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EdwardBrooch.jpg

 

I acquired this coin this week. It is an Expanding Cross penny of Edward the Confessor, minted by Leofred at London.

 

It is a standard silver penny but has been lightly gilded. It also has a piercing and a dark stain across the obverse. I bought it as a 'pendant coin' but I believe it to be an example of a contemporaneous brooch penny, as this would explain the silver stain that runs across the obverse, where the pin would have been. The piercing could, perhaps, have been the location of the main stud that held the pin in place.

 

I already own an example of such a brooch of exactly the same issue and mint. See below.

 

42633Brooch1.jpg

92864Brooch2.jpg

 

Here is a post of mine from July 4th 2009 that can be viewed here: http://www.coinpeople.com/index.php?showtopic=24236

 

 

 

 

 

1003 saw Edward the Confessor born to Aethelred II/the Unrede and Emma of Normandy in the Oxfordshire village of Islip.

 

Islip1.jpg

 

Edward the Confessor and his brother Ælfred Æþeling were sent to their mother's homeland of Normandy to escape the Danish invasion of England. Their father died due to illness on the 23rd April 1016 whilst England was still at war with the Danes, this time of turmoil led to Edward the Confessor's halfbrother, Edmund Ironside, becoming king. Edmund Ironside proved himself to be a good king and managed to stabilise the Danish invasion to a reasonable level which involved some strategic diplomacy which saw Danish King Cnut rule all areas north of the River Thames whilst Edmund was to continue ruling all of the land south. However, Edward was returned to Normandy for his own safety and took the pleasure of a good education provided by his Norman counterparts. Unfortunately, Edmund passed away on the 30th November 1016 either due to illness or an assassination but it will never be clear. Edmund's passing saw England become part of Cnut's Danish Kingdom and continued to remain under Danish control until 1035. Cnut was focussed on his Scandinavian regions as he sought to control Norway and other lands, this meant that he did not pay much attention to England nor make any major changes which meant that England enjoyed a rare period of calm. England then passed into the hands of Harold I/Harefoot who was the son of Cnut and, when Harold died on the 17th March 1040, Harthacnut/Cnut the Hardy became king. Harthacnut's ascension saw his halfbrother, Edward the Confessor, return to England in 1041 and finally became king when Harthacnut died on the 8th June 1042.

 

 

Edward's reign was notably peaceful and prosperous with the main systems of society running smoothly; such as the courts, financial systems and even commerce proved successful. But ruling England was no easy task as there had to be cooperation between the earls who still retained much control, such as Earl Godwine of Wessex, Earl Leofric of Mercia and Earl Siward of Nothumbria. Controlling these earls was bad enough but Edward had a soft-spot for the Normans and placed many of them in positions of power throughout his kingdom. This caused great unrest amongst the Saxons, especially Godwine. An example of this is when Godwine suggested a gentleman for appointment as the Archbishop of Canterbury but Edward flatly refused it and, instead, appointed Robert of Jumieges who was a well-respected Norman as the Archbishop. It will therefore be of no great surprise to learn that Godwine was duly exiled from England due to his various riots and uprisings which plagued the south of England whilst the remaining two earls backed their king.

 

 

This coin is an example of Edward the Confessor's "Expanding Cross" penny. All Anglo-Saxon pennies of this era were struck from silver blanks and this is of no exception. However, you should notice that one side is gold in colour, I shall explain why later. The photos really do not do it justice, its slightly wavy flan prevent true photos from being taken by myself.

 

42633Brooch1.jpg

92864Brooch2.jpg

 

The obverse legend, starting at 12 O'clock, reads "+EDP RDREX" which means King Edward. The obverse depicts a diademed bust facing left with a trefoil-headed sceptre in front.

 

The reverse legend, also starting at 12 O'clock, reads "+GODRICONLVNDE:" which is essentially Godric on Lvnde which signifies that Godric was responsible for minting this coin at London. The reverse features a short voided cross with expanding limbs joined at the base by two circles.

