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GM24234

Harold I Penny, Jewel cross type, London Mint, Moneyer Beorhtmaer

Regular price £1,500
Regular price Sale price £1,500

Harold I (1035-40),silver Penny, jewel cross type (c.1036-38), London Mint, Moneyer Beorhmaer, diademed bust left, legend and toothed border surrounding, commencing at top, HARO LD REX,rev.pellet at centre of lobed cross, two inner linear circles unite lobes at centre, legend and toothed border surrounding, +B.RIHTMÆR ON. L, weight 1.13g (SCBI Copenhagen 18:299; BMC type I; Parsons 454; N.802; S.1163).Attractively toned, good very fine.

The abbreviated legends translate as on the obverse "King Harold" and on reverse the moneyer "Beorhmaer of London."

The Parsons reference his "Coins of Harold I" by H. Alexander Parsons, British Numismatic Journal volume 15, 1919. According to North the London Mint operated with up to 42 moneyers in this reign through all three types.

Harold Harefoot was apparently the younger of two sons Canute had with Aelfgifu, before marrying the Emma the widow of Aethlered II and having Harthacanute by her. His older brother Swein was sent to rule Norway until being expelled in 1034 and pre-deceased his Father in Denmark at the end of the year. On Canute's death the men of Mercia and Northumbria therefore chose Harold as the next ruler. Meanwhile Queen Emma in Winchester with the King's bodyguard and treasure supported her son Harthacanute who was still in Denmark, as did Godwin of Wessex, and claims of illegitimacy towards Harold became rife. War was avoided by Harthacanute's absence, but did not bode well for his cause, his half-brother Alfred later attempting to visit his mother at Winchester, being treacherously captured at Guildford by Godwin and handed over to Harold, who had him fatally blinded and sent to perish in Ely. Wessex accepted Harold as King by 1037 and Emma fled to Normandy, and though watchful of invasion by Harthacanute nothing ever came, remaining peaceful until his death in his early twenties on 17th March 1040. He was nicknamed "Harefoot" on account of his sporting ability and was buried in Westminster. On arrival Harthacanute had him dug up and thrown in a marsh, but secretive supporters recovered his body and had him interred elsewhere in London.

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. Coinage activity here has been mostly constant throughout history from the Romans until the reign of our current Queen and only moving out to Wales from 1969.

Provenance:

Ex Glendining, 12th March 1970, lot 140.

Ex Seaby Coin and Medal Bulletin, June 1970, item 2890.

Ex Marvin Lessen, North York Moors Collection, part 2, 3rd July 2019, lot 336.

Ex Collection of an English Doctor part II, Sovereign Rarities fixed price list online May 2022.

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