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William the Lion penny

Detectorists unearth lots of Scottish coins from English soil. Most ae fairly common issues of William the Lion, Alexander III and Charles I but it is not unusual for rarities to turn up.

The coin pictured here was sent in by a detectorist who signed himself as Kevin. The finder had already identified it as a penny of William the Lion but he wanted to know what it might be worth.

I’ve seen lots of William the Lion pennies as detecting finds. Almost all of them have belonged to phase A or B of the voided short cross and stars coinage. Kevin’s coin is different, as it was struck during the crescent and pellet coinage, which commenced circa 1174 and lasted until 1195. Even though it lasted for around 20 years, far fewer pennies of the crescent and pellet type were struck. Others have probably been found in England but this is the first specimen reported to me.

On the obverse King William holds a sceptre with a cross pommee head. The reverse legend isn’t clear but is most likely to read RAVL DERLIG, so this penny will be number 5026 in Coins of Scotland, Ireland and the Islands.


This is quite a rare coin but its present state of preservation leaves much to be desired. The bust on the obverse shows up but there are some weak areas. The reverse is better but has been struck off centre. Another minus point is the edge chip at the top of the obverse. It’s a rare coin but it its present condition my price range would be no higher than £50 – £60.

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