 

 

This coin was made into a brooch, one would suspect it to be contemporary as he marked the end of Anglo-Saxon reign it seems unlikely that the Norman reign would have seen such actions. I suspect that it was done by someone of wealth as it would be have been rather expensive to get something made of solid silver to be coated on one side in gold and then to have two silver pins put through the reverse all by hand. Bearing in mind that the two silver pins would most likely have been connected by a silver bar clasp then this is a high status symbol of wealth. Perhaps a nobleman or a very wealthy merchant would have worn such an item to display the wealth. As the reverse is gilded and the king's portrait is facing the wearer and not on display, one can assume that it was not worn as some sort of monarch-support badge like we see in the Cromwellian/Charles civil war of the 17th Century.

 

Here is a normal penny of this type, with no gilding. Seen here: http://www.historiccoinage.com/shop.php?ac...full&id=331

 

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These brooches really are quite scarce and one like this is even more so as it still has its original pins and the coin shows very little wear if any. The level of detail remaining is literally as if it has just left the mint with the gilding reducing the relief somewhat.

 

A coin that is not too far off one thousand years old is nothing special as they can be quite easy to acquire. A coin of that age of English origin makes it a little scarcer but to have something of that age with the social ideology intertwined with the history is something that I find exceptionally impressive. I want to know who made it, who owned it, how it was lost and why was it made. I cannot help but wonder what sort of person last wore it as it sits on the palm of a hand the 21st Century, glistening in the light.

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But, to them, it wasn't disfiguring. It was merely a method of creating coins. A penny was just a measure of bullion and so it did not matter whether the mint cut them into halves or quarters.

 

The cutting was meant to be done by the mint alone as they wanted to control the whole coinage system and therefore have a say in how many pennies, halfpennies and farthings were circulating. However, this did not work out and many merchants and traders cut coins themselves to make small change. It was not until about 1222 when it was decided that halfpennies and farthings should be minted on round flans, just like their contemporary pennies. Eight dies were produced in London to issue halfpennies and farthings but not a single die has ever been found and none of the said coins have either. It can only be assumed that the moneyers thought the prospect of issuing round small change was absolutely absurd and so did not carry out the minting. Alas, we have to wait until Edward I to see such small change.

 

 

 

 

 

Any one who went to the moneyer with bullion silver either in the form of old coins to exchange for new types in the form of the recoinages or a standard weight of silver. So, if you went to the mint during John's reign with a penny of Richard I then you would be entitled to a new penny of King John subject to it falling into the correct weight category. If your coin was more than one-eighth less than the correct weight then it would only be accepted as a bullion part payment.

 

Obviously the mint would not just accept single pennies as it would not be an efficient system, but merchants would arrive at the mint with bags full of clipped bits of silver, coins from around Europe and English coins in the quest of acquiring new, genuine currency for circulation. The moneyer would charge a slight fee though, hence why they became very powerful men and wealthy landowners.

 

I knew about the mint wanting to regulate the clipping, but isnt that one reason round coins are preferred? To preserve the integrity of the coin (for counterfeiting purposes too)? And how... magnificent... would it be to find a 1222 halfpenny or farthing?

 

Fascinating about the mint exchanges/fees, too. Thanks for sharing.

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I knew about the mint wanting to regulate the clipping, but isnt that one reason round coins are preferred? To preserve the integrity of the coin (for counterfeiting purposes too)? And how... magnificent... would it be to find a 1222 halfpenny or farthing?

 

Fascinating about the mint exchanges/fees, too. Thanks for sharing.

 

It would have been easier to continue cutting the coins. They would only have had to create one set of dies, whereas if they introduced smaller round change then more dies would have been required. Saving time, money and effort.

 

I agree, it would be splendid to stumble across a halfpenny or farthing of that coinage but I highly doubt that any would have been minted at all.

