The Irish Coinage of Henry III, 1251 to 1254
Introduction to The Irish Coinage of Henry III, 1251 to 1254
In 1251 Henry III reopened the Irish mint in Dublin
and struck a coinage of silver pennies. This coinage was
also of the same standard as the contemporary English
coinage and very similar in appearance to it. Again its
purpose was to provide a convenient mechanism for
exporting the silver from Ireland, but in this instance
no smaller denominations were produced to support the
|The English short cross
coinage was replaced in 1247 by Henry III with a new long
cross issue. The key design change was the extension of
the voided cross pommee on the reverse to the edges of
the coin. Henry gave the rights to produce this coinage
to his younger brother, Richard, Earl of Cornwall in
return for a loan to assist Henry with his activities in
Richard's rights included the right to strike coinage in Ireland, and in 1251 he commenced this coinage. The mint operated for three years from 1251 to 1254 under the control of Roger de Haverhull. The dies for the coinage were made in London and sent to Dublin. As the dies were made in London it is reasonable to assume that two existing London moneyers of the period, Richard Bonaventure and David of Enfield are probably the RICARD and DAVI who signed the Irish coins.
There is a similarity in style between some aspects of the London coins and the Dublin issues. Because the London coins feature the king's head in a circle rather than triangle the shoulders do not show on the English coins so some varieties in the Irish issues have no English equivalents. A further study of the comparison between the London and Dublin dies of Ricard and Davi might yield additional date information where some of the English issues can be tied to Irish ones which are clearly associated with this three year period of production.
There is no clear chronological break down of the minor variations in this issue of coins.
The coinage consisted only of pennies which were cut in halves and quarters to accommodate the needs of smaller change. These cut halfpennies and farthings do turn up occasionally, but are not in particular demand as from a collectors point of view they are of much less interest than the full uncut pennies.
There is no indication that any particular variety of these coins is representative of a particular event or change in mint policy, so the varieties which are listed in various catalogues are more a representation of those varieties which have been noted in publications or remarked in in auction catalogues rather than being an exhaustive list.
These coins were copied extensively across Northern
Europe in the years following the issue. Some copies are
easy to detect as they are clearly of a different style
from the genuine coinage. Some coins are mules of Irish
and English dies as in the illustration above.