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GM23641

Aethelstan I, King of East Anglia, portrait Penny, Moneyer Monna

Regular price £12,500
Regular price Sale price £12,500

Aethelstan I (825-845), King of East Anglia, silver Penny, moneyer Monna, head right within linear circle, legend and outer border surrounding, I+EPELZtAN REX, rev. moneyer name in three lines with pellet decoration surrounding, +MON / MONE / T A, weight 1.30g (BMC 5; Naismith E31.1; N.437; S.949). Dark tone with one small rim chip on reverse, practically extremely fine with a pleasing facial portrait, extremely rare.

Coins such as this penny would likely have been struck at the beginning of Aethelstan's rein in a show of Kingly power and probably at Ipswich where Monna likely operated as moneyer. There are similar style portrait coins of Beornwulf also signed by Monna so he likely worked for both the Mercian King (Naismith E24, North 397) and the East Anglian in quick succession. Naismith records three examples of the portrait Penny to which this coin and four others can be added that have been found since his 2011 publication (EMC 2013.0012; 2013.0093; 2018.0106, Spink Coin Auction 263 24th September 2019 lot 163).

The historic record of East Anglia remains mostly silent at this time, but it is known that Aethelstan was King by 825, the previous overlordship by Coenwulf and Ceolwulf from 796-823 meant that no King was really in power without Mercian permission there also being an absence of coinage, meaning Mercian types were the choice for circulation. Aethelstan is likely the unnamed King who turned to Wessex for help in 825 to throw off Mercian control taking advantage of the defeat of Ecgberht at Ellandun. The death of Beornwulf of Mercia followed in a botched invasion of East Anglia and later of Ludica in 827, and East Anglia survived with an overlordship by Wessex till 829. Aethelstan continues in power until 837 when he disappears from the record in favour of Aethelweard.

The obverse legend translates as "Aethelstan King" and the reverse "Monna Moneyer".

Provenance:

Found West Norfolk, June 2020, EMC 2020.0244.

Ex Dix Noonan and Webb, Auction 182, 16th September 2020, lot 205.
Ex Collection of an English Doctor, part one, Sovereign Rarities, London, March 2022.

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