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It would have been easier to continue cutting the coins. They would only have had to create one set of dies, whereas if they introduced smaller round change then more dies would have been required. Saving time, money and effort.

yeah yeah... i thought about that but I KNEW I was forgetting to mention something when I finally posted.

 

Thanks though!

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AethelredI1.jpg

AethelredI2.jpg

 

Aethelred I of Wessex. Lunette penny, type a with unbroken lunettes. The moneyer being Ethelred. There are only ten coins of this monarch recorded on the Early Medieval Corpus. A very scarce coin in good condition.

 

Aethelred I was King of Wessex from 865 until 871, where he was killed in Battle against the invading Danes.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Norwiz.jpg

 

Henry III Voided Longcross penny.

Norwich mint with Huge as the moneyer, reading HVG EON NOR WIZ.

A very well struck example of a class IIIa but with dots either side of the X in REX instead of the usual colon after REX.

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Wow, great condition.

 

Thanks, Pat.

 

 

How often are quartered or halved longcross pennies encountered as compared to whole ones?

 

I, personally, encounter cut halves as often as whole pennies. Cut quarters much less so. However, there are far more cut halves out there than I encounter and the same must be true with cut quarters to a lesser extent. Many people struggle to identify the complete pennies let alone a cut half or even a cut quarter and so they do not tend to appear in auctions as people keep them in their 'junk' tray, from my experience. It also depends as to where one looks as the ratio varies.

 

Cut halves are a great way to collect this series as you can pick up VF+ examples for about £10 compared to £40 for a complete one. I have many cut halves as it is often the only way to get examples of very rare mints.

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Thanks for your in-depth response! Around here, I only encounter (and only very seldomly) whole pieces, but I was wondering since online there seems to be a lot of cut halves and quarters.

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A handful of new coins today.

 

James1-1.jpg

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A sixpence of James I, dated 1606 and featuring the mintmark escallop.

 

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A shilling of Edward VI. Mintmark tun.

 

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Another one, but with a fantastic portrait. Here it is up close:

EdVI1-4.jpg

 

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EdwardIV2.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

I've purchased a fair few coins over the past month or two, namely Edward the Confessor pennies at the latest Spink auction.

 

Here's my most recent addition that I have acquired from a prominent collection.

 

CnutLance.jpg

 

It is a Cnut shortcross penny, (c.1029-1035). Minted at Winchester under the authority of Leodmaer. This is an exceptionally scarce coin in that the normal Cnut shortcross pennies feature the monarch with a sceptre whereas this clearly has a lance, (see here for normal pennies). This type is not even catalogued in Spink, showing its apparent rarity. In my opinion, the obverse is EF with the reverse being virtually as-struck.

 

It really is a beautiful coin to behold. I hope that my photographs can give you some idea.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Eddie1.jpg

Eddie2.jpg

 

Edward the Confessor Pacx penny. Stamford mint with the moneyer Godwine. A fairly scarce coin, dating to 1042-1044.

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Cnut2-2.jpg

Cnut1-2.jpg

 

A very rare Cnut Quatrefoil penny. Sprunt on Thetford mint with a pellet in two quarters and a cross to right of bust.

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  • 5 weeks later...

EcuRouen3.jpg

 

Henry VI Anglo-Gallic Ecu Grand Blanc. 1422-1453. The obverse features the shield of France alongside the shield of England with the legend "hERICVS" above and "FRANCORVM : ET : ANGLIE : REX". The mint mark of Rouen is clearly visible as a leopard at 12 O'clock.

 

The reverse features the legend "hERICVS" again with a Latin Cross overhead that bears a fleur-de-lis on the left and a leopard on the right. The legend encompassing this reads "SIT : NOMEN : DNI : BENEDICTV".

 

 

 

 

EcuStLo3.jpg

 

This is another Henry VI Anglo-Gallic Ecu Grand Blanc. The legends are exactly the same and the only difference is the mint mark which is a fleur-de-lis, representing St Lo mint.

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This is my first dive into Anglo-Gallic and, I must say, I'm rather smitten by them. They're interesting pieces!

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