Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited


Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

Nap's Achievements


Collaborator (7/14)

  • One Year In
  • Very Popular
  • Collaborator
  • One Month Later
  • Dedicated

Recent Badges



  1. Mostly British dealers and auctions, with one from an American dealer and one from an Australian auction. Congrats on your Mercian. The Burgred is particularly nice. None of them are easy!
  2. Mercia was a large and centrally located Anglo-Saxon kingdom and one part of the "heptarchy" of the early medieval period of England. Mercia became the dominant kingdom of England during the 7th century and remained so until the 9th century, when Viking attacks and infighting decimated the country and considerably changed the political climate, leading to the rise of Wessex. The early coinage of Mercia was much like the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, small (10-12mm) sceattas featuring abstract designs with Christian, Pagan, and Celtic imagery. Kings and princes were not named on the coinage, with the exception of a sceat with the Runic name of Aethelred, possibly representing the contemporary Mercian king of that name. In the mid 8th century a powerful king named Offa began coinage in his own name, copying the contemporary deniers of France. Offa was probably the Anglo-Saxon equivalent to the "enlightened despot", such as Charlemagne, and accomplished political, economic, and military goals. He is remembered for "Offa's dyke", an earthwork formation dividing England from Wales, which still partially exists to this day. In numismatics, his main contribution is the coinage reform that led to the first coins that most would recognize as "pennies". The penny coinage would not considerably change in size, weight, or composition for nearly 1000 years. Offa was less successful in establishing a dynasty. Despite having a successor in place, his plans were thwarted on his death and his son was only around for a few months before he died, presumably (though not necessarily) violently. A noble named Coenwulf became king and immediately faced political breakdown from other lands that his predecessor had subdued. He seems to have been an energetic king who dealt with a multitude of political and military problems, mostly with his neighbors. On Coenwulf’s death, a series of short reigns followed, of which we know little. First was Ceolwulf I, brother of Coenwulf. He was deposed in favor of a seemingly unrelated king, Beornwulf. Beornwulf’s short reign was notable for two major defeats, a battle against Wessex that heralded the latter’s ascendancy, and a battle against the East Angles trying to remove the Mercian yoke, which led to Beornwulf’s death. Beornwulf was followed by Ludica, who met the identical fate just a year later, dying in battle against the East Anglians. Ludica was followed by the also presumably unrelated Wiglaf, who was defeated and deposed by Ecgberht of Wessex. Ecgberht soon found himself kicked out again in favor of the resilient Wiglaf. All of this happened in less than a decade. After Wiglaf’s second reign, his son and grandson were quickly removed and a new dynasty installed. But then a curious thing followed. Mercia, though clearly in decline and forever disconnected from its client kingdoms in Kent and East Anglia, entered a period of stability. For the next 40 years or so there was relative peace with the reigns of Berhtwulf and Burgred. There was also a degree of cooperation between Mercia and Wessex against Viking invaders. However Mercia’s days were numbered and the Viking invasions would do them in. The last king of independent Mercia, Ceolwulf II, is called a Viking puppet by the Wessex-biased chronicle, but even if he was marginalized by history, he was still unable to lead Mercia back into prosperity. Mercia became absorbed into Wessex. With a recent acquisition I managed to collect all the Mercian kings. I am still missing a coin of Ecgberht of Wessex, who was briefly ruler of Mercia, but I have managed to find the others. All Mercian coins are rare, though Offa, Coenwulf, and Burgred are somewhat more numerous. The others are rare, and Ludica and Wiglaf are extremely rare, hence my damaged examples. Here are my examples of coins of the Mercian kings. Offa 757-706, London mint Offa 757-796, Canterbury mint Coenwulf 796-821, Ipswich mint Coenwulf 796-821, Canterbury mint Ceolwulf I 821-823, Ipswich mint Beornwulf 823-826, Ipswich mint Ludica 826-827, Ipswich mint Wiglaf 827-829, 830-839, London mint Berhtwulf 840-852, London mint Burgred 852-874, London mint Ceolwulf II 874-879, London mint
  3. I haven't gotten into the artifacts, as many look dodgy and my budget is typically blown on coins. Here is probably the most interesting item of that type in my collection- It's a pseudo-coin lead brooch of Eadred. The reverse is blank with a broken brooch attachment. King Eadred is presumed to be king Eadred of England (946-955), the only known monarch of that name. As far as I know, it is the only coin brooch of Eadred, and one of just a very few pseudo-coin brooches of the Saxon kings known. The purpose of these brooches is unknown, but I like to imagine that it was owned/worn by someone in King Eadred's retinue, perhaps someone who was on a diplomatic mission, or a pilgrimage. Interestingly this artifact was found in France, in the Loire valley. This location is not on the medieval pilgrimage to Rome trail, so what it was doing there is really unknown. It's almost certainly a British artifact. Marion Archibald wanted to acquire the artifact for the British Museum, but the seller instead kept it, and it eventually ended up in an auction. I have her letter to the owner from the late 80s, which was kept with the artifact and came with the item when I bought it. It's something I'll likely donate to the British Museum in the future. Here is a coin of king Eadred-
  4. You may have to write it! As far as I know, such a book does not exist. Recent publications on Merovingian coins have focused on individual areas. The vastness of the coinage has been explored over a hundred years ago, but nobody has recreated the massive sources of Belfort and Prou. I believe there is a French volume of Medieval European Coinage (MEC) in preparation, but I don't know anything more. The title is "The Age of the Denier" though, so it may focus more on the later silver coinage.
