« PreviousContinue »
coins of two princes, Ethelred and Oswald, on which we are presented with a type originally French, but adopted by them, the front or portico of a type, and here we have two other coins of the same type which are evidently blundered imitations of the coins of English Kings.
Front of a temple.
A cross with a pellet in each angle.
BRITISH MUSEUM. PL. VII, FIG. 1 and 2.
This place Quentowic is already notorious for blundered imitations of the coins of Cnut or Canute struck in England at Ebraice and Cunnetti, (for all the coins with the name of this mint found at Cuerdale and elsewhere, were clearly blundered; not one of them presenting anything like a correct legend on their obverse ;) and here we have from the same place two other blundered imitations of coins of Alfred and of Ethelstan for I think there can be no doubt that the obverse legends of these coins are intended for AELFRED REX, and EDELSTAN REX, respectively. It would appear probable, that the Northmen, when they went to France, carried with them English money, and during their occupation of Quentowic, employed ignorant moneyers to strike coins in imitation of them. It is to be observed that in genuine French coins of this type, the legend on the temple face of the coins is always XPISTIANA RELIGIO, or the name of the place of mintage. Only on these blundered coins, and on those undoubtedly English coins above referred to, do we find that type used as an obverse accompanying the name and title of the king. I consider it, then, extremely probable that future discoveries of coins, lost or concealed about the year 880, may make known to us genuine pieces of this type, both of Alfred and of Ethelstan, and for this reason I give these two pieces a place in the accompanying plates of Alfred's coins.
Mr Assheton's beautiful and unique penny of Ceolwulf II of Mercia, figured in Mr Hawkins's account of the Cuerdale coins, leads me to place next in succession the following coin, and then the London coins, between which and the penny of Ceolwulf it is, as it were, a connecting link.
DENI JA XRX + Victory hovering over two emperors
seated, a device copied from the coins of Valentinian and others of the lower empire. LONDONIA
ANDREW MOORE ESQ. M. D. PL. VII, FIG. 3.
I do not myself consider this to be a coin of Alfred. On the contrary I prefer reading the obverse legend ALF DENE XRX +, which is precisely the reading on the obverse of a half-penny found with this at Cuerdale, and assigning it to Halfdene I, whose dominions were properly Northumbria, but who, in common with the other sea-kings, ravaged the whole island. Whether, however, it be considered to be of Alfred or of Alfdene, it answers the same end, of serving as a connecting link between the coin of Ceolwulf and those which follow, of London. Of these, upwards of fifty specimens are now known, the principal varieties of which will be found in Plate III. All have on the obverse the bust of the king, generally turned to the right, but in three instances to the left, and on the reverse the monogram of LONDON.
It is not improbable that this coin may have been minted by the authority of Ethelred, the brother of Alfred, who appointed him to the government of London. The obverse legend is more like his name than that of Alfred: still it is but a blundered specimen.
The last five are half-pennies, all that are known of this class of Alfred's coins, and the earliest specimens that have occurred in the English series of this denomination of money. Nos. 36 and 37 were found at different times amongst gravel dredged from the bed of the Thames, 38 and 39 in the Cuerdale hoard, and 40 was for many years prior to that discovery in Mr Sheppard's collection. The two following, although they do not bear the name of Alfred, or of any other king, are of the same class and date as the foregoing. 41.
Bust to the right, of very different
I know not how to explain the legend on 41; it is probably the name of a moneyer blundered. There is a coin, in the British Museum, similar to 42, but with a beardless bust and a blundered legend EREENER on the obverse: (Ruding, Pl. 15, FIG. 9). These are the earliest coins known from the mint of Lincoln. The date of the London coins I am inclined to fix almost immediately after the rebuilding of that city by Alfred in 881. It had been destroyed by the Danes nine years previously. There is another class of these coins much rarer than the above, which present the moneyer's name on their reverses.
Both the monogram and the moneyer's
name on this piece appear to be blundered.
This type presents the names of the following moneyers:
The monogram on this coin is certainly not of London, though, like the Lincoln monogram, formed on the same model. I cannot discern in it the name of any place of importance in Alfred's time; the most natural way of reading it seeming to be ROISENG, which may possibly indicate a mint at Rishangles in Sussex, anciently Ris-angra. It is a coin of very superior design to any of the London coins. Three specimens of it were found at Cuerdale, and are in the possession, respectively, of Mr Assheton, Dr Smith, and the British Museum. The present drawing was made from the two former, one coin supplying the defects of the other.
PL. IV, FIG. 6.
Before I proceed to the coins which are clearly the next in succession to the above, I must not omit to notice a singular coin which is figured in Hall's plates.
By the combination of the bust on the obverse, of a design similar to that of the London coins, with a reverse type peculiar to the coins of Edward the Elder, and the name of a moneyer which does not occur on any of those of Alfred, I was at one time induced to condemn the original of this engraving as a forgery. The discovery however of many of the originals of the figures in Hall's Plates, previously supposed fictitious, in the Duke of Devonshire's collection, taught me to hesitate in pronouncing decisions of this kind. The re-appearance too on a coin of Edmund from that collection, now in the British Museum, of a type previously supposed peculiar to the coins of Edward the Elder, and as far as we know disused during the reign of Athelstan, (the type of the flower), has shaken my suspicions of the genuineness of the coin now under discussion, which had arisen from the apparent inconsistency in the dates of its obverse and reverse types.
We now come to consider the coins of Alfred, without portraits, which appear of later date than any of those above described, and 19
again we have a connecting link between the two classes in the following curious and unique piece.
48. + EL ER ED RE A small cross; no inner circle. TILEVINE MONETA LONDONIA in monogram.
On the Lincoln coin (42) we had the name of the mint in monogram, and that of the moneyer written at full length. On this, the order is reversed, the name of the mint is written at length, and that of the moneyer in monograms, for I read them HE RE BE the greater part of the name HEREBERT.
A large cross occupying the field of the coin with the letters CNVT attached to its extremities, and those of the word REX intercalated between them.
By the type of its reverse this piece is connected with that numerous class of the Cuerdale coins which I have elsewhere ascribed to one of the sea-kings who invaded England in the days of Alfred ; (not, as Mr Hawkins seems to think, to that Cnut who was so famous in English history more than a century later;) Cnut was a name exceedingly common amongst the Danish princes, and there certainly was one of this name, contemporary with Alfred, a son of Ragnor Lodbrog and a sea-king. It is no fanciful or anagrammatic way of reading which I propose, but one by no means uncommon in Byzantine coins of the same period. It is simply taking the letters in the order in which the cross is formed CNVT. This reading has the unanimous sanction of the most eminent Continental numismatists, and I believe is now generally admitted by our own. In fact, no other has been or can be proposed, which has even the slightest probability to recommend it. This coin is not the least important link in the chain of proof that the lately discovered coins of Siefred or Sievert, and of this Cnut, are English.
+ EL FR ED RE
A small cross.
PL. IV, FIG. 11.