Anglo-Saxon, Continental Sceattas. c. 695-715/20 AD

Anglo-Saxon, Continental Sceattas. c. 695-715/20 AD


AR Sceatt, 1.11g (12mm), Series E, Primary (‘Ashton Rowant’) phase, plumed bird var. J (Type 6). Mint in southern Frisia. “Plumed bird” right; cross below beak and below feet / ‘Standard’ with pellet-in-annulet at center, bars and pellets around; crosses and pellets in margin.

Pedigree: From the Dr. JDR Collection. Ex Spink Numismatic Circular XCVI.6 (July/August 1988), no. 4624

References: M&OdV unlisted; Abramson 87.30; Metcalf 193; SCBI 63 (BM), 305; North 49, pl. 1, 22; SCBC 791

Grade: Lovely toned surfaces. Interesting design and sharp strike. EF  (wc1024)

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These fascinating early coins from England constitute the earliest coinage found on the British Isles. The departure of the Romans sometime around 414 AD forced the inhabitants to create their own coinage. Sceatts 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 Sceatt was merely a misinterpretation of the word for “weight”. Whatever the case, these coins provide a delightful 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 independant princes). Most collectors take delight in their fantastical imagery and delightful designs. The influences of the late Romans (e.g. Byzantine), Celts can easily be noticed. The Continental Sceattas, of which this type belongs, are thought to be from the various areas outside of the geographical area of modern day Britain. This coin is from southern Frisia, or the coast coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea in what today is mostly a large part of the Netherlands, including modern Friesland, and smaller parts of northern Germany.