  5. Will be there today, tomorrow, and Saturday
  6. Nice selection. I am partial to the medieval coin, of course 🙂
  7. Thanks for the heads up. You could always sell it privately you know, I have references 🙂
  8. Some honorable mentions. This ended up being a pretty productive year for me- No long write-ups on these, but let me know if there's anything you'd like to know more about. Finally, an ancient coin! Allectus, the Romano-British usurper. Anglo-Saxon sceat, series H, type 48 Anglo-Saxon sceat, series Z-related Anglo-Viking penny, St. Peter of York, swordless type Groat of James II, king of Scotland 1437-1460 Bracteate penny of Harald "Bluetooth" Gormsson, king of Denmark, 958-986 and Norway 970-986. And yes, the wireless Bluetooth technology is named after him Penny of Eric I "Ejegod" or "Evergood", king of Denmark, 1095-1103 Hvid of Hans, king of Denmark (1481-1513), Norway (1483-1513), and Sweden (1497-1501) Penny of Olav III "Kyrre" or "the Peaceful", king of Norway 1067-1093. The son of Harald "Hardrade", the famous Viking Bracteate penny of Cnut Ericsson, king of Sweden 1173-1195
  9. Great additions. Despite my Saxon bias, I am more drawn to your Celtic coins, and in particular I like the inscribed types. The Tigirseno unit is wonderful.
  10. Thankful for another good year where I was able to add a number of important pieces to the set. The majority of my interest is in British Isles coins, particularly the early stuff from Anglo-Saxon times, but over the past year I've branched out to Scandinavian coins, from the Viking age but to more modern time. These latter pieces began as imitations of English and other coins, but developed their own character, and the Nordic countries can also take pride in 1000 years of more or less continuous coinage. Anglo-Saxon Sceat, series QIII A quadruped with a coiled tail stands opposite a walking bird, both with triquetras, on this East Anglian secondary phase sceatta, from around 720-740. East Anglian sceattas often feature birds and sometimes other animals. The triquetra is an ancient symbol that is thousands of years old, but also became popular in Britain and Ireland, when it was adapted to Christianity to represent the trinity. Sceat of Beonna, king of East Anglia ca. 749-760 Beonna, who ruled the petty kingdom of East Anglia in the mid 8th century, is an individual barely known to history apart from his name. He was likely a co-ruler with another individual, Aethelberht, who also minted coins. Beonna's coinage is much more prolific though. His coins are the first coins of southern England to name a ruler on them. This marked an important transition, as the anonymous sceatta coinage gave way to the later pennies. Coins of Beonna are somewhat more plentiful than those of his contemporaries, with one hoard known (Middle Harling), though individual finds remain rare. Penny of Ecgberht, king of Kent ca. 765-780 Ecgberht, probably a relative of the later king Ecgberht of Wessex, who was descended from the house of Kent, was king during the 760s and 770s. He is known to have signed charters in 765 and 779, so those are usually the dates given for his reign. During his reign, he vied against Offa of Mercia, who was trying to assert control in Kent and at various times was able to take control of the Canterbury mint. Ecgberht may have ruled jointly with Heaberht early in his reign. Ecgberht’s and Heaberht’s coinage are among the earliest broad pennies which followed the sceatta coinage. Heaberht is only known from a single surviving damaged coin, which surfaced in Rome, and was formerly owned by Lord Grantley and given by CE Blunt to the Fitzwilliam museum. Coins of Ecgberht are somewhat more numerous- Derek Chick listed 22 examples and a few have surfaced since his publication. However many are in museums and the coin remains quite rare. I think many comprehensive Saxon penny collections begin with this coin (even though some of the Offa coins and the transitional coins of Beonna of East Anglia might have been earlier). Including the classic comprehensive sets of yesteryear, but also the modern collections of Lord Stewartby, Allan Williams, Stewart Lyon, Andrew Wayne, Lawrence Stack, and John N Cross. Penny of Aethelheard, Archbishop of Canterbury 793-796, 803-805, with Coenwulf, King of Mercia 796-821. From Æthelheard’s second Archepiscopate 803-805, fifth issue Æthelheard had a troubled time as Archbishop of Canterbury. He was made Archbishop during the time of Offa, but shortly after Offa of Mercia's death Kent fell out of