Jump to content



Recommended Posts

My first addition of 2023 arrived last week at my friend @AnYangMan, who did not forget about the Elsen auction 153 (dec 2022) and bought the main coin I was after in the aftersale (thanks again!). It is a new variety of the VERNVS type, a sceatta that is traditionally attributed to England, though specimens have been found in France, Belgium and The Netherlands (including, probably, one of my three VERNVS types). There is some discussion on the meaning of VERNVS. Blackburn & Bonser speculate that the last three letters (ie NVS) are in fact part of the neck, and that the coin should read "VER", which could be interpreted as wer, the Old English word for Wergild; the legal money equivalent to a man's life. Other (imitative?) specimens read VENOVS or VAIꟼOIBE (alternative interpretation VAIOBE), suggesting a moneyers name instead. 

VERNVS sceattas are among the earlier sceattas, and were included in the Remmerden hoard (a large, continental hoard including mainly primary phase sceattas. Blackburn suggested a categorization in three groups:


and all these groups were found in the Remmerden hoard. This means that, for inspiration, the die cutters could have used Series A and series C (sceattas of the primary phase), which where then abstracted over a short course of time:


Metcalf and Op den Velde propose a new theory [JMP 2009], which is, essentially the exact opposite chronology as proposed by Blackburn: 


... as far as I understand, mostly based on the reverse design. 


Long story short, here is the coin, photographed in the coin tray of @AnYangMan close to his superb addition from Elsen (which I hope he'll soon post here as well!) #Cliffhanger. 


AR sceatta, continental, 'VERNVS'-type. Obv/ Radiate bust to the left (which makes it a new variety), cross-pommée before. VV O below. Rev/ degenerate votive standard, lines and pellets around central pellet-in-annulet. Weight: 0.93g. Some minor deposits on the reverse, otherwise good silver, and attractively toned. Catalogue: new variety, not in JMP 2014. Personal communication with Tony Abramson: included in the corpus as 6-50. 

Checking ACsearch for VERNVS or VERNUS (32 hits), Sixbid (similar, some overlap), EMC (31 hits), PAS (7 hits, including one hoard), PAN (Dutch PAS, 0 hits), National Dutch Numismatic Collection (0 hits), I identified two others, one (the above) is an obverse and reverse die match to my coin (it doesn't add information on the dies however, as both dies are uniformly centered); the other is of different dies. 



With this new addition, I now own three VERNVS types, see below the stories of the first two:

#1: https://www.cointalk.com/threads/brushing-the-dirt-of-mr-vernvs-who-was-bought-by-accident.372140/


#2: https://www.cointalk.com/threads/the-return-of-mr-vernvs-reunited-after-c-1300-years.381559/ (obv. die match to nr 1; find location in Netherlands). 


Edited by Roerbakmix
  • Like 14
  • Thanks 2
  • Clap 1
  • Cookie 1
  • Heart Eyes 1
  • Yes 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/6/2023 at 2:19 PM, John Conduitt said:

Thank you. Yes with several series (D, E, F) I always try to get a findspot, as there never seems to be certainty about where they are from.

I agree, though Metcalf and Op den Velde's studies were quite convincing on a continental mint imho. VERNVS are not extremely rare, though they aren't that common either. I think there are about 100 in auction results and EMC in total (that is, online). It makes you wonder: how many sceattas are there in the boxes of metal detectorists? 

Meanwhile, I've found a third die match somewhere online. Overlaying all three coins allows to recreate (part of) the die:


Unfortunately, the third specimen only provided information on the upper section of the obverse, and not the legend (or ornaments?). Looking for a 4th one which is hopefully also minted  off-center.  

Also, @Nap, I remember you have a decent VERNVS (and a different theory regarding the origin of VERNVS).

Edited by Roerbakmix
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
On 2/7/2023 at 7:58 PM, Roerbakmix said:

Meanwhile, I've found a third die match somewhere online

I've now bought this third specimen (so two of the three known specimens of this variety are now in my collection):


EARLY MEDIEVAL, Anonymous. Denomination: AR Sceatta (Series E, VERNVS), minted: Magna Frisia; 695-710, Frisia
Obv: Abstract helmeted bust to the left, cross-pommee before; part of a 'V' legible behind
Rev: Beaded standard with central pellet-within annulet, flanked by pellets, and horizontal lines. Cross-pommee on each side of the border.
Weight: 1.11g; Ø:11.4 mm. Catalogue: Not in JMP 2009/10. Provenance: Bought from ebay seller Fortuna Numismatics, ID: 314240755272; acq.: 01-2023
Find location: Uncertain, bought from UK metaldetectorist Published: No
Unpublished variety of VERNVS to the left, three known (two in this collection). Obverse and reverse die match to VERNVS III.


Also, @Nappointed me to this specimen, which he acquired for his collection (bummer!). They are stylistically very similar and probably from the same hand. 


  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...

Great overview on this unusual and small coinage!

I don't have any great theories on the meaning of VERNVS.  I don't think it's a proper name.  My thought was that it might have something to do with Spring, i.e. the Vernal equinox.  But that's all I can manage.

Here are my two examples to contribute





  • Like 7
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...