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GM23686

Aethelred II, Penny, last small cross type, Lincoln Mint, moneyer Sunegod

Aethelred II (978-1016), silver Penny, last small cross type (c.1009-17), Lincoln Mint, Moneyer Sunegod, diademed and draped bust left within linear circle, Latin legend surrounding, +ÆÐELRED REX ANGL,rev. small cross pattée at centre, linear circle with legend surrounding, +SVNEGOD M-.O LINC, weight 1.08g (BMC I, p.201; BEH 988; SCBI 27:297-8 Lincolnshire; N.777; S.1154).Toned and free of peck marks good very fine.

North lists 73 named mints in operation during the reign of Aethelred II with a further 14 unallocated. According to North Lincoln operates with 64 moneyers in all types with one additional uncertain name.

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 2nd February 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 23rd April 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 18th October 1016. He retreated possibly wounded to West Mercia and negotiated a treaty giving him rule of Wessex. However, Edmund died in Oxford on the 30th November 1016 giving control to Canute.

The City of Lincoln situated on the north bank of the River Witham some 33 miles north east of Nottingham was occupied by the Danes in 918 but the army there submitted to Edward the Elder and in 942 was one of the Five Boroughs. William I built a castle here in 1067 and the minster of St Mary was taken by Remigius of Dorchester as his cathedral in 1072. Later Rannulf the Earl of Chester and William de Roumare Earl of Loncoln, seized the castle to hold against King Stephen in 1140. The King besieged the castle and was captured in defeat at the Battle of Lincoln with the town sacked and burnt. The castle was later surrendered to Stephen by Rannulf who three years later granted it back to him.

In the middle of the reign of Henry I the signature of the Lincoln Mint changes to NICOLE until the end of Stephen's first type and in some later short cross coinage, this being a French name for the city seen in some mediaeval documents, with Lincolnia being the name in Latin.

The legends translate as "Aethelred King of the English" on obverse and "Sunegod of Lincoln" on the reverse.

Provenance:

Ex Dr John Tooze Collection, Dix Noonan and Webb, Auction 163, 19th September 2019, lot 1035.

Ex Collection of an English Doctor, part one, Sovereign Rarities, London, March 2022.

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