI 56, Royal Academy: London.

Wren, C.R. 2006, The Short-Cross Coinage 1180-1247. Henry Il to Henry Ill, Spink, London.

IV. Long Cross coinage (1247-1279)

The reform of 1247 saw the introduction of a new design. The reverse cross was extended to the edge of the coin ostensibly to prevent clipping. How effective this was is debatable. They were issued under Henry Ill and the early reign of Edward I (1272-1307). In 1257 the mayor of London proclaimed that the king’s new gold penny should be immediately current for 20d. The coins did not prove popular and were quickly withdrawn; evidence shows that the king was buying them back at an inflated 24d. between 1265-70 (only a handful survive today).

Obverse: Bearded crowned head facing, sometimes with sceptre, with legend h€NRICVS Ill (from class 3 onwards).

Reverse: Long voided cross to edge of coin; three pellets in each angle; no initial mark before reverse legend of moneyer’s name, ON and mint name; legend divided into groups of letters by reverse cross (e.g. hVG I €0N I NOR I WIC above). There is no initial mark to orientate the coin for reading the reverse. Also, letters in the legend are often ligatured, i.e. joined together and sharing uprights, e.g. FD for ND.

Mint12 3 4 5 67
London (LONDON)       
Canterbury (CANT€R, KAN)       
Bury St Edmunds (S€DMVND, S€INTED, S€NTEDM, B€RI, A€D)       
Exeter (€CCETR€)       
Lincoln (LINCOLN)       
Northampton (NORhA)       
Winchester (WINCh€)       
Bristol (BRVSTOV)       
Carlisle (CARL€L)       
Gloucester (GLOVC€T)       
Hereford (h€R€F)       
lichester (IV€LC€)       
Newcastle (N€W€CAS)       
Norwich (NORTWIZ, NORWIZS)       
Oxford (OXONFOR, OXON€F)       
Shrewsbury (SROS€B)       
Wallingford (WALK)       
Wilton (WILTON€)       
York (€VERWIC)       
Durham (DVR€, DVRh)       

Table of mints and classes in the Long Cross coinage (Richard Kelleher).

Two main mints (London and Canterbury) shared the load of striking coins with the others active only in the recoinage phase. Mint names are usually given in their longest forms, though shorter forms are found depending on the length of the moneyer’s name. Sometimes odd-looking variants occur (e.g. CAN, GLOC€, LLIN, LVNDC) – these are often imitations.

York Winchester Wi Iton Wallingford Shrewsbury Oxford Norwich Northampton Newcastle London Lincoln llchester Hereford Gloucester Exeter Durham Carlisle Canterbury Bury St Edmunds Bristol                                      o              100           20D           300           400            500           600           7DO           €00 Number of coins

Long Cross coins recorded by the PAS by mint (Richard Kelleher).

Simple classification

Class 1 (1247-8) Has the legend h€NRlCVS REX or h€NRlCVS REX ANG. The reverse reads ANGLI€ T€RCI (the earliest coins from London only) or LI€ T€RCI plus the mint name (London, Canterbury or Bury), with no moneyer’s name.Class 5 (1251-72) OThe legend henceforth begins to the left, after the sceptre.
Class 2 (1248) Has the legend h€NRlCVS REX T€RCI on the obverse, and the moneyer and mint on the reverse.Class 6 (1272-9) Has a crude bust with pellet eyes and realistic curls; the only moneyers are Robert of Durham, Renaud of London and Ion/lohs of Bury St Edmunds.
Class 3 (1248-50) Introduces the main legend h€NRlCVS REX I l l’.Class 7 (1272-9)Is of fine style, with a Lombardic (rounded) U instead of the usual V; the moneyers are Phelip and Renaud of London, Robert of Durham and Ion/lohs/loce of Bury.
Class 4 (1250-51) Introduces the sceptre to the design; the legend begins at the top, with the Ill after the sceptre.  

Further reading:

Carpenter, D.A. 1987, ‘Gold and gold coins in England in the mid-thirteenth century’, Numismatic Chronicle 147, pp.106-13.

