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Ecgberht of Wessex Penny

This is another coin from the collection built up over many years by Roger Paul. It’s an Anglo-Saxon penny and instead of being the more usual Aethelred II, Cnut or Edward the Confessor, it is a rare coin of Ecgberht of Wessex.

On the obverse the right-facing bust of Ecgberht breaks the inner circle and the legend on this side reads ECGBERHT REX. Within the inner circle on the reverse is a monogram of DORIB C. The surrounding legend reads +SPEFHEARD MO (the P representing a letter W). Therefore, the moneyer is Swefheard and other characteristics point towards this penny being a coin of Group III struck at Canterbury. In the Standard Catalogue the type is listed as number 1035. In volume I of North’s English Hammered Coinage it is number 573.


Recent auction sale prices for the same type of Ecgberht penny include £2,800 for a specimen described as VF with a light surface crack; and £3,800 for one described as good VF with two small striking cracks. Prices achieved quite recently do not necessarily mean that they will continue to be strong; having said that, there is no indication of any weakness in the market for rare Anglo-Saxon pennies.

The coin looks as if it would grade VF and no defects show up. If today I was cataloguing this coin for sale at auction then I would set upon it a pre-sale estimate of £2,800-3,500. Nothing is guaranteed at auction sales. However, I’d expect it to achieve at the very least the lowest figure and wouldn’t be surprised if it hit the highest estimate.

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