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Watford type penny of Stephen

The images of this coin came in from a friend of the finder, who wished to remain anonymous. I was asked to provide a full ID and a valuation.

The coin is a Watford type penny of Stephen. This type isn’t particularly rare but examples that turn up as detecting finds are usually in rather bad condition. This specimen is above average and would grade about VF for the issue. On the reverse the legend reads +WILEALME ON CARD so Willem is the moneyer and Carlisle the mint.

In December of 1135 Henry I died and Stephen of Blois (Henry’s nephew) shot over from France and was accepted as the next King of England by most of the nobles. When news of this reached David I of Scotland he immediately raised an army and invaded the north of England. The Scots son captured Carlisle and the very first Scottish coins were struck there early in 1136. The first type copied class XV of Henry I but they were swiftly followed by copies of Stephen’s Watford type.

During the troubled period that followed Stephen’s usurpation of the English throne four different moneyers were responsible for issuing coins from the Carlisle mint: Durant, Erebald, Hudard and Willem. Hudard and Erebald are the least rare and Durant and Willem the rarest.

Valuation

In 2019 a specimen bearing the name of Willem and graded as VF (it was flat in one quarter) was sold at auction and the hammer price was £3,400. It was offered for sale later by a dealer and the asking price was £5,250. A likely pre-sale auction estimate on the coin featured here would be £2,800 to £3,500.

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