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Continental Sterling of Hugh de Chalon

At first sight this coin could be mistaken for a penny of Edward I. It was unearthed several years since by Mark Kirby and I was asked to provide a full identification and a valuation. The coin is a Continental sterling of the crockard type. This type gained its name because the head on the obverse has a crocket of roses in the hair. Another name is the rosarii type.

On the obverse the legend reads +MONETA LESTAT. The reverse copies the design found on English pennies of the same period but the legend reads HVG ONI SEP ISC. This sterling was struck for Hugh de Chalon, who was Prince Bishop of Liege from 1296 to 1301. In 1301 the Pope removed him from Liege and made him Archbishop of Besancon.

The coinage of England had always been strong in comparison to that of many other European countries. In the later 13th century this led imitations been made in Flanders and adjoining counties. The first imitations were of the crockard and pollard types (the latter named after the hair style) but late in 1299 a proclamation allowed them to circulate as halfpence up to Easter of 1300 and then their circulation was banned. Whilst this stopped the importation of crockards and pollards, several European issuing authorities then started to copy more closely the design of English pennies.

A large number of types and varieties of European sterlings circulated in England and examples are found fairly regularly by detectorists. This is a fascinating series to collect, as the range is so wide. Whilst all are scarcer than official English pennies, examples of the commoner types can be bought for relatively low prices. However, some are of great rarity and the highest price I can remember seeing was about 4,500 euros for a particularly fine and rare example.


The obverse of Mark’s find is about VF; the reverse is partly about VF and partly very weak. The edge is badly chipped at the top of the obverse and it looks as if it has lost two pieces. It’s a very rare type so even with the damaged edge an auction estimate wouldn’t be any lower than £80 – £100.

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