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Anglo-Saxon silver sceatta

This coin came in from Roger Paul, who is a regular contributor to my website. Roger’s latest find is an Anglo-Saxon silver sceatta.

Some sceattas are easy to identify, as their designs are different to all the rest. However, others are very similar to each other and are separated by relatively minor differences. Roger’s specimen has a head on one side and a bird on a cross on the other; these characteristics appear on a number of different series.

On the obverse, set within a serpent circle, is a diademed head facing right. Within another serpent circle on the reverse is a bird resting on a cross, which has an annulet at each end of the arms. The legend on both sides looks reasonably literate but has never been translated.

In the Standard Catalogue sceattas of this type are listed as series BI (number 777). There are many minor variations in coins of this series.

As is almost always the case with this series, the coin looks as if it has been clipped. In actual fact, it will be full weight. The imagery on most series fills the flan but to accommodate the whole legend the flans for series BI would have needed to be larger or the dies smaller.


Roger’s sceatta would grade good VF for this issue and in this condition it should be of interest to specialist collectors. If I were cataloguing it for sale at auction I’d set the pre-sale estimate at £180 – £250 and would feel confident that it would attract a buyer.

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