St. Eadmund memorial penny

Pictured here is the second of two coins sent in by Darren Smith. It was struck in Danish East Anglia during the time it was under Viking control.

An army drawn up by King Eadmund of East Anglia was defeated by a Viking army in AD 870. During or after this battle King Eadmund was killed. In 880 Guthrum, the Viking leader, gained control of Eastern Mercia. It looked as if the whole of England might eventually be conquered by the Vikings but the fightback, led by Alfred the Great, would eventually lead to Anglo-Saxon kings ruling over the whole of England.

Less than a generation after his death King Eadmund was honoured as a saint. The coin found by Darren is a silver penny of the St. Eadmund memorial coinage. Within the inner circle on the obverse is a letter A and in the same place on the reverse is a cross pattee.

In volume I of J. J. North’s English Hammered Coinage pennies of this type are listed as number 483 and in the Standard Catalogue they are number 961. They date between circa 890 and 905.

The obverse legend should refer to St. Eadmund and the reverse legend should spell out the moneyer’s name. Some of the pennies of this type are perfectly literate but others have blundered legends on both sides. Darren’s coin is one of the latter.

Valuation

St. Eadmund memorial type pennies are not particularly rare but most that surface as detecting finds are defective in some way. This could be said of many Anglo-Saxon and Viking pennies. However, Darren’s example is an exceptional specimen of the type. It would grade good VF for the issue and in this condition a pre-dale auction estimate shouldn’t be any lower than £500.

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