Short Cross Pennies
Class 5a1 (1204-1205) - Spink 1350A; North 968/4
Class 5a1 coins represent a transition from the very crude workmanship of class 4 to the much improved quality of class 5. The king's hair on the earliest 5a1 obverses consists of clusters of crescents (Images 1 & 2), but these give way to ringlets without pellets (Image 3). The earlier type of obverse has a reversed 'S', while the later one has a normal 'S' followed by a pellet stop. The crown-band usually has five pellets, but on a few coins there are six or seven. True 5a1 reverses are indistinguishable from those of class 4c, but the majority of coins, and all those with the later obverse type, are 5a1/5a2 mules. All true 5a1 reverses have a cross pattée initial mark, while all 5a2 reverses have a cross pommée. (Image 1 shows a true 5a1 coin; Images 2 & 3 are 5a1/5a2 mules.)
Mints: Canterbury, London
Class 5a2 (1204-1205) - Spink 1350B; North 969
Coins of class 5a2 are similar to those of 5a1, but the hair now always consists of ringlets and the reverse has a cross pommée inititial mark. A flat-topped letter R and a reversed S are now diagnostic features. There are usually five pellets to the crown-band, but occasionally six or seven. The king's title may be divided either as RE/X or R/EX. Coins are often muled as 5b1/5a2 and rarely as 5a2/5b1. Some coins have ornamental letters: C, E, R, S.
Mints: Canterbury, Durham, Exeter, Lincoln, London, Norwich, Winchester, York
Class 5b1 (1205) - Spink 1351; North 970
Coins of 5b1 continue the high standards of design and production set in 5a1. The hair consists of ringlets containing pellets. The letter S is now regular (with central pellet), and the initial mark is a cross pattée. The coins are distinguished from those of class 5b2 by the letter R, which is flat-topped, as in 5a2.
Mints: Bury, Canterbury, Carlisle, Chichester, Durham, Exeter, Ipswich, Lincoln, London, Lynn, Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Winchester, York
Class 5b2 (1205-1207) - Spink 1351; North 970
Coins of 5b2 are closely similar to those of 5b1, but can be distinguished from them by the letter R, which is now round-topped. They have a regular S (with central pellet), and a cross pattée initial mark. The hair now usually consists of two ringlets each side of the head.
Mints: Bury, Canterbury, Carlisle, Chichester, Durham, Exeter, Ipswich, Lincoln, London, Lynn, Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Rochester, Winchester, York
Class 5b3 (c.1206) - Spink 1351; North 970
Coins of class 5b3 are as 5b2 but one or both eyes are broken.
Mints: Bury(?), Canterbury, Carlisle(?), Chichester, Durham(?), Exeter, Ipswich, Lincoln, London, Lynn, Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Winchester, York(?)
Class 5c (1207-c.1210) - Spink 1352; North 971
The defining feature of class 5c coins is the letter X in REX, which has wedge-shaped limbs, often no longer at ninety degrees. The bust tends towards a rounder shape and the eyes, no longer broken, are increasingly lentoid.
Mints: Bury, Canterbury, Chichester, Durham, Ipswich, Lincoln, London, Northampton, Norwich, Winchester, York
Class 5a Note
If the obverse of a coin has 5a1 characteristics, but the reverse has a cross pommée initial mark, the coin is a 5a1/5a2 mule.
Class 5a1 Note
A rare variant of class 5a1 exists on which the sceptre is depicted on the right of the coin and the legend correspondingly begins at 3 o'clock. Exceptionally for an early class 5a1 coin with crescent-type hair, the letter S is not reversed. An example can be viewed by clicking here.