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GM25842

William Fitzrobert 2nd Earl of Gloucester Penny, Two stars style, Wareham

Regular price £9,750
Regular price Sale price £9,750

Stephen (1135-54),silver Baronial Penny, Angevin Party, William, second Earl of Gloucester (1147-83), Wareham Mint, Moneyer, facing head with curled hair, pierced star either side, legend and beaded borders surrounding, commencing at top, +W----mVS,rev.quadrilateral over cross botonnee within beaded circle, legend and beaded border surrounding, +----E-R-P---E, weight 0.83g (Mack 264-268; N.945; S.1334).Toned, badly chipped with two crack repairs, the design most legible, the legends weak and patchy, fine to very fine for this extremely rare issue.

The legends translate as "William" on obverse and presumably "Roger of Wareham" on the reverse.

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. The Angevin party and Baronial issues carry unusual designs and are of the highest rarity. The coin herewith is thought to be of William the Second Duke of Gloucester (1116-83) and son of Robert. North records such pieces when from Wareham to be of the moneyer Roger as well as others known from Dorchester and possibly Cirencester. Spink recently sold a similar coin to this one found in Dorset and in better wholesome condition in their American sale of 17th January 2021, lot 144 which they theorised was from Sherbourne and fetched $13,000 hammer price plus 20% premium.

Situated 15 miles east of Dorchester in between the Rivers Frome and Piddle, Wareham was once a thriving port and is mentioned in the Burghal Hidage. In 875 it was taken by the Danes and later devastated by William I in 1067. It was the stronghold of Robert of Gloucester and surrendered to Stephen in 1138, but revolted in 1139 when Baldwin de Redvers landed, and later recovered by Stephen in 1142 strategically cutting off communication for the Angevin party with the continent. However Robert returned on the way from Normandy and took the harbour and town and eventually recaptured the castle after three weeks of siege. Minting activity occurs first for Aethelstan and then from Edgard to Stephen with various Baronial issues and for Matilda.

Provenance:

Ex James Stevens-Cox Collection.

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