Penny of Offa

The detectorist who unearthed this coin, Tony Quin, asked if I could provide him with a valuation. Tony’s find is a penny of Offa, who was King of Mercia from AD 757 to 796. It’s an example of the light coinage and it was struck at Canterbury.

On the obverse of this penny is a long cross botonnee with a lobe in each angle and the legend on this side reads +O FF AR EX. Within the inner circle on the reverse is a cross botonnee over a saltire. The moneyer’s name, HE A BE RT, is divided into four sections by stylised rosettes.

In The Coinage of Offa and His Contemporaries (by Derek Chick, edited by Mark Blackburn and Rory Naismith) pennies of this type are listed as type number 124. When Chick’s reference work was published (2010) only a single specimen of type 124 was known. Additionally, Tony’s find is type 124 but the legend on the reverse is set out in a different way to the specimen illustrated by Chick.

All pennies of Offa used to be very rare indeed but over the last few decades detecting finds have greatly increased the number of specimens on record. Tony’s find would grade VF and the overall state of preservation is better than the single specimen known back in 2010.

Valuation

After doing some research I traced another specimen, this one sold at auction by Dix Noonan Webb (now Noonans) late in 2020. The DNW coin had two small edge splits but was otherwise in VF condition and the hammer price was £1,200. Demand is still quite strong for early Anglo-Saxon pennies, so I would price Tony’s specimen at £1,400.

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