Halfpenny of Richard II

This hammered silver halfpenny, which measures about 15mm in diameter, was found by Peter Williams. Peter described it as a coin of Richard and said: “Am I seeing a boar’s head as the mint mark?”. Had the mint mark been a boar’s head then the coin would have been struck during the reign of Richard III.

On the obverse the legend reads RICARD REX AnGLIE with a single saltire after the last letter. The E of AnGLIE is the Lombardic type and does look a little like a boar’s head but it isn’t. Therefore, this is a halfpenny of Richard II rather than Richard III. Another clincher is the fact that halfpennies of Richard III have a legend that treads RICARD DI GRA REX.

The coin is unusual in that it does not have a cross at the start of the legend on the obverse. When entering in the letters the die maker started with a letter R but when he completed AnGLIE there was not enough room for a cross, so he made do with a small saltire. I’ve seen lots of Richard II halfpennies but this is the first specimen I have encountered with this unusual legend on the obverse.

Peter’s find is about one-third flat on both sides but is still a reasonably decent example of a halfpenny of Richard II.

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