Cut halfpenny of Alexander III

Here is another coin from the collection of detecting finds built up over the years by Bill Byford. He thought it might interest me as it is Scottish and this is a series of coins in which I’ve always been keen.

The coin is a cut halfpenny of Alexander III, which is an example of this king’s voided long cross and stars type. This type was struck during the same period of Henry III of England’s voided long cross coinage.

The bust on the obverse isn’t clear enough for me to pin it down to a specific class, which is a pity. However, what remains of the legend on the reverse reads WA RES, so the moneyer will be Walter.

RES make up the last three letters of the mint signature, the first letter – F – would have been on the missing half. In Part II of the auction of Scottish coins in the Lockett collection a couple of Alexander III pennies had the FRES mint signature and were attributed to Forres, which had formerly been a royal burgh. Forres is situated on the Moray coast about 25 miles north east of Inverness. This certainly seems like a strong candidate for the mint but I should mention that over more recent years FRES has been attributed to Dumfries.

Valuation

Bill’s find is well struck and in VF condition. What would it be worth? Well, I can’t pin it down to a class and this is a minus point, as is the fact that it is a cut halfpenny rather than a whole penny. A significant plus point is the mint signature, which is one of the rarest for the voided short cross and stars type of Alexander III. As it stands, I’d put a price range of £50 – £60 on this Scottish rarity.

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