King Henry II ascended the throne in 1154 as the first of the Plantagenet dynasty. For the first few years of his reign the coins of King Stephen continued to be produced, but in order to restore public confidence in the currency a new standard was introduced, known as the Tealby penny after a hoard of such coins which was found at Tealby in Lincolnshire. The very large hoard was found in late 1807, and amounted to over 5,700 pieces. The coins were found at Bayons Manor farm near Tealby in Lincolnshire, and the first report was written in the Stamford Mercury of the 6th November 1807. The newspaper article read...
“A few days ago a person ploughing in a field of George Tennyson Esq at Tealby, in this county, turned up at one end of a considerable tumulus (which promises to reward the labour of a thorough examination) a coarse glazed earthenware pot, which contained about five thousand silver pennies, of Henry I and Henry II, of various mints, and some of them in excellent preservation.”
From this hoard alone, 17 new mint towns for the coinage were added to what was known as of 1807, however only some 600 + pieces were saved for the national and other important private collections, with 5,127 pieces deemed unworthy and sent to be melted down at the Tower of London. The Tealby hoard was an important find for the study of Medieval numismatics, but one of the most interesting elements of the hoard is that it is believed to have perhaps been buried inside an intact Roman storage jar, manufactured around 900 years earlier.
A total of 30 mints were employed in the initial recoinage (the mint at Ipswich was not active during the early stages – but was extremely productive from class B until the end of the series). The mints in operation at the beginning of the recoinage were: Bedford, Bristol, Bury St Edmunds, Canterbury, Carlisle, Chester, Colchester, Durham, Exeter, Gloucester, Hereford, Ilchester, Launceston, Leicester, Lincoln, London, Newcastle, Northampton, Norwich, Oxford, Pembroke, Salisbury, Shrewsbury, Stafford, Thetford, Wallingford, Wilton, Winchester, and York. However, once the recoinage was completed only 12 mints were allowed to remain active. This marks the beginning of the gradual decline in the number of mints used to strike English coins.
Tealby pennies from the following mints are extremely rare: Bedford, Launceston, Lewes, Pembroke, Shrewsbure & Wallingford.
The Tealby coins bear the obverse inscriptions HENRI REX ANG, HENRI REX AN, HENRI R ANG, HENRI REX, HENRI REX A, or HENRI REX – Henry King of England, or King Henry, while the short-cross pennies are inscribed HENRICUS REX.
While the Tealby coinage was acceptable in terms of weight and silver quality, the overall quality of production was dreadful, with the result that in 1180 a new style of coin, the short-cross penny, was introduced. This style remained more or less unaltered until 1247, which gave both the coinage and the state a sense of stability. The practice of placing the moneyer's name and mint on the reverse continued, though the reduction in the number of mints enabled better quality control to be applied.
The Spink catalogue simply lists the six basic classes, A through F, but these have been further sub-divided. A future update to this page will include details of the sub-divisions.