The Short Cross coinage (1180 - 1247 AD)

The short cross series is often perceived of as a confusing one, with an unhelpfully large variety of sub-classes. Although there are many differing varieties, distinguishable by varying levels of minute detail, the series can be more easily rationalised for the beginner by remembering a set of rules that will aid the attribution of a coin to a class.

In all 8 classes have been identified (with many sub-classes thereafter) and the information below is designed to make clear the main distinguishing features that allow us to identify the coins. A second tool in identifying these coins is the list of mints and moneyers which, when readable can reduce the possible classes to which a coin can be attributed.

The general appearance of the coin is thus;

Obverse: From 10 o'clock the legend hENRICVS REX around a crowned and bearded bust. In the king's right hand is a sceptre which divides the R from the EX .

Reverse: +(Name of moneyer) ON (mint name) around a small voided cross with quatrefoils in the angles.

The 8 short cross classes do not match exactly with the reigns of the 4 monarchs who issued them:

  • Henry II [1154-1189]: Class 1
  • Richard I [1189-1199]: Classes 2-4
  • John [1199-1216]: Classes 4-6
  • Henry III [1216-1272]: Classes 6-8

Class 1 - 1180-9

Always : Crown made up of 5 pearls.
Usually : Hair consisting of 2 curls on the left and 5 on the right. Unbarred A.
Class Ia has square letter C and E; no stop before REX in Ic. 

Class 2 - 1189-91 (Rare)

Always : Hair a mass of curls on both sides.
Usually : Crown made up of 5 pearls.
Sometimes : X of REX a cross pommee.
Rarely : Crown of 6/7 pearls.

Class 3 - 1191-4 (Scarce) 

Always : Long, narrow portrait with a pointed beard.
Usually : Even number of curls on either side (3, 4 or more). Crown of 7 pearls (sometimes 5).

Class 4 - 1194-1204/5

Always : Ugly, deformed bust. Pelleted beard.
Usually : 7 pearls to crown (5 on earlier sub-classes) Blundered S on 4b; Reversed S on 4c.

Class 5 - 1204/5-9

Usually : Hair of 2 curls enclosing a pellet on each side (rarely 3), Crown of 5 pearls (rarely 6/7). A barred.

Class 6 - 1209-17 

Usually : X with rounded ends. Coarse, triangular bust.
Rarely : Ornamented letter types (6c)

Class 7 - 1217/18-42

Usually : No stops between words on reverse

Considerable variation of sub-types (11) within this class.

Class 8 - 1242-7 (Rare)

Usually : Oval face with oval, annulet or pellet eyes. 1-3 pellets as stops on reverse legend.