On 14 November 2023, Noonans held an auction of “COINS AND HISTORICAL MEDALS”. It included several recent detecting finds, including two rare pennies of Harold II, which were found in the last couple of years. One sold for twice the estimate whilst our featured lot failed to sell. The top seller of the recent detecting finds was Lot 220, a Half sovereign of Henry VIII.
To view any of my selected lots in the auction catalogue click on the lot number. The full catalogue can be found here.
There is a buyer’s premium of 24% (plus VAT) on the hammer price.
This penny of Harold was found on 9 September 2023 near Attleborough, Norfolk and recorded at the EMC 2023.0366 as The legend on the reverse reads MANNA ON NOR, giving the moneyer as Man and the mint as Norwich.
The auctioneers provide some background as to how this coin has a more “fluid style” portrait than others of Harold’s coinage. In 1066, Harold enacted a mass recoinage where most of the currency was withdrawn and re-struck. Although, provincial mints were used, most of the dies, particularly in the south of England, were produced at a single centre, probably London. This provided consistency and control. Any illicit behaviour in minting coins was dealt with severely.
Therefore, Man the moneyer must have had a good reason to use a local “unofficial” die. One idea comes from the observation that these irregular coins only appear in hoards buried after the Norman conquest leading to the suggestion of that they “represent a posthumous issue in the name of Harold“.