This interesting coin was found only recently by Len Crank, who believed it could be a Continental sterling. One of his detecting colleagues gave Len my name, as he knew I would be interested in this find.
At first sight this coin looks very much like a penny of Edward I-II. It is so similar that it will have circulated alongside Edwardian coins of the early 13th century. However, anyone taking a closer look at this coin would realise that rather than being English it is a foreigner.
The imagery within the inner circle on both sides copies the design of English pennies of Edward I-II. The legends, though, are different. On the obverse the legend reads +COMES .GL RECLS and on the reverse it is CIVI TAS ARN ETN. Therefore, this sterling was struck at the mint situated in Arnhem for Renaud I when he was Lord of Gueldre (1272 to 1326).
The earliest Continental sterlings of Edwardian type were pollards (named after the hair style) and crockards (with roses in the hair). After the circulation of pollards and crockards was banned in England the European issuing authorities copied more closely the design of English pennies. Len’s coin, then, is one of the later sterlings that were imported into England.
Continental sterlings make up a wide ranging and fascinating series of coins. They were struck in many places by order of emperors, kings and lords. Though struck to circulate in Europe, many sterlings ended up in England through trade and export. The export of these things could produce a profit, for English pennies were of the sterling but Continental sterings were not.
Over the years I’ve seen lots of different sterings as detecting finds but never before a specimen like Len’s find. It’s a very rare type and as if that isn’t enough it is also in VF condition. Many of the other types I have seen have been defective in one way or another but this one is really outstanding. What would it be worth? Well, I traced only one other example being offered for sale; that was in an auction in 2016. The coin wasn’t as good as Len’s specimen and it achieved a hammer price of £260. It properly catalogued by a good auctioneer, I’d expect this coin to sell for at least £400.