Churchill, R. and Thomas, B. 2012, The Brussels Hoard of 1908. The Long Cross Coinage of Henry Ill (Baldwin & Sons Ltd, London).

Wren, C.R. 1993, Voided Long-Cross Coinage, 1247-1279, Henry Ill and Edward I (Plantagenet Books, Herne Bay).

V. Sterling pennies (1279-c.1333)

In 1279 Edward I instituted a major reform of the coinage. This involved a new, more realistic ,bust the obverse, a solid cross on the reverse, the removal of moneyer’s names from the coins and the introduction of fractional coins in the form of halfpennies and farthings (plus a failed attempt to introduce the fourpenny groat).


Obverse: Crowned, unbearded bust facing, with drapery at neck usually formed of two wedges; initial cross at start of legend. +0WRÄNGLDNShYB.

Reverse: Long cross (single) with three pellets in each angle; legend of mint name only, prefixed CIVITÄS or VILLA (except early coins of Bury St Edmunds which name the moneyer ROB€RT Da HAD€L€I€); the reverse cross breaks the legend into four parts, usually with 3 or 4 letters in each quarter (e.g. CIVI I TAS I LON I DON).

The Edwardian sterlings are grouped into 15 classes running from the recoinage of Edward I (1272-1307) in 1279 to the early years of Edward Ill (1327-77) – class 15d, a rare type. Edward I’s issues run from class 1 to mid class 10; Edward Il’s are of mid class 10 to 15c. The commonest classes are 2-4, 9-11, 15; classes 1, 5-8 and 12 are rare. There are extensive sub-classes within most of these 15 classes.

1200 1000 800 600 400 200

Sterling pennies recorded by the PAS by class (Richard Kelleher).

Broad criteria for identification.

There are two elements which help identify the Edwardian coins, the style of the crown and the obverse legend.

Form of crown         

Obverse legends OW REX ANGL DNS I-DIB (class la, IC)

                                     REX                 DNS hiBN (class 1b)


OWA R ANGL DNS hYB (most of10 and 11)

OWA R ANGL DNS hYB (some of10 and 11, all 12-15)

There are a few other variants, and also erroneous legends arising from mistakes at the mint. There are also imitative series’ produced in Europe with English legends, notably €DW RE ANGL DNShYB, as well as the many imitative sterlings with other legends (see section on foreign coins).

Mints and classes

London (CIVITÄS LONDON)               
Canterbury (CIVITÄS CANTOR)               
Bury St Edmunds (VILLA SCI€DMVNDI)               
Durham (VILLA                
Bristol (VILLA BRISTOLLI€)               
Chester (CIVITÄS C€STRI€)               
Exeter (CIVITAS €XONI€)               
Kingston upon Hull (VILL KYNC€STON)               
Lincoln (CIVITÄS LINCOL)               
Newcastle (VILA NOVICASTRI)               
York, royal (CIVITÄS €BORACI)               
York, Episcopal (CIVITÄS                
  • A number of other spellings are known DVRENE DVREMI€ DVN€LM DVNOLM

** Identified by a quatrefoil in centre of reverse cross.

Noteworthy features

Durham coins often have distinctive mint marks reflecting the incumbent bishop, as well as a crozier end to one arm of the reverse cross.

  • Coins were issued at Berwick on Tweed (VILLA B€R€VVICI, B€RREVICI) in 1296-1318 and 1333-44. These have a different classification from the main series.  Some classes have distinctive marks on the breast of the royal image: an annulet on some coins of Id; 3 pellets on 4e•, 1 pellet on 5, a rose on 7; a star on many of 9.
  • Pennies of Edward Ill (15d) are distinguished by a Lombardic (rounded) n not the Roman N.

Alongside the pennies were struck halfpennies and farthings.

Further reading:

North, J.J. 1989, The J.J. North Collection. Edwardian English silver coins 1279-1351 with some supplementary examples, SCBI 39: (London).

Withers, P. and Withers, B. 2001, Farthings and Halfpennies. Edward I and Il (Galata: Llanfyllin).

