This coin was unearthed by Colin Stevens. He wanted a second opinion on it and a colleague suggested that he should get in contact with me. At first sight it is an Anglo-Saxon sceatta but a closer look raises doubts. The obverse, with bosses surrounding a head, is series H, type 49 (number 801A in the Standard Catalogue). The reverse, with a square standard with markings inside, can be seen on several different series. A number of varieties of series H are known but none of them have a standard on the reverse. Not all the obverse dies used for series H are of the best quality but the die used on this find is particularly crude.
It is in fact one of the copies made by Trevor Ashmore. Photographs of most of the copies made by Ashmore were published by the late Patrick Finn in the April 2000 edition of Spink’s Numismatic Circular; the series H copy is number 9 but with the correct reverse. At some point in time Ashmore must have combined this series H obverse with a die bearing a standard. This certainly isn’t the first time that a detectorist has dug up an Ashmore copy. Quite how they get into arable and pasture fields is anyone’s guess, Most Ashmore copies aren’t particularly good but a few have been convincing enough to fool experienced numismatists. So, take care when buying, especially at car boot fairs, for what looks like a bargain at ten or twenty pounds might only be worth its weight in scrap metal.
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