​The Long Cross Pennies of Henry III 

Page updated: March 17th 2017

Also see the graph below.

Continental Imitations

The high reputation of the English coinage in the mid 13th century made it a target for imitation, with most imitations having been struck in Frisia or Westphalia.  Some of the imitations are difficult  to recognise as such. 

Indications that a coin is an imitation are blundered reverse legends and slight differences in the punches used to make the dies.  These differences apply both to the letters and to individual elements of the design, such as the crown ornaments and facial details.

​The Brussels Hoard contained 3,750 continental imitations of English and Irish Long Cross pennies, the vast majority of which were imitations of class 3 or class 5 English pennies.   The breakdown of the coins, as given in Churchill and Thomas, is tabulated top right.

As can be seen, imitations of class 1 or 5f coins are rarities, and class 2, class 3c or Irish imitations are also scarce.  

The pie chart to the right shows the relative scarcity of imitations of class I and class II imitations.  As the Brussels Hoard was sealed before class 6 & 7 coins were issued we do not know the relative abundance of imitations of these latest classes.

Class 1 imitations  all have a star & crescent initial mark and come with various obverse and reverse letterings, however 11 of the 16 coins feature a reverse legend reading RON/ROI/DEL/VND or similar.  Anyone lucky enough to come across one of these star & crescent coins is referred to the Churchill & Thomas book for further details. Nine of the coins from the BH are now in the Ashmolean Museum.


J. Chautard - Imitations des monnaies au type esterlin frappées en Europe pendante le XIIIe et le XIVe siècle. Nancy, 1871.

J.J. North - Some imitations and forgeries of the English and Irish Long Cross pence of Henry III. British Numismatic Journal 65 (1995), 83-119, 4 pls.      Link

J. J. North - Some imitations and forgeries of the English and Irish Long Cross pence of Henry III: Corrected catalogue. British Numismatic Journal 66 (1996), 117-22    Link (you will need to scroll down to page 117)

Churchill, R. & Thomas, B. The Brussels Hoard of 1908. The Long Cross Coinage of Henry III. London, 2012.