Baronial penny of Stephen

This penny was found near Bossall, North Yorkshire in January 2023 and recorded at the EMC as 2023.0038. The EMC record says it is “A new variant of David I’s Cross and Pellets in Crescents type, in the name of Stephen“. The auctioneer describes it as “A New Baronial Penny from the mint of ‘Alve” and presumed unique.

The visible part of the obverse legend reads “SEFE” for Stephen. The reverse reads [-]D O[-] O ALVE. This is an unknown moneyer/mint.

Auctioneer’s appraisal

The auctioneer provides a detailed appraisal of the coin. He notes that both legends make use of ornamental lettering. The distinct style differs from the style used on coins minted in London and is more usually associated with Baronial coinage. He acknowledges that the reverse type could be likened to the “Pellets in Annulets” coinage of David I of Scotland but says that coin is superior and stylistically different.

The weight of the coin of 1.05g is at the standard of the south-western Baronial issues including those struck for Matilda and Robert of Gloucester. Could the “ALVE” on the legend be for Alveston in Gloucester? The problem with this line of thought is Stephen’s name on the obverse and the find location of North Yorkshire.

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