Mercia was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom and one part of the "heptarchy" of the early medieval period of England. Mercia became the dominant kingdom of England during the 7th century and remained so until the Viking attacks of the 9th century decimated the country and considerably changed the political climate, leading to the rise of Wessex and Alfred "the Great". The early coinage of Mercia was much like the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, small (10-12mm) sceattas featuring abstract designs with Christian, Pagan, and Celtic imagery. Kings and princes were not named on the coinage. In the mid 8th century a powerful king named Offa began coinage in his own name, copying the contemporary deniers of France. Offa was probably the Anglo-Saxon equivalent to the "enlightened despot", such as Charlemagne, and accomplished political, economic, and military goals. He is remembered for "Offa's dyke", an earthwork formation dividing England from Wales, which still partially exists to this day. In numismatics, his main contribution is the coinage reform that led to the first coins that most would recognize as "pennies". The penny coinage would not considerably change in size, weight, or composition for nearly 1000 years. Offa was less successful in establishing a dynasty. Despite having a successor in place, his plans were thwarted on his death and his son was only around for a few months before he died, presumably (though not necessarily) violently. A noble named Coenwulf became king and immediately faced political breakdown from other lands that his predecessor had subdued. He seems to have been an energetic king who dealt with a multitude of political and military problems. As can be expected, this was a violent time and kings were expected to lead armies. Coenwulf continued the coinage started by Offa and introduced a few different types. The coins produced by both of these kings was extensive and varied, though relatively it's rare compared to the 10th century coinage of a united England that was produced in great numbers. The Mercian kings that followed Coenwulf would be have much less variety to their coinage and much less volume, making coins of other monarchs extremely rare. Mercia would fold in the mid 9th century completely after infighting and destruction by Viking raiders. Here are coins of Offa and Coenwulf: Penny of Offa by moneyer Aethelnoth Most likely produced in Canterbury O: M/+OFFA/REX R: +/EDEL/NOD Ex- Archbishop Sharp collection (formed in mid-late 1600s by the Archbishop John Sharp of York and his father, in possession of his descendents until last year) Penny of Coenwulf by moneyer Saeberht Also most likely from Canterbury O: +COENVVLF REX around central circle, Mercian ‘M’ in center R: +SE BE RHT divided by limbs of tribrach Ex- M Vosper Canterbury, which was part of Kent not Mercia, was nevertheless the ecclesiastic capital of southern Anglo-Saxon England, and remains so to this day. Mercia dominated Kent during this period and there was more coinage there than elsewhere in the kingdom.