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GM24312

Stephen Penny, Cross voided & Mulletts type, London Mint, Moneyer Edward

Stephen (1135-54), silver Penny, voided cross and mullets type (c.1145-50), London Mint, Moneyer Edward, crowned facing bust with sceptre at left, legend and beaded border surrounding, commencing lower left, +S----N-, rev. voided cross at centre, pierced mullet in each angle, legend and beaded border surrounding, --DPAD: ON: LVN-,weight 1.24g(BMC type II 154;Allen, BNJ 2012, p.112; Mack 61a; N.878; S.1280). Toned, a little uneven in shape with a little crimping, some flat peripheral areas, otherwise very fine with a decent portrait and identifiable, rare.

The legends translate as "Stephen" on obverse and "Edward of London" on the reverse.

North records up to 24 moneyers working at London for Stephen across four types.

The reign of Stephen is perhaps one of the most interesting numismatically as England descends towards Civil War in the latter part of the reign, with an increasing volume in types of coinage with many poorly struck as allegiances to the King, the Empress or the various noblemen wax and wane. The first so-called Watford type is the most abundant due to the fact that a major hoard of this type turned up in the Watford area in Victorian times, rather than something describing the design, but a well struck piece is hard to find.

Often referred to as Stephen of Blois he was born in either 1092 or 1096 he was a younger son of Stephen-Henry the Count of Blois who died whilst Stephen was young, he subsequently being raised by his mother Adela the daughter of William the Conqueror. He was placed into the English court of his uncle Henry Beauclerc, where he rose in prominence and was granted extensive lands, he became Count of Boulogne by his marriage in 1125 to Matilda inheriting estates there and in Kent making the couple one of the wealthiest in England. He had earlier escaped drowning in the White Ship disaster of 1120 which claimed the life of William Aethling the son of Henry I, leaving some doubt over the succession to the English throne despite Henry nominating his daughter Matilda as heir. Later, upon the news of Henry's passing on 1st December 1135, Stephen immediately crossed over the English Channel and with the help of his brother Henry Bishop of Winchester and Abbot of Glastonbury he took the throne declaring the preservation of order across the Kingdom took priority over any earlier oaths to support his cousin Empress Matilda. His early years were successful ones despite some attacks in the north from David I of Scotland, from Welsh rebels in the west and from Empress Matilda's husband Geoffrey from the east. In 1138 Robert of Gloucester the half-brother of Empress Matilda rebelled threatening civil war. Stephen fiercely defended his rule with support from Waleran de Beaumont, arresting a group of bishops. However, in 1139 when the Empress and Robert of Gloucester invaded Stephen was unable to crush the revolt with them taking hold of the south-west of England. Stephen was captured at the Battle of Lincoln in 1141, lost Normandy and abandoned by many of his followers, but was subsequently released after his wife Matilda with William of Ypres captured Robert at the Rout of Winchester, but the civil war continued to drag on unabated. Stephen wanted his son Eustace to succeed him and tried to convince the church to crown Eustace in advance, but Pope Eugene III refused causing disruption within the clergy. In 1153 Empress Matilda's son Henry invaded building a powerful alliance of barons to support him for the throne. The armies met at Wallingford with neither side keen to fight and negotiations began to find peace hastened by the sudden death of Eustace on the 17th August at Bury St Edmunds, and resulting in the Treaty of Winchester where Stephen recognized Henry as heir. Stephen passed away on 25th October 1154 from a stomach disease whilst at Dover and is buried at Faversham Abbey.

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. P.W.P. Carlyon-Britton, second portion, Sotheby, 20-24th November 1916, lot 1465.

Ex Gilbert C. Drabble, Part I, Glendining, 4-6th July 1939, lot 704 part.

Ex Richard Cyril Lockett, English Part IV, Glendining, 26-27th April 1960, lot 3937.

Ex Heritage, New York Signature Auction 3008, 3-4th January 2010, lot 21557.

Ex Marvin Lessen, North York Moors Collection, part 2, 3rd July 2019, lot 419.

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

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