The fourth and final sale of Allan Williams’ remarkable collection of Anglo-Saxon and Norman coins will take place Jan. 29 at Spink’s London rooms in Bloomsbury.
To be offered will be a further 180 coins. These include issues of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Kent, Mercia, East-Anglia, and Wessex, plus a good run of pennies of the Anglo-Saxon kings of all England. Some 100 early Norman coins follow that include an excellent selection of coins of the Anarchy, among which are rare pennies of both Empress Matilda and her son Henry of Anjou – the future Henry II.
For those who have ever felt the need to include an historic English silver penny in their collection, many of the lots are quite modestly priced with estimates of well under £500. But there are also choice rarities that could well plug gaps in any collection of historic English coins.
Among early Norman pieces, one lot stands out: an extremely rare round halfpenny of Henry I (1100-35) struck at Sandwich (S-1277). It is the only known example of this provenance, its desirability enhanced by its aEF grading. Both factors suggest the £3,000-£4,000 estimate may well prove insufficient.
While the Mercian issues provide a good selection from Offa, those of Coenwulf are more likely to attract serious collectors. Typical is a 1.35 g penny c. 796-797 and struck in London (S-912A). It lacks a portrait of the monarch and shows a simple three-line type design. Oddly, the moneyer’s name, Winoth, reads clockwise on the reverse rather than retrograde. In gVF, it carries an estimate of £2,000-£2,500.
Two pieces suffice to illustrate the issues of the Anarchy. First up is a very rare, if somewhat worn, penny of Empress Matilda. The 0.78 g coin shows a crowned and draped bust of the would-be queen of England (cf. S-1326 for type). Graded aF, the estimate is £2,000-£2,500.
An even rarer penny (S-1327) depicts Matilda’s son Henry of Anjou (see Marshall Faintich “A Few Unusual Coins of the Anarchy,” Spink Numismatic Circular, Oct. 2005, p. 306, fig. 5 this coin). In aVF, the estimate is £1,500-£2,000.
For those who may perhaps feel a little blasé about the English, how about a 1.30 g penny of Sihtric Analfsson, the Danish king of Dublin. The attractive EF coin is struck in imitation of an Aethelred II long cross type (S-6103). It carries an estimate of £1,500-£2,000.
Full catalog details are available from the firm by visiting the website at www.spink.com.
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