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Anglo-Saxon pale gold shilling

The coin featured here measures only 13mm in diameter but is shown greatly enlarged. It was unearthed by Patrick King, who asked for a valuation.

Patrick’s find is a coin that has come to be known as an Anglo-Saxon pale gold shilling and is listed in the Standard Catalogue as number 764. On the obverse is a helmeted head facing right and the legend reads CRISPUS NOB CAES. The name at the start of the legend, Crispus, is the name of this type of gold coin.

Within the inner circle on the reverse is a cross with an annulet on each arm and at the top and it has a cross pattee at each side. The legend, in reverse and starting at 4 o’clock, reads CESIAN followed by a group of runes.

This is a post-Crondall striking and will date between AD 655 and 675. The type is quite remarkable and whoever cut the dies was obviously influenced by his knowledge of earlier Roman coins.


On the obverse the surface is a bit rough, which might be due to this side being struck by a rusty die. Overall, the obverse would grade about VF. The reverse is in VF condition but has been struck off centre. A significant plus point is that this coin is extremely rare.
In 2021 an example of the Crispus type was sold at auction; it was graded as nearly EF and the hammer price was £11,000. Another specimen was sold at auction during 2022; this was graded as about EF and the hammer price was £15,000. Both coins were well struck and both had really good eye appeal.

Patrick’s coin is not as good as the two examples cited above, so it would be likely to sell for a good deal less. If I was cataloguing it for sale at auction I would set the pre-sale estimate at £4,000 to £6,000 and would expect the hammer price to be within that range.

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