Offa of Mercia, penny

The early Anglo-Saxon penny featured here was found a few weeks since by Trevor Singleton. Trevor wanted a full ID and a valuation.

This find is a penny of Offa of Mercia, who was king from AD 752 to 796. Pennies of this king are not as rare as they used to be, thanks to a regular supply of fresh specimens being unearthed by detectorists. Far more coins are known today than 40-50 years since and the total includes lots of new varieties.

On the obverse, between two beaded lines, is +OFFA with M above and REX below. On the reverse is the moneyer’s name EOBA, with ornamentation above and below.

The standard reference work on pennies of Offa is The Coinage of Offa and His Contemporaries by Derek Chick (edited by Nark Blackburn and Rory Naismith). Trevor’s find was struck at Canterbury during the heavy coinage and Chick lists the type as number 223. When the book by Chick was published (2010) only two examples of type 223 were on record and one of them was in the British Museum collection. More may have been found during the intervening period but the type will still be of considerable rarity.

Valuation

As I’ve already said, far more Offa pennies are known today than in the fairly recent past. However, even though many more are known, relatively few specimens are on record for each of the numerous types and varieties. Therefore, many other pennies of Offa are of equal rarity to Trevor’s find.

Overall this find would grade about VF. Unfortunately, it has some damage to the edge, which reduces the eye appeal and would have an impact on its commercial value. If offered for sale at auction then in its present condition I’d expect the pre-sale estimate to be set at £700 – £1,000.

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