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GM23673

Aethelred II Penny, long cross type, Canterbury Mint, moneyer Eadweald

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

Aethelred II (978-1016), silver long cross Penny (c.997-1003), Canterbury Mint, Moneyer Eadweald, draped bust left, legend and beaded outer border surrounding both sides, legend commences lower left, +ÆÐELRÆD REX ANGLO, rev. long voided cross with tri-crescent ends, +EA DPOL D M .O CÆNT, weight 1.63g (BMC IV, 26; BEH 89; SCBI 25:172-3; N.774; S.1151). Toned, slight bend in flan, well struck, extremely fine.

North lists 73 named mints in operation during the reign of Aethelred II with a further 14 unallocated. According to North Canterbury operates with 17 moneyers in all types.

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 Canterbury is 16 miles north west of Dover with gold Thrymsas known bearing its name as one of the most important mints in southern England during the 8th and 9th centuries. In 809 the Danes were bought off for £3,000 but the town was taken by them in 839 and 851, again circa 981 and finally in 1011. There were two moneyers who worked for the Archbishop and in 1189 this increased to three. The Abbot of St Augustine had the privilege of one die in eight until 1161 at Canterbury though the coins do not seem to bear any ecclesiastical marks, though pennies of Henry I type XIV can have an annulet on the shoulder for moneyers Algar and Willem. We also know for Henry II that the Abbot's moneyer was Alferg. There are die links with Hythe and Lewes in the reign of Aethelred II and with Hythe for William I.

The legends translate as "Aethelred King of the English" on obverse and "Eadweald of Canterbury" on the reverse.

Provenance:

Ex Millennium Hoard, Suffolk, Dix Noonan and Webb, Auction 165, 4th December 2019, lot 62.

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

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