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Continental sterling of Cambrai

The hammered silver coin illustrated here was sent in by Roger Paul. At first sight it looks to be an English penny but after a second look it is obviously a Continental sterling.

On the obverse the head has a chaplet of roses in the hair, so this sterling is an example of the crockard type. Because of the roses they are sometimes catalogued as the rosarii type.

The legend on the obverse reads +MONETA CAPITVLI, with a rosette after the first word. The reverse is of the English type but the legend reads CAM ERA CEN SIS, which is the mint signature for Cambrai (situated in the Low Countries). Additionally, there is a spread eagle in one quarter.

Sterlings similar to this one were struck for the Bishops of Cambrai. William of Hainaut was bishop until 1296 but died in that year and the see was vacant for a spell until Guy de Collemede was appointed as bishop. The coin found by Roger was struck during the Sede Vacante period, which lasted from the death of William until Guy became Bishop of Cambrai. Therefore, it can be dated to 1296 and it is a good deal rarer than other sterlings struck at Cambrai.   


The coin is slightly weak in places but would grade about VF for the issue. I could not trace a similar coin being offered for sale over recent years, which is an indication of its rarity. If I was cataloguing it for sale at auction I’d set the pre-sale estimate at £250 to £300. With a few enthusiasts in the saleroom the final hammer price could break through my upper estimate. 

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