Edward the Confessor, penny

Colin Barton said this is a very recent detecting find. It’s an example of the type of find that would bring a glow to the heart of any detectorist: an Anglo-Saxon penny.

It is a penny of Edward the Confessor, who was the penultimate Anglo-Saxon King of England. It’s an example of the expanding cross type; there were two types, light and heavy and the Standard Catalogue numbers are 1176 and 1177.

When identifying the moneyer and the mint on Anglo-Saxon pennies the first thing to look for is a cross at the start of the legend. Following on will be the moneyer’s name, then ON (the copulative, meaning ‘of this place’) and finally the mint signature.

The legend on the reverse of Anglo-Saxon pennies is usually fairly easy to translate. However, at first sight Colin’s coin seems rather strange, for it appears to have two crosses. The moneyer is ESTMVND (the letter S is on its side) and this is followed by ON. After ON is what appears to be another cross followed by a crescent and EO. At this point a bit of lateral thinking is required. Rather than being a cross followed by a crescent, ON is actually followed by ÐEO, which is the mint signature for Thetford in East Anglia. When Ð appears in the legend on Anglo-Saxon pennies it stands for TH.

Some coins come out of the soil as good as when they went in. Sadly, the passing of time has not been kind to this penny. I can’t see much circulation wear but the flan is uneven and cracks show up on the obverse. The cracks are open and daylight shows through.


We know the reign, type, mint and moneyer of Colin’s find. However, the main factor in relation to the value of any coin is its state of preservation. After taking into consideration its overall condition, if I was cataloguing this coin for sale at auction I would place upon it a pre-sale estimate no higher than £70 – £90.

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