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GM25803

Aethelred II Penny, second hand type, Shaftesbury Mint, Aethelstan

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

Aethelred II (978-1016),silver Penny, second hand type (c.985-991), Shaftesbury Mint, Moneyer Aethelstan, diademed bust right with sceptre, Latin legend and linear circles surrounding, +ÆÐELRÆD REX ANGLOX, rev.hand of Providence from billowing clouds, hyphen over A over pellet to left, hyphen over w over pellet to right, Latin legend and linear circles surrounding, + ÆÐSTAN M-O CEFTER, weight 1.41g (SCBI 24:453 West Country; N.768; S.1146).Toned, struck from rusty dies with slight bend in flan, weak on head, otherwise very fine and rare.

The legends translate as "Aethelred, King of the English" and "Aethelstan of Shaftesbury."

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.Situated in Dorset nearly 25 miles north northwest of Dorchester on high ground, Shaftesbury is where Dunstan took the body of Edward the Martyr for interment after his death at Corfe Castle. Minting activity occurs from the reign of Aethelstan to King Stephen including a die link with the rare "BRYGIN" pieces.

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