the Mercian sphere of influence and asserted its independence under a local leader, Eadberht Praen. Æthelheard, who owed his position to the Mercians and was no friend to Eadberht, took refuge in Mercia. However, he found himself in a tricky position, as his predecessor Jaenberht had long feuded with Offa, leading to the latter creating a rival see in Lichfield with its own archbishop. Æthelheard found himself in exile and not even the top dog in Mercia. It would take some time for the situation to improve, but eventually the new Mercian king, Coenwulf, was able to restore Mercian rule over Canterbury and restore Æthelheard. Meanwhile Æthelheard went to Rome to petition the pope to demote the rival Archbishopric in Lichfield, which was ultimately done, leaving Canterbury's archbishop the head of ecclesiastic matters in England, a situation that essentially has continued to this day. In 803, Æthelheard returned and was able to resume his position for a short time before his death. Æthelheard struck coins with Offa and with Coenwulf. It is not clear whether there were any coins of his made in his lengthy absence, and there are several different varieties, but all are pretty rare suggesting that the coinage volume was pretty small. Penny of Berhtwulf, king of Mercia 840-852 Berhtwulf, possibly a relative of a prior king of Mercia, Beornwulf, became king after the previous king's grandson, Wigstan, declined the throne and took monastic orders instead. Little is known of Berhtwulf, or of his reign, though it is known that he faced significant turmoil from Viking attacks during the 840s and early 850s. Despite a long-ish reign, compared to some of his contemporaries, coins of Berhtwulf are rare, as the main Mercian mints in Canterbury and East Anglia had been lost to Wessex. Penny of Robert I, king of Scotland 1306-1329 Robert "the Bruce" was probably the most famous medieval king of Scotland, a hero of Scotland who along with William Wallace fought against the English in Scotland's wars of Independence. The conflicts have been memorialized in works of literature, art, cinema, etc. and are part of the story of Scotland. Robert's family, the Bruce's, were one of the leading aristocratic landholding families at the time of the untimely death of the Scottish king Alexander III and the unfortunate death his granddaughter and designated heir, Margaret. Scotland was without a king, and Edward I of England stepped in to mediate. The kingdom went to one of Bruce's rivals, John Balliol. This situation pleased nobody, and both internal and external conflict ensued. The English saw an opportunity and tried to create a vassal state in Scotland. Ultimately, Balliol would abdicate into exile, and ultimately Bruce would become king, after the murder of his rival, the "Red Comyn" (possibly by Robert's own hand). Robert was in a tough spot. His legitimacy was shaky, the English were still trying to conquer Scotland, and his own forces were a mess. Robert's first decade was spent in a guerilla war with the English, refusing to meet on a battlefield, where the Scots would be outnumbered and outgunned, and annihilated by cavalry. The conflict dragged on, but ultimately came to a conclusion at the famous battle of Bannockburn, where the Scots handed the English a crushing defeat. This was Robert's defining moment, and a turning point in English-Scottish relations. Robert's life and campaigns have been depicted in movies, including Braveheart and Outlaw king. Unfortunately the battle of Bannockburn is conspicuously absent from both of these! Penny of Sihtric III, king of Dublin ca. 989-1036, phase II Sihtric (or Sigtrygg) "Silkbeard", was, for the greater part of 40 years, king in Dublin and a major figure during this transformative period in Ireland. Vikings had settled in Ireland around the year 800, and there were a number of coastal Viking cities, including Dublin, Waterford, and Limerick. Sihtric's father Olaf was also king in York, England, and the Hiberno-Norse dynasty was a thorn in the side of Anglo-Saxon England until subdued in 954. Ireland's early history is complex and the surviving sources are bits of history mixed with legend. At the late 900s, the main power in Ireland was in the north, where the Uí Néill dominated the southern kingdoms, and some of the leaders were recognized as "High King of Ireland", more of a tributary title than a ruling monarch. However by the year 1000 a powerful southern leader, Brian Boru, had asserted overlordship over much of Ireland, and was the first southern "High King". However, factions persisted and in 1014 Brian fought against Sihtric at Clontarf and won, but Brian was killed in the battle. Sihtric managed to hold on to power in Dublin for a while longer, but remained a mostly petty king. While not a major power in Ireland after his defeat, Sihtric has the distinction of being the first Irish leader to put his name on coinage. His pennies copy the contemporary coins of Aethelred II "the Unready", king of England. Sihtric’s more famous adversary Brian Boru is well remembered as an Irish hero but sadly has no coins Bracteate quarter penny of Sverre Sigurdsson, king of Norway 1184-1202 Sverre Sigurdsson. That's certainly not a household name. If you were to try to name a famous medieval Norwegian, assuming you don't just blank out, you might recall Harald Fairhair, the first recognized king of Norway. Or perhaps Eric Bloodaxe, the adventurous Viking who also left his mark in northern England. And maybe Harald Hardrade, the "last Viking", who made his bones in the Varangian guard of the Byzantines, before becoming king of Norway, and finally dying at the battle of Stamford Bridge (against Harold Godwinsson, the "last Anglo-Saxon", who himself would be dead just a few weeks later at Hastings). But Sverre is not well remembered. Sverre was a product of the chaotic 12th century, in which rival dynasties and relatives vied to be rulers in the medieval state of Norway. Sverre, called Sigurdsson, might have been the son of Sigurd Munn, one of the prior kings. Or he might have made that up to justify his claim. Sverre became leader of the Birkebeiners, a rebel group in Norway that ultimately gained power in the 1170s and 80s. However, king Sverre had the opposition of the church, and a group of disaffected nobles called the Baglers, who supported the prior regime and doubted Sverre's paternity. Sverre himself ended up excommunicated, and Norway placed under interdict. The conflict would continue after Sverre's death. Sverre is an interesting character from a numismatic perspective, because of the large amount of coins of his that survived. In 1840, a large group of coins was found in Dæli, Norway. A few pennies in Sverre's name were found, but the majority of coins were bracteates. These extremely thin small coins were the main currency of the Birkenbeiner party during these troubled years. Because of the presence of the pennies with Sverre's name in the hoard, it is possible to attribute these otherwise minimally marked coins. Coinage in Norway had come to a halt in the late 1000's, and ceased for more than 50 years. Norway seems to have picked up on the bracteates from northern Germany shortly after they became established there. The bracteates are found with single letters, and many letters are represented. These are thought to represent mints, but it is not certain whether that is truly the case. This coin, with the 'A', may be for Asloia (Oslo). In other parts of Europe, bracteates were produced with a high degree of artistry. Not so much in Scandinavia. With a few exceptions, bracteates have fairly basic designs in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. Frequently, and not just for Sverre, it's just a single letter. Anonymous penny of Denmark, the "Stridsperioden", 1044-1047 These anonymous coins are thought to have been made from 1044-1047 when Magnus the Good, Harald Hardrade, and Svend Estridsen were all competing for the rule of Denmark. It is thought that because the Lund mint was changing hands so frequently, it was likely that the coins were purposely given garbled nonsense obverse legends. The reverse has a legible moneyer and mint signature. Penny of Anund Jakob, king of Sweden 1022-1050 King Anund Jacob of Sweden was born as just Jacob to king Olof "Skötkonung" of Sweden and Queen Estrid , his parents had converted to Christianity prior to his birth and gave their son a Christian biblical name. Sweden was only just adopting Christianity at this time, and the name Jacob was not very recognizable or acceptable to the Swedes, so he was also named Anund, and is remembered to history by this name. He became a co-ruler with his father late in Olof's reign, and became king in 1022. Despite a long reign (1022-1050), Anund's history is poorly remembered. He did produce coins, but the volume of coinage seemed to take a sharp decline after Olof's death, and would cease altogether at some point during Anund's reign. Coins of Olof are by no means common, but those in the name of Anund are very rare. Anund's coins