3 thoughts on “Atypical single-cross sterlings of Alexander III – David Rampling

  1. Since the purpose of this blog was to identify unusual pennies of Alexander III it is worth taking another look at “(E) A Classificatory Challenge”

    It can indeed be confusing when deciding the exact classification of an Alexander III long cross penny. The stated identity of this coin is a case in point. It is actually Class H/D26. So……what to look for?

    Starting with the bust……The crown on Class H has larger triangular spikes, both wider and higher, than those found on the Class Mc² crown. The central lis is often broken at the top on Class H dies. On Mc² the side fleurs of the central lis neatly curve down to a point. On the Class H crown the side fleurs of the central lis are either clumsy asymmetrical blobs or they produce a symmetrical butterfly wings form. The width of the crown, measuring across the base is, at 6 mm , the same in both classes, though some Class H coins are found to measure 5.5mm though the elements of the crown look to be identical.

    The hair of Class H is formed from three thick curves. The Mc² hair can be seen on a very well struck example to be formed from six curves of varying widths, including the very small “ear”. The hair isn’t entirely clear on the illustrated coin (E), but from three other examples from this die pair in my Digital Data Base it can be clearly seen to have the three curves of Class H hair. The hair curves of Class Mc² sweep upwards from the rear of the face before curving sharply downwards and in to just below the “ear”. On Class H the curves run more horizontally from the rear of the face before curving down, but the rear curve doesn’t curve inwards at the bottom.

    Class Mc² busts usually have an added “tab” at the rear base of the neck, but this is not always present so its absence from this coin is not decisive.

    The obverse lettering is also of significance. Fortunately the lettering is clear on the illustrated coin. The long, sharp pointed triangle at the front of the L seen on this coin can be found on a number of Class H dies, but not all. The front of the L on Class M coins can be considered as variations on a theme ranging from a low triangle with a slim line running upwards from the front to a bare low triangle. Two different forms of front “foot” can be seen on the Rs on this obverse. A triangle and a rectangle. There are another two variations on this on other Class H dies. One could be described as an old fashioned post horn shape with the wide front at the bottom facing outwards. The other is the shape of a stylised fern frond with the thick end of the stem at the base facing outwards. Class Mc² always shows the standard Class M form of R which can be found on almost any Class M coin for comparison, though it should be noted that the punch components of the composite R change from subclass to subclass, and even within subclasses. However the basic shape of the front “leg” never changes throughout Class M until the very late stages of die production when it is replaced with a kite shaped wedge. The exact form of the G is also unique to Class H but the details of that in often unidentifiable on any particular coin. Stewart and North noted a reverse barred N being found on Mc² coins but it is not exclusive to that Class.

    These are the significant points to check for Class H, and it can be said that a similar point by point identification can be made for any of the other Classes even when parts of the coin are indecipherable.

    A further comment on the 21 point “(D) New variety” may be of interest.

    It is certainly the case that this variety of the 21 point reverse has not previously been published. Of extreme rarity indeed. However a few weeks ago another example from the same die pair as (D) turned up and was sold by ABC Coins & Tokens of Alnwick who kindly provided me with an image of the coin for my Data Base. Stewart and North did an excellent job on the classification of this coinage but neither claimed to have identified every variety. There are still varieties out there to be discovered.

    • Thank you Ron for your very detailed and explanatory comment. It would seem that my “Classificatory challenge” was aptly titled, at least as far as my own powers of discernment are concerned.

  2. Just for the record, the classificatory attribution given by Ron Kirton should read “Class H/D24”.

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