The Tony Abramson Collection of Dark Age Coinage – Part I

Tony Abramson collection of Dark Age Coins - Part 1

Part I of the Tony Abramson collection of Dark Age coinage was sold at auction by Spink on Thursday, 18 March 2021. Its scope and content are second to none and provided collectors with an opportunity to acquire some truly fabulous coins. The auction achieved some very strong prices with several lots being significantly above their estimates.

A good number of these lots were detecting finds in the last twenty years.

The auction catalogue is available from Spink here.

Tony Abramson

Tony in 2007 © Spink

Tony Abramson is a Leeds boy, like myself, and is a well known figure in numismatic circles. He began collecting coins at the age of 4. He has written several books on coins, which are available from Spink Bookshop, including Sceatta List and The Yorkshire Numismatist.

The Collection

I first saw some of the Abramson coins about fifteen years since but over the intervening years the collection has come on in leaps and bounds. The greater part of the content is made up of fairly recent finds. This, perhaps, is to be expected, for in the not too far distant past most of the coins simply were not available.

Amongst those that today are fairly common are coins that used to be very scarce. Many others were completely unknown. This applies in particular to sceattas, which today is a very broad and complex series. Indeed, it is almost unrecognisable in comparison to only a few decades since

Sceattas in Hoards

Large hoards can sometimes greatly increase the amount of material available to collectors. Hoards containing sceattas are few and far between and the content small. The greatly increased number known today has benefitted little through hoards but greatly from a steady stream of detecting finds. Some of these have come from ‘productive sites’ but most from singleton finds in many parts of England. 

What I have said before is worth repeating again “never in the course of human endeavours has one hobby (numismatics) owed such a debt of gratitude to another hobby (metal detecting)”.

Highlighted Lot

Lot 18, Eabald, Gold Shilling

Lot 18 Eabald, Gold Shilling

This Thrymsa (or Shilling) is one of 8 that are known and is considered of the utmost historical importance to British numismatics. It was found by a detectorist on 1 May 2017 in Billericay, Essex.

Estimate

Estimate: £25,000 – £30,000

Hammer: £34,000

Selected lots

Below are my picks from the other lots. Several of these are detecting finds. In addition to the hammer price, there is a Buyer’s Premium of 20% (plus VAT).

All images are © Spink. Click an image to enlarge

Lot 20, Anonymous Gold Shilling

A detecting find from November 2009 in Warfield, Berkshire

 

Estimate: £1,500 – £2,500

Hammer: £2,600

Lot 23, Gold Shilling, Post-Crondall Type

 

The coin is in the style of a 4th Century Solidus. It was found in Diss, Suffolk in 2009.

 

Estimate: £4,000 – £6,000

Hammer: £19,000

Lot 27, Gold Shilling, Transitional Coinage

 

 

Estimate: £1,200 – £1,500

Hammer: £1,900

Lot 49, Sceatta, Primary Series

Found near Ipswich, Suffolk

 

Estimate: £400 – £600

Hammer: £750

Lot 66, Sceatta, Series E

Found near Canterbury, Kent in January 2019

 

Estimate: £2,000 – £2,500

Hammer: £3,500

Lot 115, Sceatta, Secondary Series

Found at Warminster, Wiltshire in January 2013

 

Estimate: £300 – £400

Hammer: £1,000

Lot 143, Sceatta, Series T

Found at Oxborough, Norfolk in November 2007.

 

Estimate: £1,500 – £2,000

Hammer: £3,200

Lot 160, Sceatta, Secondary Series

Found near Shoreham, West Sussex in 2000.

 

Estimate: £300 – £400

Hammer: £3,800

Lot 181, Sceatta , Series K

Found at Watton, Norfolk in 2016

 

Estimate: £600 – £800

Hammer: £1,600

Lot 204, Sceatta, Series U

 

 

Estimate: £1,200 – £1,500

Hammer: £2,700

Lot 249, Sceatta, Series QIB

 

Found near Cranwich, Norfolk in 2004

 

Estimate: £700 – £900

Hammer: £1,500

Lot 268, Sceatta, Series QII

 

 

Estimate: £600 – £800

Hammer: £2,200

Lot 308, Sceatta, Series Y

 

 

Estimate: £700 – £900

Hammer: £2,700

Lot 315, Aethelred, Sceatta

 

Found at Bridlington, Yorkshire in December 2006

 

Estimate: £2,500 – £3,500.

Hammer: £17,000

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