2019 year in review (top 10)

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Nap, Dec 9, 2019.

  1. Nap

    Nap Well-Known Member

    I collect English hammered coins. This year, I branched out into other areas beyond Anglo-Saxon times.

    I had a decent number of new additions this year and it was tough to narrow it down. A few rare coins didn't quite make the cut, such as a penny of Empress Matilda, because condition holds it back. Other nice coins, like a Henry VI groat and Elizabeth I shilling, just aren't rare enough to be amongst the top.

    I went a little nuts this year, and will probably take it easy in the year to come. Without further rambling, I give you my 10 for the year, in chronologic order.

    Secondary phase Anglo-Saxon sceat
    Mint: East Anglia
    Series Q II D
    Type 65
    Abramson 64-110
    O: Quadruped left, forked tail, in field of pellets
    R: Bird left

    My favorite of a small group of sceats or sceattas, this one is of the varied "series Q", thought to be from East Anglia, and depicting a variety of animal creatures

    Penny of Offa, king of Mercia 757-796
    Moneyer: Duda
    Mint: Probably London
    S. 905
    O: + OFFA + REX +
    R: + D V D

    Offa is historically an important figure in the Anglo-Saxon period. King Offa was responsible for the first pennies produced in England, which were modeled on the continental European deniers. He created a very varied series of coins, some of which have his portrait and others without.

    Penny of Ceolwulf I, king of Mercia 821-823
    Moneyer: Werbald
    Mint: East Anglia, possible Ipswich
    S. 927
    N. 388

    Ceolwulf I, brother of Coenwulf, succeeded to the throne of Mercia, Kent, and East Anglia after his brother's death. He did produce coins in London, Canterbury, and East Anglia. Despite multiple mints, but due to the brevity of his reign, coins of Ceolwulf are very rare.

    Penny of Eadwald, king of East Anglia, ca. 798
    Moneyer: Lul
    Mint: Unknown
    S. 947
    R: +L V L

    Nothing is known from the recorded material about this Eadwald, who was king in East Anglia for a short time after the death of Offa of Mercia. Mercia had dominated East Anglia, but a dysnastic struggle after Offa's death seems to have allowed an independent East Anglia to re-emerge. It would not last, and within a few years it was again a Mercian protectorate.

    Penny of Æthelstan I, king of East Anglia, ca. 827-845
    Moneyer: Æthelhelm
    Mint: Unknown (probably Ipswich)
    S. 951

    Much like other early East Anglian kings, Æthelstan is essentially unknown from the historical record, but left a numismatic record. His coins are scarce, but prolific enough that he must have been king for a reasonable length of time. During his reign the Mercian dominance over East Anglia was weak enough that the East Anglian rulers could coin in their own name. This would last until the East Anglian takeover by the Vikings in 869.

    Penny of Eadward "the Martyr", king of England 975-978
    Moneyer: Æthelstan
    Mint: Canterbury
    S. 1142

    The unfortunate Eadward, with the sobriquet "the Martyr", obviously wasn't destined for long life. Just three years into his reign, the hapless Eadward was killed, probably by his step mother Ælfthryth, mother of his half-brother Æthelred II (himself destined to be an infamous figure).

    Groat of Edward I (1272-1307)
    Mint: London

    Edward I introduced the groat denomination, or fourpence. It was not popular and was probably only produced for a short time, making Edward I groats rare. The denomination was revived by Edward III and was produced for centuries afterwards.

    Groat of Edward V, king of England 1483, struck during the reign of Richard II
    Mint: London
    Mintmark: boar's head 1 over sun and rose 1/sun and rose 1
    Ex- M Lessen

    This issue was probably struck under Richard III but before Edward's death in the tower. The coin's obverse depicts the boar's head mint-mark, which replaced the halved sun-and-rose, which was in use probably from the end of Edward IV's reign until Richard. The sun and rose groats in the name of Edward cannot conclusively be attributed to either Edward IV or Edward V. On the other hand, coins with the boar's head are presumably from Richard's time, since the boar's head was Richard's symbol.
    This leads to a confusing coinage of 1483, where major events occurred during a period of 3 months. Edward IV died on April 9. His eldest son Edward was styled Edward V, though never had a coronation. The 12 year-old Edward unfortunately became a political pawn, and his uncle Richard, unsatisfied with his role as Lord Protector, managed to have Edward and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury declared illegitamate and marginalized. Uncle Richard became King Richard III on June 26. Edward and his brother were prisoners in the tower, and it is likely that they were murdered that year, though nobody really knows when they died. Bones purporting to be the two princes were found in the 17th century, but have never been analyzed by modern DNA testing.
    So we are left with a coin in the name of Edward, but depicting Richard III's badge. The Edward could be Edward IV, and there are plenty of situations of coinage continuing in the name of the recently deceased king (coins of Richard I in the name of Henry II, coins of Edward I in the name of Henry III, and Edward VI in the name of Henry VIII). It could also be Edward V, since Richard was trying, at least initially, to appear to be ruling in Edward V's name as Lord Protector. It can possibly be considered that ths coin was struck by Richard in Edward V's name before the demise of the young king, perhaps during Richard's protectorate. Or it could be a posthumous issue as it seems to be contemporaneous with other coins in the name of Richard himself.
    My take is that the Edward written on the coin is most likely to be Edward V, making this one of the very few coins that come from that reign.

