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Spink sell “unique” Eadgar halfpenny

In their auction of 3 April 2023, Spink sold this Eadgar round halfpenny for £6,500. It was found by an anonymous detectorist on 9 October2022 at Preston Candover, Hampshire and recorded at the EMC as 2022.0360. Its find solved a 180 year-old mystery. In the words of Spinks’ head coin dealer, Gregory Edmund it is “one of the single best Anglo-Saxon coin finds ever recorded, and I heartily congratulate the lucky individual who has helped to rewrite our history books. This terrific auction result is a testament to their individual and tireless passion for recovering and preserving our past“.

Edgar became king of the whole of England at the age of 15 on 1 October 959. Curiously, it wasn’t until 11 May 973 that he is coronated in Bath. This is remarkable not only because of the delay (some believe it may be his second coronation) but also because it is the earliest recorded coronation of an English King or Queen. This coin was likely struck soon after the 15-year-old king ascended the throne.

10th Century round halfpennies are extremely rare and this Eadgar coin is now unique. I say “now” because a similar coin was uncovered in the debris of St Bartholomew’s Church, following the 1839 fire of Threadneedle Street in London. It was exhibited by a Charles Roach Smith at a meeting of the Numismatic Society of London on 23 December 1841. However, it was accidently destroyed which cast doubt on its authenticity.

This recent detecting find provides proof of this issue being struck under Eadgar. As Gregory Edmund said “It is fair to say that just one more turn of an industrial farmer’s plough may have robbed us of this incredibly important addition to our understanding of 10th century England, right from the very seat of Royal and political power.

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