VI. Silver coinages of Edward Ill and Richard Il

Edward Ill (1327-77)

2nd Coinage (1335-43), sometimes called the ‘star-marked’ coinage.

Halfpennies and farthings only. Legend €DWÄRDVS ROC Ä(NG), ending with a star. Mints: London and Reading (VILA RADINGY, rare) only.

3rd Coinage (1344-51), sometimes called the ‘Florin’ coinage.

Penny: sterling type but with well-defined neck and shoulders; crown with large broad central fleur-de-lis; legend usually €DW(Ä) R ANGL DNS hYB.

Halfpennies and farthings: similar designs, with legend €DWÄRDVS R€X (An). London and Reading only.

4th Coinage (11351-77)

This coinage introduced the full range of late medieval coins, in gold the noble (6s.8d., below left), its half and quarter, and in silver the groat (4d., below right) and half-groat, as well as penny, halfpenny and farthing. In the 1360s a mint at Calais (VILLA CÄLISI€) issued the higher denominations. There are three main subdivisions of the coinage, reflecting the king’s titles on the larger coins (i.e. whether he was claiming the throne of France).

Pre-treaty period (1351-61)

Subdivision into 6 series, A-G distinguished by changing initial marks, letter forms and some punctuation.

Legend: €DWÄR(D) (DG) REX ANG FRANC (D hYB); punctuation usually single annulets. Legend on pennies: €DWÄRDVS R€X

Treaty period (1361-9)

Subdivided into Transitional and main series.


Legend on pennies: €DWÄRD ANGL R DNS hYB

Post-treaty period (1369-77)

Legend: €DWÄRD DI G(RÄ) REX ANG FRANC (i AQT on gold only); punctuation of saltire or double saltire stops.

Legend on pennies: €DWÄRD REX ANGL FR(ÄNC) or €DWÄRDVS R€X ANGLI€

There are several variants in the penny legends and designs for the issuing mints of London, York and Durham. Generally for the rest of the middle ages a quatrefoil in the centre of the reverse distinguishes York pennies (but beware 15th century Irish issues). The spelling of the mint name can help classify Durham pennies: CIVITÄS DVN€LMI€ = pre-Treaty; DVR€M€ pre-Treaty G or Treaty; DVOR€LM€ or DVN€LMIS = Treaty; = DVNOLM = post-Treaty.

Richard Il (1377-99)


Pennies normally have obverse marks: lis or cross on the breast, or a pellet by each shoulder. Pennies from York are often from relatively crude, locally produced dies. Most of these have pellets by the shoulder and cross on breast.

VIl. Fifteenth century silver coinage

The potential problem of three successive kings called Henry is obviated by the extensive and regular use of various privy marks on the coinage.

Coinage of Henry IV (1399-1413) is rare. The silver usually has a pellet one side and an annulet the other side of the crown. Pennies and halfpennies of York and Durham are the only coins which could be described as moderately, rather than very, rare.

The principal types of silver coins under Henry V (1413-22), classes C to G, have a mullet on the breast of the groats and half-groats, and on the pennies a mullet to one side of the crown and a trefoil or annulet to the other.

From the reign of Henry VI (1422-61) the silver coinage carries a bust with its hair sticking out in a tuft on each side of the crown. There is a sequence of usually clear symbols as punctuation, on the breast, or by the neck of the bust. Calais is revived as a very productive mint, out-producing London in the first decades of the reign.

Distinguishing marks

AnnuletLeaf Mascle MulletPineconeSaltireRosette Trefoil Lis

Annulet issue (1422-7): annulets in two quarters of the reverse. Coins of Calsi also have an annulet either side of the bust (there are rare York coins also).

Rosette Mascle (1427-30): Rosettes, or rosettes and mascles, as punctuation.

Pinecone Mascle (1430-4): Pinecones and mascles as punctuation.

LeafMascle (1434-5): a leaf below the bust, one mascle among the punctuation (no farthings).

Leaf Trefoil (1435-8): usually leaf on breast, and/or leaves and trefoils among punctuation.

