​The Long Cross Pennies of Henry III 

The illustration on the right shows a cut half superimposed on a full coin.  If you consider the inscription visible on the cut half then at first you might be unlikely to recognise the cut half as class 1a—however by looking at the position of the lettering it is evident tha this is a 1a not a class 1b coin which has a longer inscription, hENRICVS REX ANG.  Look for the “V” lining up with the left hand neckline.


Cut Halves:   The number of more sensitive metal detectors in use today is resulting in the discovery of more cut halves and quarters than in the past.  Ideally one would like to find one as shown on the right, where the text REX before the initial mark clearly shows this to be from class 1a.


Amongst the rarest of Henry's Voided Long Cross pennies, this class was only issued for only a few months before class 1b appeared. The first of these coins was issued in November 1247 and was issued only by the London mint under the jurisdiction of Nicholas of St Albans, although neither the mint nor moneyer name occurs on this class of penny. 

Obverse:  All class 1 coins. (i.e. both classes 1a & 1b) have a characteristic initial mark of a star above a crescent; classes 2-4 simply have a star, and there is no initial mark on classes 5-7. In class 1, the star normally has 6 points, though stars with five or seven points are known. The text around the king’s head reads hENRICVS:REX, and there are many variations in the punctuation etc...

Class 1a

Reverse:  the voided cross divides the coin into four quadrants and the surrounding text reads ANG/LIE/TER/CI’   ANG is England, and the remainder of the text translates as “The Third”.  Coins with an obverse as shown on the left but reading LIE/TER/CI/LON are mules (mixtures) of classes 1a and 1b. As with the obverse, the reverse also shows considerable variation in the text...


Varieties: Most coins show a “caul” which looks like a hairnet above the crown, but occasionally this may be absent.  See right...

​Note that all pennies on this website are shown enlarged, their actual size is 18-20mm in diameter.

Some 1a coins have pellets present between the hair curls either side of the king’s head, as shown on the left.

It is quite feasible that the very first dies of the 1a were made by the most skilled craftsman in the workshop. As it was a completely new design it is more than possible that the dies and/or a striking therefrom would have been shown to the king & his brother.  Once the decision to go ahead had been taken, there would have been a need for speed of production and coin issuing and so various different dies might well have been in production at the same time.  Naturally the very first dies would be of the highest quality and we may expect that standards may have slipped a little under the pressure of production. We certainly see some variation in the quality of the die preparation of the coins (For further details please go to the London Class 1a page).

Page updated: June 28th 2017