Northumbria Styca Lettering

Discussion in 'Ancient Coins' started by Smitty413, Jun 16, 2024.

  1. Smitty413

    Smitty413 New Member

    Good afternoon,

    My wife gave me an early Father's Day gift of an Aethelred II (Northumbria) copper styca. I'm not much of a coin collector, but I am a history teacher and enthusiast of that era of English history. As I was looking at other coins from the same set (Sp# 865) online, and noticed that the lettering of my coin was completely a mirror image. See below:



    When I "flipped" these images on my phone, I can see where it reads "EDILRED REX" on one side, and "EΛRDVVLF" on the other. All the similar coins that I find online are not like this. My wife and I are both curious: is this common, rare, or some sort of forgery? It was bought online from Silbury Coins, which from what I can find is a reputable source.

    Any help or guidance given from you more learned folks on here would be greatly appreciated!
    sand likes this.
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  3. Victor_Clark

    Victor_Clark all my best friends are dead Romans Dealer

    Hello and welcome.

    You can go to Silbury and check what they said about the coin and see any references they used. If your wife did not register an account, you can still look through their sold items to find your coin.
    sand likes this.
  4. Kentucky

    Kentucky Supporter! Supporter

    Interesting, I would love to have some coins like this, but everything seems pretty costly. Hope yours is good. Welcome to CT
  5. mikebell

    mikebell Well-Known Member

    Retrograde legends are common for these, only the more skilled engravers could manage to engrave retrograde on the die. Books illustrate the coins with normal legends to ease identification of course. Blundered coins (and they come far worse) are a little cheaper than the normal strikes. Nothing looks off with yours BTW.
    philologus_1 and sand like this.
  6. robp

    robp Well-Known Member

    As has been said, it is quite common to see retrograde legends in this series with individual letters also inverted on occasion.

    The whole series is quite complex. The late Elizabeth Pirie wrote a useful volume on these issues - Coins of the Kingdom of Northumbria c.700-867. It isn't complete insofar as it does not include all known die pairings, nor indeed all known dies, as others have come to light since it was written, but it is nearly complete for most practical purposes with over 2300 discrete die pairs illustrated.

    Your coin is Pirie 2165
    Kentucky, philologus_1 and sand like this.
  7. Smitty413

    Smitty413 New Member

    Thank you all so much for the feedback. It sounds like the coin is legitimate, just from a still mysterious time period...all the more reason why I find that time period fascinating!

    Again, thank you for pointing us in the correct direction!
    Kentucky likes this.
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