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EM14537

Canute Quatrefoil type Penny, Gouged reverse die, Stamford Mint, Morulf

Canute (1016-35), silver quatrefoil Penny (c.1017-25), Stamford Mint, Moneyer Morulf, variety with bar-like oval pellet in upper right quarter angle, diademed and draped bust left within quatrefoil, legend surrounding commences at bottom, +CNVT REX ANGLORVI, rev. pellet at centre of voided long cross, over quatrefoil with pellet cusps, second upper right quarter with large oval pellet, legend surrounding, +MO RVL F MO STAI, weight 0.89g (N.785; S.1157). Toned and struck from an older obverse die as it demonstrates raised spots from die rust; the large pellet seemingly added to a used pair of dies, metal starvation showing on obverse at bridge of nose due to the depth of pellet engraved on reverse die, good very fine, a very interesting variety that was unknown to Wells cited in footnote below, very rare indeed.

The legends translate as "Canute King of the English" on obverse and on the reverse "Morulf of Stamford."

The late W. C. Wells wrote one of the more definitive articles on the Stamford Mint over a series of parts published in the British Numismatic Journal some eighty years ago. The third part covered the reign of King Canute, British Numismatic Journal volume 24 published 1942. Therein an example of this Moneyer with the same readings without the pellet bar is listed as number 64. Therefore, the coin with the pellet bar was unknown to Wells. However there are three other Moneyers working at Stamford at this time who produced coins with similar pellet bars in either the second or fourth quarter, Cawelin - number 23, Godele number 32 and Swertbrand numbers 72, 73 and 74, the latter two having the pellet in fourth quarter.

Writing more recently, and since the Cambridge Hoard came to the numismatic market-place circa 1993-96, in the British Numismatic Journal 2000, Robin Eaglen and Robert Grayburn, in their article "Gouged Reverse Dies in the Quatrefoil Issue of Cnut" record the fact that 13 of the 19 Stamford Mint moneyers are now recorded as having produced a gouged die reverse Penny. The moneyer Morulf is shown in their table 1 with only four examples known of the gouged reverse die, of which this coin is one of them. They suggest that this practise perhaps originated at Stamford as gouging starts in the last coinage of Aethelred II at Stamford and is the most prolific in existence of gouged die reverses. The moneyers Cawelin and Godwine account for some 60% of the known examples of such coins.

Furthermore, only six other Mints record the gouged reverse die phenomenon, Bedford, Cambridge, Huntingdon, Leicester, Northampton and Rochester. Though these mints consist of 41 moneyers, only 11 of these moneyers produced gouged die coins from 16 different dies, with Rochester being the outlier from the others which are all within a 42-mile radius geographically. All the known quatrefoil type coins with gouged die are of the Stamford A or B styles as defined by Blackburn and Lyon in their article "Regional Die-Production in Cnut's Quatrefoil Issue" showing that Stamford was the die cutting centre responsible for these dies; even the Rochester coin where it is theorised that the moneyer may have visited Stamford on a trip with the Bishop of Rochester.

The reason for this pellet bar being added remains unknown, and the conclusions reached by Eaglen and Grayburn could only suggest as propositions that all gouged dies were produced at Stamford in haste and possibly in reaction to the Geld of 1018. They remain an intriguing numismatic enigma of the Stamford Mint series.

Morulf subsequently continued to be a moneyer for the rest of Canute's reign minting through the successive types at Stamford.

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