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“Double inscription” cut halfpenny of Henry I

This cut halfpenny is one coin from a group of detecting finds sent in by Gareth Holloway. Instead of being a run-of-the-mill voided short or long cross cut half this is an extremely rare coin of Henry I.

The coin is an example of the double inscription type. On the obverse is a left-facing bust of King Henry with a sceptre in front and two quatrefoils in the field. There is a cross pattee in the centre of the reverse, which is surrounded by not one but two legends. The outer legend is divided up into four sections by four quatrefoils in circles, which are equally spaced. The moneyer’s name is in the outer legend and the mint in the shorter, inner legend.

It can be difficult or impossible to identify the mint and/or the moneyer when a coin has been cut into two pieces. What can be seen of the inner legend on this coin appears to read +h—-RD (the dashes are for letters that can’t be seen). I can see only two letters in the outer legend, which might be RO.

I can be certain of neither the mint nor the moneyer but I can offer possibilities. The full mint signature might be hEREFORD. In the case of the moneyer, the name might be ROBERT. However, I would stress that these readings are only possibilities and they are by no means certainties.


Gareth’s find is a reasonably good example of an extremely rare type. As I’ve pointed out many times before, in cash terms cut halfpennies are worth a great deal less than whole pennies. This specimen is actually a decent looking coin and would grade about VF for the issue. If I could be certain about the mint and moneyer I’d have said more but as it stands I would suggest a pre-sale auction estimate of £250 – £280.

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