The Coinage of Henry's Brother, Richard Earl of Cornwall

Obverse: Facing bust of the king, holding an olive branch in his right hand and the Orb of State in his left.  Visible legend reads "RIC..."

Reverse: A crowned figure facing, possibly representing Charlmagne, with raised hands supporting a three towered building.

An example of a pfennig of Richard mistakenly advertised by a coin dealer as a coin of Frederick II.


Second son of John Lackland, King of England, and Isabel de Taillefer of Angouleme, born in 1209 at Winchester Castle. Grandson of Henry II the King of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, the House of Plantagenet.  In 1225 Richard was granted the honour of Launceston, Cornwall, which made him one of the wealthiest men in Europe. In 1247 Richard agreed a deal for the initial financing of Henry's new coinage in return for a half share of the profits, which he was granted initially for five years but this was later extended to seven and then twelve years. 

On 27 May 1257 the archbishop of Cologne himself crowned Richard "King of the Romans" in Aachen, but only after large sums of money were paid to those who opposed him. and his title never meant much, in fact after failing to establish authority in Germany he returned to England in 1259.

The curious situation in which a nobleman from England was chosen as the ruler of Germany occurred because the German electoral princes, cherishing their independence, preferred a weak outsider to a more powerful insider. So did Pope Innocent IV, who did not want to see another Hohenstaufen on the imperial throne after the death of the Emperor Frederick II in 1250. (History Today).

As King of Germany, Richard issued coins from a number of mints. Examples from Aachen and Dortmund are shown below, but if any readers are aware of other issuing mints please inform me.  Cologne might be a possibility.


Page added: 25th Feb 2018


2) Dortmund


Obverse: Similar bust design to Aachen coins, but surrounded by a diamond of pellets rather than a circle. Text reads RIC/___/___/AR

Reverse: Church (?) , surrounded by walls and with a gate, enclosed in a diamond, part of the surrounding text reads CIVI/___/___/_IA which is probably CIVI TREMONIA for Dortmund.

Weight : 1.17 gm

Reference: Berghaus 77

​The Long Cross Pennies of Henry III 


Another example from the Aachen Museum, this one being an obol.

Aachen Cathedral 1520, depicted by Albrecht Dürer

Another example of a pfennig from the Aachen Museum..

1) Aachen

Aachen Museum pfennig..