The Coenwulf (King of Mercia 796-821) Gold Penny  



                                 Image Courtesy of Spink 


The first Anglo-Saxon gold penny to come to light for almost a century, has been sold at Spink on the 6th October 2004 for a record-breaking price of 230,000 pounds.  Found by an amateur metal detectorist in 2001, beside the River Ivel in Bedfordshire, the gold penny had been expected to fetch 120,000-150,000 pounds.  It was bought in the saleroom by Allan Davisson, an American collector of early British coins from Minnesota. 




This magnificent coin, with its superb workmanship and remarkable state of preservation, is unique in several respects.  It is the only known gold coin in the name of Coenwulf of Mercia and the only known purpose made Anglo-Saxon gold penny of clearly regal design.  In addition, it is also the only known coin with a London mint signature and to refer to the wic of London (Anglo- Saxon trading settlement, outside the old city walls to the west of the old Roman city).


The coin was offered for sale at Spink by agreement with the landowner and represents the most important discovery in British numismatics for many years.   It weighs just 4.33g and is very similar in size to a modern one pence coin.


The obverse of the coin carries a finely detailed bust of Coenwulf surrounded by his title COENVVLF REX M (Coenwulf King of Mercia).  The reverse shows a central floral design surrounded by the legend DE VICO LVNDONIAE [from the wic of London].


Article and images courtesy of Spink