Trefoil (1438-43): leaf on breast and trefoils by neck (groat and halfpenny only).

Trefoil Pellet (1443-5): trefoils by neck, pellets by crown, and leaf on breast.

LeafPellet (1445-54): leaf on breast and pellets by crown.

Unmarked (1445-54): no marks on obverse, extra pellets in cross angles on reverse (groat and half-groat only).

Cross Pellet (1454-60): saltire on, or at each side of, neck, pellets by crown.

Lis Pellet (1454-60): lis on neck and pellets by crown (groats only).

Calais probably struck groats to farthings (some low denominations are missing), annulet to Leaf Trefoil, during which it ceased to be active. York struck the range of silver in Annulet.; then just pennies in most types. Durham is active in striking pennies in Pinecone Mascle, Leaf Trefoil (two overlapping rings in centre of reverse cross), Leaf Pellet (ditto), and Cross Pellet (ditto).


Edward IV (1461-70, 1471-83)

This coinage is marked by a sequence of distinctive initial marks, 23 in all, interrupted by the restoration of Henry VI in 1470-1, with 6 initial marks. Richard Ill’s coinage has 3 initial marks: sun and rose combined; boars head; and lis (at Durham only). The main problems arise when the initial marks are unclear through clipping or wear.


Edward IV (First reign 1461-71): Lis, Cross fleury, Plain cross, Rose, Sun, Crown, Long cross fitchee, Pall.

Henry VI (Restored October 1470-April 1471): Cross pattee, Restoration cross, Short cross fitchee, Trefoil, Rose, Lis.

Edward IV (Second reign 1471-83): Short cross fitchee, Annulet, Trefoil, Cross in circle, Annulet and pellet, Cross and four pellets, Cross pattee, Pierced cross, Pierced cross and pellet, Pierced cross with central pellet, Cinquefoil, Sun and rose, Rose, Sun, Long cross fitchee.

Richard Ill (1483-5): Sun and rose, boar’s head, Lis (Durham).

On some silver coins of the new weight standard introduced in 1464/5 under Edward IV, the short-lived recoinage mints are indicated by a letter on the king’s breast as well as by the mint name on the reverse: B for Bristol, C for Coventry, N for Norwich and E for York.

In the later 15 th century pennies from the ecclesiastical mints at Durham and York are much more common than London ones. They often have distinctive marks relating to the incumbent bishop or archbishop (sometimes his initial) by the bust and on the reverse, as well as the (often illegible) initial mark.

 Initial marksBy bustCentre of revType
Edward IV, First reign, light coinage (1464/5-70)  
YorkRose, sunquatrefoilnothingV, VI
 Rose, cross, sun, lisG and keyquatrefoilLocal 1-3, VI
DurhamRoseB and D  
 SunQuatrefoil and B  
 CrownQuatrefoil and Bnothing 
 CrownD and quatrefoilnothing 
 CrowntrefoilsnothingVill 1
 CrownLisnothingVill 2
Henry VI restored (1470-1)   
YorkLisG and keyquatrefoil 
Edward IV, Second reign (1471-83)   
YorkCross fitchee over lisQuatrefoilQuatrefoilXll 1
 Cross fitcheeG and keyQuatrefoilXll 2
 Cross fitcheeG and keynothingXIV 1
 Annulet, cross in circle, rosenothingQuatrefoilXIV 2
 RoseE and roseQuatrefoilxvl
 RoseG and roseQuatrefoilxvl
 RoseG and keyQuatrefoilxvl
 RoseB and keyQuatrefoil 
 CinquefoilB and keyQuatrefoilXXI
 RoseB and keynothingXXI
 RoseT and keyQuatrefoilXXI
DurhamCross fitcheenothingnothingXll
 Trefoil, roseB and trefoilDXlll, XIV
 RoseV to ri htDlocal
 CinquefoilD and V local
Richard Ill (1483-5)   
YorkSun and rosenothingQuatrefoil 
 Sun and rose, boar’s headT and keyQuatrefoil 
DurhamLisS on breast  

VIll. Foreign coins in late medieval England

A range of foreign coins are on record as having entered currency in late medieval England. The following discussion concentrates on the groups which are frequently found, but it should be remembered that there are many other possibilities.

