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Alexander II farthing

Michael Young said this is only the second cut farthing he has found in 20 years of detecting. Lots of examples have been found by detectorists but in order to gain a signal they have to be fairly near the surface of the soil.

Michael said he believed it was a coin of Alexander but wanted a more detailed identification. Firstly, it has a voided short cross on the reverse. With this characteristic it would be very rare as a coin of Alexander II and excessively rare if it was Alexander III. So which king is it?

On the obverse the head of the king faces right but all that can be seen is his nose and part of a sceptre in front of it. The part of the legend remaining on this farthing reads ALE. The sceptre normally cuts through the legend between the A and L but on this coin it doesn’t. This is a characteristic that occurs on pennies of Alexander II so Michael’s find will belong to that reign.

On the reverse we have ·ANDI. There is a stop before the A, which means there would have been something other than the mint signature before the stop. The N is reversed and ligate with the D, and the I will be the upright of a letter R.

The earliest coins struck under Alexander II were in the name of William the Lion; these, together with most of the later coins of Alexander II had the names of two moneyers on the reverse. The whole penny that this farthing was cut from is likely to have had a full legend reading +ALAIN. ANDREW ON RO. Therefore, I can say that the two moneyers responsible for the issue of this coin would have been Alain and Andrew and the mint will be Roxburgh.

It is fortunate that this cut farthing is in good condition, for had it not been then it’s doubtful that I would have been able to provide so much information. It’s a very rare Scottish coin and some might say it was worth a wait of 20 years in order to locate such an interesting find.


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