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JM33686

Aethelred II Penny, Long cross type, Bridport Mint, moneyer Eadnoth

Regular price £1,750
Regular price Sale price £1,750

Aethelred II (978-1016), silver long cross Penny (c.997-1003), Bridport Mint, Moneyer Eadnoth, draped bust left, legend and beaded outer border surrounding both sides, legend commences lower left, +ÆÐELRÆD REX ΛNGLO, rev. long voided cross with tri-crescent ends, +EAÐNOD MO BRY., weight 1.74g (SCBI 7 [Copenhagen], 35; N.774; Hild D; S.1151). Toned, slight weakness in the hair perhaps a weakness in the obverse die, clear legends and portrait, few peckmarks. Good very fine, rare.

North lists 73 named mints in operation during the reign of Aethelred II with a further 14 unallocated. According to North Bridport operates with three moneyers across all types except the first small cross, benediction hand and helmet type.

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 fishing port of Bridport in Dorset some 15 miles west of Dorchester first operates as a mint at the time of Aethelstan with a break until the reign of Aethelred II and then runs through to William I including a unique piece of Harold II. The mint only has three moneyers in this reign and may also be connected to the mint signature BREDY which is an old burgh mentioned in the Burghal Hidage.

The legends translate as "Aethelred King of the English" on obverse and "Eadnoth of Bridport" on the reverse.

Provenance:

Ex Spink, Auction 18011, 27th March 2018, lot 78

Purchased Baldwin's July 2014

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