Irish and Scottish

Irish and Scottish pennies, being of the same standards as English coins, circulated freely in 13 th -14 th century England with no opposition. Their designs are related to the contemporary English ones. Scottish coins of this period have a profile, not a facing bust, and a star instead of a group of pellets in the angles of the reverse cross. Irish pennies have the bust surrounded by a triangle instead of a circle.

Sterling imitations

English pennies were popular on the continent where local imitations were made, many of which were imported into the English currency. Imitations of Short Cross and Long Cross pence are known (which should be remembered when a Short or Long Cross coin appears untypical, especially if the legend is non-standard), but the largest class of imitations are copies of Edwardian sterling. oo eo

There was a wave of these in the 1290s, leading to the partial recoinage which created the large sterling classes 9 and 10, and again in the 1330s-40S. Most imitations copy the design of a facing bust, but ‘crockards’ have the bust crowned by a chaplet of flowers and ‘pollards’ have an uncrowned bust. Lushbournes’ are the plentiful issues of Luxemburg under John the Blind. A selection of the most common legends are set out below:


13 century

Gui of Dampierre (1279-1305), count of Flanders and marquis of Namur

                +6 COMES FLANDRIE                       CIVITÄS ALOST

            +6 MARCHIO NAMVR             MONETA NAMVR

John of Avesnes (1280-1304), count of Hainaut

                +1 COMES HANONIE                      VALENCHENENS or MONETA MONTES

John I (1261-94) and John Il (1294-1312), dukes of Brabant and Limburg

            +1 DVX BRÄBÄNTIE                BRVXELLENSIS

           +1 DVX LIMBVRGIE                  DVX BRÄBÄNTIE

Arnold V (1279-1323), count of Looz

           +COMES ARNOLDVS                MONETA COMITIS

John of Louvain (1285-1309), lord of Herstal

            +10hES DE LOVANIO              MONETA HÄRSTEL

William of Hainaut (1285-96), bishop of Cambrai

           +GVILLS EPISCOPVS                CÄMERÄCENSIS

See of Cambrai, sede vacante (1296)

            +MONETÄ CÄPITVLI               CAMERÄCENSIS

Gui of Collemede (1296-1306), bishop of Cambrai

           GVIDO EPISCOPVS                   CAMERÄCENSIS

Renaud (1272-1326), count of Gelderland

                +COMES GLRENCIS                          CIVITÄS ARNEYM


14 century

Robert of Béthune (1305-22), count of Flanders

           +ROB COMES FLAND               MONETA ÄLOSTEN

               +EDLROBERTVS COMES                 MONETA GÄNDES

           +R COMES FLÄNDRIE               MONETA ÄLOTEN

Valeran, lord of Ligny (1304-53), and Serain (1364-6)

                +6 DOMINVS DE LINI                     MONETA SERENE or SERÄIN

+GVÄLER’ DE LVSENB John of Flanders (1305-25), ArleuxMONETA SERENE

Gaucher of Chatillon (1313-22), count of Porcien

           +GÄLChS COMES PORC            MONETA NOVA YVE

Henry VIl (1308-12), Holy Roman Emperor

          +HENRICVS DEI GRA            ROMÄNORVM REX

John the Blind (1309-46), king of Bohemia and duke of Luxemburg

                +10hANNES DEI GRA                     REX BOE ET POLO

               +EDWEM ET POLONIE REX            IOHNES DEI GRAC

                +EIWÄNES DNS REX B                   LVCENBVRGENSIS

                +EDIWÄNNES REX B                        VILA LVCENBVRG or MONETA LVCENBG


                +EIWÄNES REX BOHNE                 DENVILERNSIS

Stephen (1280-1306) or John (1306-26), counts of Sancerre

            +NOM IVLIVS CESARI              SACRVM CESARI

Ferry IV (1312-28), duke of Lorraine

                 +FERRÄCVS DEI GRA                     LONTORRENGIE or LONTOLENGIEN

‘Ec moneta nostra’ type (linked to Ferry of Lorraine)

