Scandinavia (?) English Imitation, 11th c. AR Penny, 17.53 mm x 1.7 grams Obv.: Bust right, scepter right, imitating Æthelred II ‘Crux’ type Rev.: Short cross pattée, imitating Æthelred II Short Cross type This particular coin is somewhat enigmatic, which actually adds to the appeal to me. Unfortunately it’s find spot is now a mystery, but it is not unreasonable to assume this is a Scandinavian issue, as so many early Scandinavian coins imitated English types. Exactly which English type this imitates is also strange. The Obverse appears to be from the ‘CRVX’ type of Æthelred II: Æthelred II Crux type. CNG Auction 105, lot 1197. NOT MY COIN Obviously the clear difference here is that the bust is facing the wrong direction. Considering the crudeness of the portrait, I think it would be reasonable to assume this was a first time die engraver attempting to copy a penny, and he neglected to consider that the image would come out in reverse. Unfortunately the lettering is a complete blunder, and gives no help. Of what is not damaged, there seems to be ND:HDX (second ‘D’ retrograde), which is tempting to read a portion of as ‘REX’ with the clear ‘X,’ but that is wishful thinking. However, the reverse looks nothing like the crux penny, but like one of Æthelred’s short cross pennies Æthelred II Small Cross type. CNG Auction 99, lot 1221. NOT MY COIN Even then, it’s hard to say that this is an actual copy due to the blundered legends. As best I can make out (starting at 11): SIIE(retrograde)IOIIV. The rest is obscured by the damage to the coin. At least there is a nice peck mark as well, which would indicate use by the Vikings (which I discussed in this other thread). That the obverse is an imitation of a crux penny seems pretty obvious due to the trefoil scepter. Was our engraver/counterfeiter then using the reverse of a small cross penny as his guide to the reverse, or did he simply get lazy and put a cross on it? I have no clue, but it did get me wondering what other issues had similar copies of the obverse type. Looking around, there is a surprising candidate that might have been the original this coin copies. Swein Forkbeard, Danish Issue. CNG Triton XX, lot 1174. NOT MY COIN Swein Forkbeard, the Danish conquerer of England in 1016 (whose son Cnut would be crowned king) issue a short-lived mule of the Æthelred crux type with the small cross type using dies which had been plundered from England. So could my coin be an imitation of this Danish mule itself, rather than the two separate English coins? I have no idea, and I doubt we ever would. At the very least, it is a testament to the Scandinavian attempts to experiment with producing coins, or an individual’s attempts at counterfeiting (which itself shows the coin had value beyond the metal it contains). Feel free to pile on with any Anglo-Saxon or Scandinavian coins you like!