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Sceatta of Aethelred of Mercia

This coin was found very recently by Anthony Hopkinson. It’s a rare Anglo-Saxon silver sceatta and Anthony said he was delighted when it turned up. It is one of the very few sceattas that can be attributed to an Anglo-Saxon king.

In two lines of runes on the obverse is Aethiliread and this has led to examples of this coin being attributed to Aethelred of Mercia, whose dates are AD 675 to 704. On the reverse is a quilled crescent with wavy lines below. In the Standard Catalogue this sceatta is listed as number 780. 


In March of 2021 an example described as being in EF condition was sold at auction. The pre-sale estimate was £500-800 but the hammer price was £3,500. It was part of a major collection and there was fierce completion between prospective buyers, which goes some way to explain the very high hammer price.

Last month another example was sold at auction. It was described as being in good VF condition and the pre-sale estimate was £700-900. However, the eventual hammer price was only £500.

The two coins listed above were very similar but one sold for £3,000 more than the other. Prospective buyers pushed up the figure on the first one but it seems that there was nothing like the same competition for the second example.

Anthony asked for a valuation on his find. The obverse on his sceatta would grade no higher than VF; the reverse is sharper and would grade good VF. If sold at auction then it could sell for figure in line with the coin that sold for £500. As Anthony’s coin is not in such good condition a likely pre-sale auction estimate would be £380 to £420.

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