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Carolingian deniers and their Norman feudal replacements, 9th-10th centuries


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(YIKES, mass edit.  Did the draft of this in Google Docs ...and when I pasted it here, random lines of text were left out.  Marvels of technology revisited.) 


Just landed this.

KAROLINGER / FRANKREICH Denar 840-877 Karl der Kahle RENNES EF

Carolingian Neustria (northwestern West Francia, minus most of Brittany).  Denier of Rennes; Charles II the Bald (king of Francia 840-877}; the ubiquitous Edict of Pitres / 'GDR' type, 864-875.  Continued from Louis the German (as Emperor) to Louis II, down to 879.


Obv. 'KAR<>LVS' monogram.  (From 9 o'clock:) +GRATIA D-I REX.

Depeyrot (third ed., 2008) 856, with very minor legend variants.

Although there are post-Carolingian immobilizations as early as the 10th-11th century, the earliest feudal issue of Rennes that I've got is this.



Duchy of Brittany.  Conan II, 1040-1066. Denier of Rennes.

Obv.  Monogram, riffing on the ERBERTVS type introduced by Herbert I, Count of Maine, and immobilized into the 13th century.

(From 9 o'clock:) +CONAN[\]/S COMES.

Rev. REDO[N]IS CIVITAS.  Duplessy 53.

Moving from Brittany to Normandy, here are another couple of examples.


Charles II, denier of Rouen.  Also continued through Louis II; some legend blundering.

Obv.  'CAR<>LVS' monogram.  (Cross?) CRATIA D-I REX.

Rev.  (From 9 o'clock:) +rOTVIICVS CVILS.  Depeyrot 878 (right, with variations).

And an early feudal issue of Richard I.


Normandy.  Richard I, Count of Rouen 942/3-996.  Denier of Rouen, c. 960-980.

Obv.  +RIC/\RDVSI (S couchant).

Rev.  Temple facade, riffing on the extensive issue of Louis I, king 814-840.  In center, large X between pellets.

+ROTOMAVS.    Dumas, Fécamp 21/772; Plate II, under the same listing (12 plates).  Depeyrot 888; Duplessy 16.

Finally, for Bayeux, here's another Carolingian of Charles the Bald, followed by, lo and behold, a true immobilization, temp. Richard I.



Charles II, yet another 'GDR' issue of Rouen.  

Obv. "KAR<>LVS' monogram.  (From 9 o'clock:) +GRATIA . D-I REX

Rev.  +HBAI<>CAS CIVITAS.  Depeyrot 127.


And the immobilization.


Bayeux, anon., c. mid-late 10th c.  Anonymous, temp. Richard I.  Effectively the same type as the Carolingian example, aside from weight, composition, and blundered legends (as we have seen, not uncommon among Carolingian issues).

Rev. +IAIOCASH CITAS. ([Blundered Medieval Latin for 'Bayeux'] civitas.)

Obv. 'KAROLVS' monogram.  (From 10 o'clock: ) +CPATIA D-I REX.  

Dumas, Fécamp 647 (-9; …'immobilisation').  Moesgaard, 'A Survey of Coin Production and Currency in Normandy, 864-945,' in Graham-Campbell et al., eds., Silver Economy in the Viking Age (2007), 99-121, esp. pp. 104-5 and Fig. 6.3.)  I'm not as good at this some people are here, but this might be a die match of Dumas, no. 6047 (pp. 104-5 and pl. VI, numbered 6047; followed by two more examples, 6048-9)). It's very light, and viscerally baser silver than you'd expect from an official Carolingian issue –or his own, apparently later ones (cf. above).  As Mckitterick (Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians) cogently observes, the earliest, 10th-c. feudal coinages began as immobilizations, including the royal names on the prototypes.  She discusses the possibility that this was due to some now undocumented transition, involving an initial, emphatic emphasis of the king's increasingly nominal suzerainty.  At the other extreme, she notes that from the beginning, '[t]here is no evidence that the king ever ceded monetary rights to the counts.  The counts usurped them.'  She goes on to cite Grierson, who 'has offered the suggestion that it was a 'certain sense of propriety' that prompted these counts to continue striking the coin in the king's name because it ensured general acceptance or at least ensured a uniformity of type.'  (Pp. 334-5.) 

As we have seen, Richard was among the first counts to take the next step and issue coins in his own name.  Relative to those, available evidence suggests that this immobilization is no later than the comital reign of Richard I (942-996), but initially predating more than one issue of Rouen in his own name. Bates notes Bayeux as the second and much less active of the first two Norman mints. (Normandy Before 1066, pp. 128-9.)

You are cordially encouraged to add anything of the period, or of any other kind of relevance.  You get points for expansiveness.



Edited by JeandAcre
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I don’t own any Carolingian coins, though I do have a later French denier:


I also have a penny of king John of the Plantagenet dynasty, the successors of the Normans as the rulers of England & rivals to the Capetian dynasty over the French throne:



Plantagenet. John AR Penny. 1199-1216. London mint. Bust of John facing / Voided short cross with quatrefoil in each angle. 17 mm, 1.16 g.






Edited by MrMonkeySwag96
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Aha!  @MrMonkeySwag96, your Angouleme is another example of counts continuing a Carolingian king's name, Louis IV, as late as the 12th and 13th centuries.  There are lots of variants of the obverse motif, especially from the inheritance of Angouleme by the Lusignan counts of La Marche in the earlier 13th century.  The issues of La Marche riffed on that, still including the name of Louis.

Here's my example of Poey 2663.  Also Duplessy 947.



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Germany, Cologne. Otto I. or II, AD 936 to 983. AR Pfennig (mm, 1,44 g, h). Royal mint at Koln. Obv: OTTOIMPERATOR; Cross, with dots in each quadrant. Rev: COLONIA-A monogram. Ref: Hävernick 62. Prägeschwäche, sehr schön WAG Auction Feb 2009, Lot 2249.



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Alas, I lack a good pairing of immobilized Carolingian coinage with an early feudal French coin.  That requires much greater depth than I can muster. 

I can, however, suggest a pairing of a nice muscadet (a product of Brittany) with Coquilles St. Jacques (scallops in cream sauce). Please save room for desert: a denier of Stephen of Penthièvre, Brittany. Roberts shows three varieties of increasingly crude strikes, which he describes generally as having "extraordinarily poor artistic quality." 

image.jpeg.55f904d3c4cc1b6974aa4bedbb924716.jpeg  image.jpeg.0cf2011308824125a5b3043c31434a55.jpeg

France. Feudal, Count of Penthièvre, Stephen I. 1093-1138. AR Denier (0.81ᵍᵐ 19.3ᵐᵐ 2ʰ) of Guingamp, Brittany. Head right. ✠ ϬVINϬAMP. / Cross pattée, star in 1ˢᵗ and 2ⁿᵈ quarters. ✠ ᔕTEPhAN COᲗ. aVF. Agora Auctions 111 #286. Ex Pegasi Numismatics (Spartan Sale 76 #310). Ghosting on obv. from rev. cross.  Roberts 4954; Boudeau 144 (4f); Poey d'Avant I #1444. cf. Duplessy, Féodales I (type immobilisé) #364; de Wit 350.

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My collection of Louis the Pious class 2 deniers now amounts to 4 coins.

Bourges, Depeyrot number 177.  Examples known to Depeyrot are 157.


Lyon, Depeyrot 523.  Examples known to him are 35.

image.png.4d506423d9dade708a37b51bbb42b335.png image.png.584ab83d91b2d67c3ce7ccab3b9f830f.png

Mellle, Depeyrot 609, examples known 53.


Tours, Depeyrot 1036, examples known 50.


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