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Brooch of Edward the Confessor penny

Pictured here is an Anglo-Saxon penny that has been converted into a brooch. The finder, Steve Simmons, said his heart skipped a beat when he first looked at it, for he thought the coin was made of gold. However, his heart sank when he realised it was gilded silver. He wondered how much the coin would be devalued by its conversion into a brooch.

The coin is an expanding cross type penny of Edward the Confessor. It’s in decent condition but would be worth much less as a brooch than it would have done as a straightforward coin.

On the reverse of this penny the legend reads +GODESBRAND ON SCRE, so Godesbrand is the moneyer and the mint signature has been attributed to Shrewsbury. This mint and moneyer combination would count as being very rare but what makes it rarer still is the reverse variety. Instead of just having within the inner circle an expanding cross, this penny has a cross pattee in each angle.

A specimen of exactly the same coin was sold at auction during 2018. It was described as the second known example of the type, mint and moneyer combination with a cross pattee in each angle of the reverse. Therefore, the Edward the Confessor penny that has been converted into a brooch is an excessively rare variety of the expanding cross type.

The brooch has the fastening pin still attached to it. The element that would have secured the end of the pin is missing; all that remains are two silver rivets where is would have been. I’ve seen several Anglo-Saxon pennies that have been converted into brooches but this one is more complete than all the others.


Steve has reported his find under the Treasure Act and it remains to be seen whether or not a museum will want to add it to its collections. It’s a very nice find but, as I said, as a brooch it would be worth much less in cash terms than a penny that had not been turned into a brooch.

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