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GM25807

Aethelred II Penny, helmet type, Bath Mint, moneyer Aethelric

Regular price £1,250
Regular price Sale price £1,250

Aethelred II (978-1016), silver Penny, helmet type (1003-1009), Bath Mint, Moneyer Aethelric, armoured bust in helmet left, legend commences lower left with toothed border surrounding, +ÆÐELRÆD REX ANGL, rev. pellet at centre of long voided cross with tri-crescent terminals, angles with tri-pellet topped piles, two angles with extra raised pellet, +--- ELRIC MΩO BAÐ, pellet in O, weight 1.47g (SCBI 24:567-8 West Country; N.775; S.1152). Lightly toned with an imposing portrait with thick neck and well defined head, the legend a little blundered in parts, of a pleasing style, practically extremely fine and rare this fine.

The Latin legends translate as "Aethelred King of the English" on obverse and "Aethelric of Bath."

North lists 73 named mints in operation during the reign of Aethelred II with a further 14 unallocated. Bath operates with eight moneyers in all types except first and last small cross.

Though Aethelred enjoyed such a long reign he was known as "The Unready" literally meaning ill-counselled from a history of bad advice and decision making. Born circa 967 Aethelred was supported by his mother and partisans that were led by Earl Aelfhere of Mercia; ascending the throne at no more than 12 years of age after the murder of his Half-Brother Edward at Corfe. The influential Aelfhere having died in 983 meant Aethelred became more vulnerable, and the Vikings began to start their raids once again. Aethelred chose to pay off the raiders rather than resist, becoming known for giving such ransoms payments willingly. This meant many hundreds of thousands of coins ended up being taken to Scandanavia where they were hoarded and why much of the coinage that survives today often exhibits "peck marks" where the Viking bankers have inserted a knife point to make sure the metal quality was good. The harrying continued until Swein Forkebeard held a great swathe of England by 1013, and Aethelred was under threat in London retreating to the Isle of Wight. England submitted to Swein but he died suddenly on the 2ndFebruary 1014 at Gainsborough giving Aethelred the advantage and driving the Vikings out. Canute the second son of Swein, returned to attack in 1015 and by early 1016 was marching on Mercia, Aethelred however passed away on 23rdApril 1016 in London at around the age of 52 just as his second son Edmund was moving south to link up with the army. Edmund was elected King but the army was his priority, and after winning a few battles suffered a defeat at Ashingdon on 18thOctober 1016. He retreated possibly wounded to West Mercia and negotiated a treaty giving him rule of Wessex. However Edmund died in Oxford on the 30thNovember 1016 giving control to Canute.

The old Roman City of Bath some 12 miles from Bristol was rebuilt by Alfred the Great after expulsion of the Danes and was part of the Burghal Hidage. King Eadgar was coronated there in 973 and in 1013 the Danish Swein went to Bath to receive submission from the western thegns. Bath was destroyed in 1088 in a rising orchestrated by Robert de Mowbray. It later became an episcopal seat in place of Wells in 1090 and William II granted the mint to the Bishop. Minting activity occurs in the English series from the time of Edward the Elder until King Stephen.

Provenance:

Ex Dr John Hulett Collection, part II, Dix Noonan and Webb, 12th December 2017, lot 662.

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