take three main flavors- 1- Those in his name imitating Aethelred's long cross type 2- Those in his name imitating Cnut's pointed helmet type 3- Blundered coins that die link or stylistically link to the above two There is the likelihood that much if not all of his coinage was produced in the first few years of his reign, and may have ceased by 1030. The coins were probably all produced at Sigtuna. Anund is remembered to history as "Kolbränna" or "coal-burner". Sadly, this was not because he cooked a mean steak on the barbecue. Rather, it presumably is due to his tactic of burning down the houses of his enemies. Keep in mind that this was probably not just an act of property vandalism. If you've read "Njáls saga", an Icelandic saga, you might recall the climax of the story, when the protagonist's house is burned by his enemies with the family still inside. This was a raiding tactic familiar to the Nordic people. A force would besiege a house, or hall, or fort, where people lived and farmed, and set the building on fire. Women and young children were usually permitted to leave, but the men would not be allowed exit and die by fire. This is brutal medieval Viking era stuff. This is our Anund. Thanks for looking and let me know your favorites.
  11. A fascinating series. Wigraed, an otherwise forgotten artisan from a largely forgotten age, is remembered for posterity by the placement of his runes on the coin's face. Wigraed was no Euainetos or Kimon. The art was simplistic and the coins are generally of poor metal. His coins are nearly always fairly debased, and only a few 'nice' specimens of the coinage survive in reasonable silver. I have a single R10 coin of Wigraed that is typical of the issue. My coin has been through an adventure, having nearly been thrown away years ago. I wrote about this story on another coin discussion forum some time back. Here's mine-
  12. As an extremely rare coin, this is certainly deserving of scrutiny. I did not bid on the coin in BR and I recommended a friend also not bid, because I was worried about authenticity, even with the metal analysis that was provided. I continue to remain worried about authenticity. The second example only heightens that worry. Given the otherwise strong prices in the BR sale, and the lack of any bids on this one, I doubt I was the only one with concerns.
  13. Nice article on the Leudhard coin/medalet. If interested, I have discussed Anglo-Saxon gold coins in a few other threads linked here:
  14. If you go back to Saxon times, the Northumbrian sceats and stycas will win no beauty prize. I have a great affinity for them and have put together a comprehensive set of these but am under no illusion about their beauty or artistic merit. The later irregular ones are even worse with blundered and illegible legends. Here are a few: Aethelred I sceat, archaic quadruped type. The letters are backwards and of horribly different size, the creature is poorly rendered and the triquetra below looks like a lumpy rock. From Aethelred’s first reign 774-779, and an extremely rare coin. Aethelred I sceat with the triangular base “shrine” on the reverse, by the moneyer Cuthgils. Also very rare. Eanred styca, moneyer Brother. From the Archbishop Sharp collection (very old provenance) Redwulf styca, moneyer Alghere. A rare and rather high grade example, which despite its state of preservation is still quite ugly. An irregular styca with blundered legends. Aethelred II, moneyer Leofthegn. The most artistic of the copper styca coinage, a coin that goes away from the basic design of king’s name around a cross, moneyer’s name around a cross, and instead features a creature on the reverse, reminiscent of the quadruped seen on the sceattas of Northumbria nearly 100 years earlier. While it is exceptional for its time, Leofthegn was no Euainetos, and the creature is fairly unfortunate looking. This is despite this being an above average example, possibly the finest outside of museums. Only one reverse die is known, making the coin extremely rare, maybe 20 copies out there. And this coin has a provenance going back a hundred years and was previously part of the famed RC Lockett collection. Still, objectively it’s an ugly coin.
  15. The coin is a silly commemorative, but I remember the Mr. Men and Little Miss books very well. You could find them in bookstores in the US in the 80s, and I had a bunch of them. I loved them as a kid, and remember crying when I heard that Roger Hargreaves died. I guess even as a kid, I was an Anglophile.
  • Create New...