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Aldfrith Sceatta

A few coins are just as rare today as they were 50 years since. However, most of them are not as rare purely because of the work put in by detectorists. This has pleased many collectors, for they can now afford to buy coins that used to be beyond their means.

This coin was found by Glenn Lister and used to be a great rarity. On the obverse there is a boss surrounded by pellets in the centre and the legend reads +ALDFRIDVS; the lettering is crude but readable. On the reverse is a creature with four legs. This adds up to the coin being a silver sceatta of Aldfrith of Northumbria, whose dates are 685 to 705.


I remember an Aldfrith sceatta being sold at auction around 50 years since. It was catalogued as being one of only three or four known specimens. I can’t remember the hammer price but back then a VF specimen could sell for around £2,000. The situation today is very different. Dozens of specimens are now on record and detecting finds continue to add to the total.

The obverse on Glenn’s sceatta looks to be in near VF condition; the reverse isn’t as sharp and the creature looks to be slightly blurred. A couple of specimens were sold at auction last year: one described as good Fine or better realised £480 and the other, said to be VF, sold for £1,000. The condition of Glenn’s finds looks to be closest to the first coin. Therefore, if it was offered for sale at auction I’d expect the pre-sale estimate to be in the region of £500.

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