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Aethelred II Penny


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Æþelræd Unræd Longcross Penny of Lewes mint.

 

Aethelred II, otherwise known as Ethelred II or the Unrede/Unready, ruled from around 979 until 1013 and then 1014 until 1016. Coins like these were used as Danegeld and an example of it in Aethelred's reign was after the Battle of Maldon where Aethelred made a payment of 3,300 kg of silver to the Vikings. Danegeld was essentially the money used to pay off the invading Vikings and vast quantities of it was used. In 1007 Aethelred gave 13,400 kg of silver and then 17,900 kg in 1012. This is why there are more Anglo-Saxon pennies of this reign found in Scandinavia rather than England as the coins were often used for Danegeld. It is estimated that more than sixty million pennies were paid as Danegeld, hence more pennies are found in Sweden than England.

 

This penny could have been minted any time between, and including, the years 997 and 1003. The obverse, portrait side, reads ÆTHELRÆD REX ANGLORX - Aethelred King of England.

 

The reverse reads GODEFRID M-O LÆP which translates roughly as Godfrith on Lewes. The mint is quite scarce with regard to Anglo Saxon pennies. The name "Lewes", pronounced 'Lewis', is thought to be derived from the Anglo-Saxon word for hill which was HLÆW this might refer to the abundance of burial mounds situated around Lewes or perhaps the South Downs which lie within the region.

 

The "peck" marks that are visible on both sides of the coins were often made with a knife to test the purity of the silver but there is the possibility that they are teeth marks.

 

Lewes castle was built by William de Warenne, First Earl of Surrey who was loyal to William the Conqueror. So the castle would not have existed during Anglo Saxon times but the mint was very active during the reigns of William I and II, perhaps because the owner of Lewes was favoured by both Kings.

 

Another mint to add to my collection on a stunning penny.

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Stunning is right! That's a beauty :ninja:

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Already commented elsewhere, but this coin deserves a second comment. Wow.

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I know, it's been through the wars (literally) yet it looks so nice. Shows its history well, I still like to think that the peck marks are actually teeth marks. Gives the coin some individuality!

 

Think it's my favourite Aethelred Longcross penny. Although one of my more "fresh and crisp" examples comes close...

I love the design, simple yet effective. Clutter-free and clean, I like it.

 

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This one, (^), is Othgrim on York.

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