London – Class 1a – Intro.

INTRODUCTION

The currency reform of 1247 which saw the introduction of the voided long cross coinage was driven not only by the poor state of the existing short cross coinage, but also by the opportunity to profit from the introduction of a new coinage. In fact it was the King’s brother, Richard of Cornwall, who was a main benefactor as a result of his arrangement with the king to provide sufficient silver to permit the re-coinage operation. Richard made a loan of 10,000 marks (equivalent to 1.6 million pence) for which he was due to receive half the profits from the re-coinage for 12 years.  The first of these new coins was introduced in November of 1247, class 1a and issued in London only. Minting was extended to Canterbury and Bury shortly afterwards but with a modified legend to show the abbreviated mint name, these being class 1b coins. Both 1a/1b and 1b/1a mules exist. The mints at London and Canterbury were initially under the sole charge of Nicholas of St Albans, but he was joined by a further three moneyers once the re-coinage was well under way.

COIN DESIGN

The new design incorporated a long cross extending to the edges, such that if any part of the cross had been clipped away then the coin would be unacceptable for use. On the obverse the absence of a sceptre broke with tradition, and facilitated the easy recognition of the new coinage in comparison to the old, though after the successful changeover to the new coinage a new design in late 1250 saw the re-introduction of the sceptre with class 4 coins.

The use of a long cross on the reverse resulted in a reduction in the space available for the inscription, resulting in usually only enough space for three letters in each quadrant. A way around this limitation was to join together (ligate) some of the letters, which can occasionally result in some initial difficulties in reading the moneyer and mint.  Ligation is not a major factor in class 1a coins, but is more of an issue in later classes where the moneyer and mint are shown. 

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 and/or 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 illustrated below.  

I note that some dies have omitted the caul over the king’s head – these coins may have started to appear shortly later than the initial dies. Coins with a caul I designate as 1a1, and those without a caul, 1a2.

For more information please see my article published on the British Numismatic Society blog in May 2018.

The researches of Michael Edwards in the 1970’s resulted in him tracing around 26 specimens of the full 1a penny and Edwards estimated there were some 10 obverse and 12 reverse dies including those used for the 1a mules. Churchill and Thomas in their study of the Brussels Hoard  saw only 5 each of 1a, 1a/1b mules and 1b/1a mules with others from the hoard having been dispersed prior to their study. Their rough estimate is that there are probably up to 35 or so in various collections. 1a coins show a significant degree of variability, particularly in the details of the lettering.


Class 1a Pennies With Cauls, Sub-Class 1a1

  • Obv: hENRICUS:REX – with pellets on both “E”s and on cross-bar of N. Colon before REX. Caul present. Pellets between the hair curls. Obverse text type L6/L7. 
  • Rev: ANG/LIE/TER/CI’ – pellet on N. No ligations (AN and ER are often ligated on class 1a).
  • C&T type: N/A – different dies to the four types recorded in the Brussels hoard book. 
  • Provenance: The William Conte collection.
  • Images: © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Accession number:  CM.1325-2001
  • Coin ref # LNNN1001

  • Obv: hENRICUS:REX – with pellets on both “E”s and on cross-bar of N, also, unusually, on the X. Pellets between the hair curls.
  • Rev: ANG/LIE/TER/CI’ – no pellet on N, nor on the “E”s.(Possibly on 1st E?).  The ER & AN ligated.
  • C&T type: N/A – different  dies to the four types recorded in the Brussels hoard book. 
  • Provenance: The William Conte collection, ex North; ex Spink May 1971; ex Mangakis; ex Spink 6.6.1955; ex Lockett 1197.
  • Images: © The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. Accession number:  CM.1326-2001
  • Coin ref # LNNN1003

  • Obv: hENRICVS REX  Colon before REX. Pellets on the two “E”s,  also a pellet on the “N”. Caul present. Pellets between the hair curls.
  • Rev: LIE/TER/CI’/ANG – AN ligated, with a  pellet on the “N”; pellets on the two “E”s.  RIC: 7.5-8.
  • Churchill & Thomas Type for this coin….. N/A
  • Weight: 1.33 gm​
  • A metal detecting find from Southwick in April 2018. A coin advertised for sale by Hammered British Coins and featured on their website in June 2018.
  • Coin ref # LNNN1123

