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Penny of Coenwulf

The images of this coin were sent in by Paul Turner but it was a detecting colleague who actually found it. It’s an Anglo-Saxon penny, which was struck for Coenwulf when he was King of Mercia (AD796-821).

On the obverse is a bust facing right. The reverse has in the centre a pellet ring and four similar rings divide up the legend into four sections. The moneyer named on the reverse is Wodel. The type is described and illustrated in J. J. Norh’s English Hammered Coinage as number 369.

Mercia covered a large area and this Coenwulf penny was struck in East Anglia. In the Standard Catalogue it falls under number 920, which includes a range of different types.   


A penny of the same type, graded as about EF with one or two scuffs, was sold at auction during 2018 for £3,800. The specimen pictured here would grade only good Fine and it has an edge defect at 9 o’clock on the obverse and a short crack in the edge. As it stands, it would be likely to have a pre-sale auction estimate no higher than £1,200.

The overall appearance of this coin could be improved by expert cleaning. If done with great care then this could improve the eye appeal. However, I would emphasise ‘expert’ and ‘great care’, for I have seen many coins in the past that looked worse after cleaning than they did in their as found condition.

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