Anglo-Saxon, Primary Phase. c. 675-715 AD

Anglo-Saxon, Primary Phase. c. 675-715 AD

875.00

AR Sceatt or Penny, 1.14g (13mm, 12h). Series BX. Type 27. Diademed bust r., quasi-letters surrounding / Bird (or dove?) r. above cross on steps, annulets and pellets in field

Pedigree: From the Douglas Bayern Collection

References: Spink 776. BMC 26. Metcalf 97-9. North 124, pl. 1, 55. Abramson, Studies in Early Medieval Coinage, Series B 7. Naismith, MEC 8, 44

Grade: Some minor porosity, otherwise VF+  (wc1032)

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These fascinating early coins from England constitute the earliest indigenous currency found on the British Isles. The departure of the Romans sometime around 414 AD forced the inhabitants to create their own coinage. Sceattas are generally thought to be modeled after coinages found in the surrounding areas and of course based on the earlier coinage from the western Roman Empire. Most scholars believe that the Sceat was merely a misinterpretation of the word for “weight”. Whatever the case, these coins provide a interesting look into a time between the departure of the Romans and the introduction of the Saxons. While archaeological finds and further research has provided more information on where types may have been created, there is little known under whom they were created (most believe that these coins were not royal but struck by independent princes). Most collectors take delight in their fantastical imagery and delightful designs. The coinage was undoubtedly influenced by the eastern Romans (e.g. Byzantine). The primary phase are among the earliest of all Anglo-Saxon coinage and were likely minted in south-eastern or eastern England.

For those interested in the iconography of early Anglo-Saxon coinage, a book by Anna Gannon from 2003 can shed more light on what the symbolism may have meant. She suggests that the bird on a cross that is found on the reverse of this coin is Christian in nature and may have been a reference to the Holy Spirit. For more, see p. 108 of her book.