  • Obv: hENRICVS RCX    Single high pellet before REX (colon intended?) .”E” of REX appears to be a “C”. Pellets on the two “E”s. Caul present. Four pellets under crown, not five. Neat double line of pellets for beard.  Pellets between the hair curls.
  • Rev: LIE/TER/CI’/ANG – with pellets on “E”s unclear, also the “N” unclear. ER and AN ligated. A small shape between the three pellets in each of the four quadrants. RIC: 8-10.
  • Churchill & Thomas Type for this coin….. L.2?
  • Images courtesy of Bob Thomas.
  • Coin ref # LNNN1092

  • Obv:hENRICVS:REX, – note colon before REX. Pellets between the hair curls.
  • Rev: ANG/LIE/TER/CI’,  AN & ER ligated. 
  • RIC: 7-8.
  • C&T type: L3
  • Weak’ish strike on head, very rare, one of five remaining in the Brussels Hoard in 2012.  Image courtesy of A H Baldwin & Sons Ltd, London, coin ex Brussels Hoard and sold at Baldwin’s Auction #77, Sept. 2012, Lot #2424
  • Coin Ref # LNNN1002

  • Obv: hENRICVS REX, with colon before REX. Five pellets under crown. Pellets between the hair curls.
  • Rev: ANG/LIC/TER/CI’.   Note that the “E” in the 2nd quadrant appears as a “C” due to a die-sinkers error. Also see # LNNN1041.
  • C&T type: L3
  • Notes:  This metal detector find, with some unfortunate damage, has a very similar obverse to the Lot #2424 coin – though the reverse die is a little different. Other than the missing fragment it is in very fine condition. Images courtesy of Halls Hammered Coins.
  • Coin Ref # LNNN1005

  • Obv:hENRICUS:REX – with pellets on both “E”s.Cross-bar of N has no pellet but is thickened.  No pellets between the hair curls.
  • Rev: ANG/LIE/TER/CI’ – pellet on N, and pellets on both “E”s.
  • C&T type: N/A – different dies to the four types recorded in the Brussels Hoard book.
  • Ex Jim Sazama collection. Image courtesy of DNW, coin auction Sept 2014, Lot# 2307
  • Coin Ref # LNNN1004

  • Obv: hENRICVS REX    Colon before REX. Pellets on the two “E”s. No pellets between the hair curls.
  • Rev: LIE/TER/CI’/ANG – with pellets on “E”s and the “N”. ER and AN ligated. Note presence of a small triangular shape between the three pellets in each of the four quadrants. 
  • The obverse is the same as C/T type L3, but reverse type not present in BH. 
  • Images courtesy of an anonymous collector [M-136] 
  • Coin ref # LNNN1033

  • Obv: hENRICVS REX    Colon before REX. Pellets on the two “E”s, but not on the “N”. Caul present. No pellets between the hair curls.
  • Rev: LIE/TER/CI’/ANG – with clear pellets on “E”s, and on the “N”. ER and AN ligated. Note presence of a small triangular shape between the three pellets in each of the four quadrants. Scored along one arm of the cross.
  • Churchill & Thomas Type for this coin….. n/a
  • Images courtesy of Bob Thomas.
  • Coin ref # LNNN1091

  • Obv: hENRICVS REX   C appears to be an E, or a C with interior pellet. Colon before REX. Pellets on the two “E”s, but probably not on the N. Caul present. Pellets between the hair curls.
  • Rev: LIC/TER/CI’/ANG – 1q “C” for “E” error.  ER and AN ligated. A smaller pellet between the three pellets in each of the four quadrants. RIC: 8-9.
  • Churchill & Thomas Type for this coin….. n/a
  • Images courtesy of Ron Churchill.
  • Coin ref # LNNN1090

  • Obv: hENRICVS REX   Colon before REX. Pellets on the two “E”s, and on the “N”. Caul present.  Pellets between the hair curls.
  • Rev: LIE/TER/CI’/ANG – with clear pellet on 2nd “E”, unclear on 1st “E”, and pellet on the “N”. No ligations. Note presence of a pellet between the three pellets in each of the four quadrants. RIC: 7.5-8.
  • These obverse and reverse dies not seen in the Brussels Hoard coins.
  • Ex Michael J Edwards Collection, which he donated to Leeds Museum. 
  • Images:  © Leeds Museums and Galleries.​
  • Coin ref # LNNN1101

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