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Sceatta of series BZ type 29b

Anthony Hopkinson sent in the images of this early Anglo-Saxon coin but it was unearthed by Keith Lloyd, who organises outings in the North of England.

On the obverse is what is believed to be a representation of the head of Christ with a halo, which is accompanied by a blundered legend. On the reverse is a bird (facing left) perched upon a cross with an annulet in the top left quarter. After looking on the internet Anthony identified the coin as a silver sceatta of series BZ type 29b. However, he wanted to know why on series BZ type 29b the bird on the reverse can face to the left or to the right.

It is many years since that different series were assigned to Anglo-Saxon sceattas. At first everything would have seemed logical but over the last five decades detecting finds have added significantly to the number of specimens now on record. In the case of series BZ type 29b the question could be asked: what do BZ types 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. look like? The whole sceatta coinage would benefit from a thorough reclassification but as yet no-one has volunteered for what would be a very lengthy and daunting task.  


A good VF specimen of this exact type sold for £800 last year. The coin found by Keith would grade close to VF but it has rough surfaces and is not particularly attractive. It offered for sale at auction then the pre-sale estimate might be £300 to £400. However, this is tentative as I would want to see and handle the coin before I gave a more definite price range.

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