            +EC MONETA NOSTRA           LVNTOLENGIEN

Thomas of Bourlemont (1330-53), bishop of Toul

                +THOMÄS EPISCOPVS                    EPS TVLENSIS or SIGNVM CRVCIS

Louis of Bavaria (1314-47), Holy Roman Emperor

+LVDOVICVS ROM REX Hartrad of Schonecken (1316-51)MONETA ÄQVENSIS
+HATRÄDVS D SCONEHH Maria (1342/4-53), Countess of NamurMONETA LYSEM or DE LISE

William (1337-91), Count of Namur and Meraude

           +GVLELMVS COMES                NAMVRCENSIS+

               +EDWILLELMVS COMVB                MONETA MERADE

Soldini of Venice

The silver soldino was known as the galyhapens (galley-halfpence) as it was brought by the annual Venetian trading fleets. The soldino was about the size of English halfpennies and was popular because of a contemporary lack of small change: soldini in fact occur as English finds more often than proper halfpennies of the period. There were two main periods of incursion.

The first was c.1400-24, consisting principally of soldini of Doge Michele Steno (1400-13):

Obverse: profile image of doge kneeling to left • + •MIC(hÄ€L • ST€N’ DVX. Reverse: winged lion of Venice facing • + • S • MARCVS • vaneT I.

The second incursion came in 1519-20, as soldini of Leonardo Loredano (1501-21)

Obverse: St Mark handing a banner to kneeling doge LEOLAV • DVX •

Reverse: standing figure of Christ LAVS • TIBI • SOLI •

Double atards of Bur und

Silver double patards of the dukes of Burgundy, from their territories of Brabant and Flanders, were made legally current in England as equal to groats (i.e. fourpence) in a convention of 1469 between Edward IV and Charles the Bold. They remained in currency until the 1520s at least. In contemporary records they were known as ‘double placls’ or ‘Carolus placks’.

Obverse: shield with the arms of Burgundy (for Brabant) or COM:FL (for Flanders).

Reverse: decorated cross with diamond-shape at centre

Chinfraos of Portugal

Chinfrao of Alfonso V (1433-81) of Portugal occur quite often as English finds, both singly and in hoards datable to the late 15th and early 16th century. There is quite a lot of variety in the spellings and abbreviations used in the legends, and sometimes they are on different sides from the form set out below.


Obverse: Gothic A with crown above, and below the letter L (for Lisbon) or P (for Porto). ALFONSVS QVINTI R€GIS (PORT)

Reverse: five shields in the shape of a cross ADIVTORVm nosTRvm In or AlVTORVm Dons


Further reading:

Cook, B.J. 1999, ‘Foreign Coins in Medieval England’, in L. Travaini (ed.), Local Coins, Foreign Coins: Italy and Europe 11th-15th centuries (Proceedings of the Second Cambridge Numismatic Symposium: Milan).

Daubney, A. 2009, ‘The circulation and prohibition of Venetian soldini in late medieval England’, BNJ 79, pp.186-98.

Grierson, P. 1991, Coins ofMedieval Europe (Spink: London).

Spufford, P. 1963. Continental coins in late medieval England. BNJ 32, pp.127-139.

Spufford, P. 1964. Burgundian double patards in late medieval England, BNJ 33, pp.110-117.


Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS):

A large searchable database of all categories of finds from England and Wales.

Early Medieval Corpus:

Searchable database maintained by the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge includes single finds from the UK (sixth century-1180). Also searchable are coins published in the Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles (SCBI) series as well as a listing of Anglo-Saxon and Viking hoards from Britain and Ireland.

British Numismatic Journal (BNJ) online to 2009 Journal of the British Numismatic Society.

Money and Medals Network (MMN):

A Subject Specialist Network established to promote and support numismatics in museums. The website details assessments of museum collections, lists experts in different fields of numismatics, provides audio and video of lectures and hosts resources.

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: