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GM23658

Aethelstan, Penny, portrait type, City of London, moneyer Liofhlem

Regular price £5,400
Regular price Sale price £5,400

Aethelstan (924-939), silver Penny, portrait type, City of London Mint, moneyer Liofhelm, crowned and draped bust right to bottom of coin, circles and legend surrounding, commences lower left, + ÆÐELSTAN REX, rev. legend LIOFHELM MO LOND CI, weight 1.55g (BMC VIII, 67; Blunt 276, pl.VIII; SCBI 6:186; N.675; S.1095). Dark perhaps artificial tone, weak in the hair otherwise good very fine.

North lists twelve moneyers working in the reign of Aethelstan including Liofhelm at London, which is one of 28 mints in operation.

Aethelstan was the first King to use the title King of all Britain - Rex Totius Britanniae and he also decreed that each borough should have a moneyer to issue coin and that the more important boroughs could have more than one moneyer.

For further reading see the special volume XLII of the British Numismatic Journal (1974) celebrating the 70th birthday of Christopher Evelyn Blunt with his monumental work on Aethelstan filling the whole tome. Liofhelm is listed as a London moneyer for this type with ten others, as number 276. There is also a Liofhelm working in BMC types I and V for London.

The eldest son of King Edward the Elder by his first wife, Aethelstan was born circa 894 though later the prestige of his mother's marriage was called into question as it seems he was not at first destined for the throne, as it was younger half-brother Elfweard was elected by the council of Wessex, whereas the Mercian magnates preferred Aethelstan. The issue was resolved as Elfweard died on the way to Kingston on the 1st August 924 leaving Aethelstan to unite the throne and he was eventually crowned at Kingston on the 4th September 925. His 25 year reign kept the Kingdom united as he quelled revolts in the West country and along the Welsh border and even carried out the first West Saxon invasion of Scotland in 934. Aethelstan as the first King of all England, died unexpectedly in Gloucester aged around 45 on the 27th October 939, unmarried, though with an adult heir in his half-brother Eadmund the elder son of Edward the Elder's third marriage.

Capital City London upon the River Thames following Roman occupation, minted some of the earliest Saxon coins with gold Thrymsas and silver denarii with a "Londuniu" signature. Mercian Kings beginning with Offa minted coins there, but the first coin to actually say City of London upon it is the unique Ludica portrait Penny that was found in 2016, followed by subsequent coins of Ecgberht. In 871 the Danes wintered in London for the first time but was King Alfred of Wessex who settled and fortified the capital circa 880 to resist further invasions. Edward the Elder incorporated the City in Wessex in 911 and it resisted a major attack in the reign of Aethelred II in 1009. However London submitted to the Danish Swein in 1013, but three years later the citizens accepted Eadmund Ironside as King and resisted a siege by Canute.

Later unsettled times occurred in the anarchy period of the reign of King Stephen, remaining loyal to the King except for a few months in 1141 when Empress Matilda was admitted but within a short time expelled.

In the reign of King John, the city was captured by the insurgent barons and visited by their leader Prince Louis of France.

The obverse legend translates as "Aethelstan King" and the reverse as "Liofhelm Moneyer of the City of London."

Provenance:

Ex J. Kite Collection, purchased by Michael Trenerry of Truro.

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

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