    Testoon of Henry VIII (1509-1547)
    Mint: Tower
    Ex- J Cross, EH Wheeler?

    An iconic portrait of the famous king, in his old age with an imposing if not-so-flattering portrait. Testoons were struck in great numbers but did not circulate greatly and were redeemed quickly, so survival is small. The first issue of testoons was in reasonably good silver but became quite debased, and sometimes the surface silver would wear away unevenly on the king's face, leading to one of Henry's nicknames- "Old Coppernose"

    Groat of Mary I (1553-1558)
    First issue (1553-1554)
    Mintmark: Pomegranate
    Ex- R Carlyon-Britton

    Mary, daughter of Henry VIII by his first wife Catherine of Aragon, is a controversial figure in English history because of her religious persecutions against Protestants. She gets the moniker "Bloody Mary" because under her watch several hundred Protestants were burned at the stake. Mary's husband, Philip II of Spain, was also unpopular in England. Mary died childless and her sister Elizabeth undid pretty much all of her political and religious changes.
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  3. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    That Henry VIII is pretty cool! Very rarely do you see older English coins that have portraits that look like the people they are supposed to represent. But that Henry VIII looks just like all the paintings I've seen of him. Color me impressed :)
    Thanks for sharing!
  4. Nap

    Nap Well-Known Member

    The portrait on the Henry VIII testoons are modeled after the famous full length portrait of Henry by Hans Holbein the Younger:
    (For the art aficionados, this is not the original painting by Holbein, but a contemporary copy by one of his students, which is probably even more famous than the original)
  5. furryfrog02

    furryfrog02 Well-Known Member

    I guess that's why it looks like the painting then :p
    Thanks for the info :)
  6. Bing

    Bing Illegitimi non carborundum Supporter

    I do not collect in this era of coinage, but your coins may make me reconsider. Some very nice examples from British historical figures.
    nicholasz219 likes this.
  7. Curtisimo

    Curtisimo the Great(ish)

    Great coins and great year. In terms of favorites I’m like you Henry VIII, Mary I and Æthelstan. Congrats on a great year.
  8. panzerman

    panzerman Well-Known Member

    Some really attractive examples, I also collect British/ English coinage. I esp. like Celtic/ Anglo-Saxon AV coinage:happy: Your East Anglia Sceat looks like it was struck yesterday!
  9. UncleScroge

    UncleScroge Active Member

    And here I thought one of the 2019 Top 10's was gonna be the 2019S Enhanced Reverse Proof American Silver Eagle! Go figure.
  10. Roman Collector

    Roman Collector Supporter! Supporter

    Really nice examples of coins that are usually found in lesser degrees of preservation. Well done!
  11. talerman

    talerman Supporter! Supporter

  12. ycon

    ycon Well-Known Member

    a penny of matilda didn't make the cut?! That's a coin I'd like to see.
    Severus Alexander likes this.
  13. Yorkshire

    Yorkshire Well-Known Member

    I would also like to see the matilda penny, doesn't matter on condition thats a beast to own
  14. Nap

    Nap Well-Known Member

    As you wish-

    Coin has been damaged, cracked and repaired by the Cardiff Museum, having been found in damaged condition in the Coed-y-Wenallt hoard of 1980, a major source of the known coins of Matilda

    Despite its damage, it is easily identified as Matilda, with the obverse legend reading [MAT]ILLIS IMP.

    Coins of Matilda are rare and are typically poorly struck and/or damaged.
  15. FitzNigel

    FitzNigel Medievalist Supporter

    thank god you posted it still.
    Love the list @Nap, even if I’m shocked Matilda didn’t make the cut! A stellar year
    ycon likes this.
  16. Severus Alexander

    Severus Alexander Blame my mother. Supporter

    Gosh, it's impossible to pick a favourite here. I love the Offa, the Eadwald, the Edward V (I agree some must have been produced and this is surely one of them), and the Mary (lovely portrait!). And the Matilda! A stellar year, for sure. I hope your good intentions for next year don't hold. :D
  17. nicholasz219

    nicholasz219 Well-Known Member

    I want all of those coins.
    FitzNigel likes this.
  18. Orielensis

    Orielensis Well-Known Member


    That's simply a fantastic selection of medieval coins. Congratulations on such a terrific collecting year!
  19. Cucumbor

    Cucumbor Dombes collector Supporter

    As a lover of british coinage, and slowly expanding my collection from modern times (easy) going backwards (I just began the exploration of the 18th century), I can just dream and drool at what you got this year : exceptionnal !

    My last, and very modest, acquisition

    George I - farthing, 1719 - S#3662

  20. nicholasz219

    nicholasz219 Well-Known Member

    That’s a really nice farthing. Those things usually got chewed up pretty good.
    Cucumbor likes this.
  21. TIF

    TIF Well that didn't last long :D Supporter

    Thanks for the list, Nap! These are not in my area of knowledge but they are all very intriguing, either for the design or historical connection or both. I'm not happy that you have made me want to branch out :p

    What a fantastic year you had!
    rrdenarius likes this.
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