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Research Coins: Printed Auction

 
Sale: CNG 70, Lot: 1249. Estimate $2000. 
Closing Date: Wednesday, 21 September 2005. 
Sold For $2100. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ANGLO-SAXON, Danish East Anglia ("Danelaw"). Coin weight. Late 9th century. Circular lead weight with inset coin (24.01 g with coin). Coin is an AR Penny of Alfred the Great (871-899): first coinage, lunette type, circa 871-875; Canterbury mint, moneyer Eadulf (SCBC -; cf. BMC 187 [for moneyer on cross-and-lozenge type]; North 625; SCBC 1057). Cf. G. Williams, "Anglo-Saxon and Viking Coin Weights," BNJ 69 (1999), 21. For weight: Good condition, tan and brown patina, small area chipped off edge; for coin: Fine, toned, slight roughness to reverse. Very rare, and an unrecorded moneyer for Alfred's lunette coinage. ($2000)

Williams' analysis of the known weights of this type clearly places them in the Danelaw during the later 9th century, when the Viking economy was still bullion-based, and weights were used for weighing both coinage and bullion. As with many of the known examples, this particular weight, at 24.01 g, is equivalent to a Viking ounce (eyrir) of 24-26.6 g. The purpose of the coins set into one end of these weights is uncertain, but Williams argues that they served as a symbol of authority. Although the Viking economy was still pre-monetary, Williams notes that the Vikings were familiar with coinage and likely recognized that their designs were a symbol of authority. He also suggests that the Vikings were probably familiar with the Anglo-Saxon weights, which were validated by being stamped with official dies, and argues that the lack of coin dies for validating their own weights was remedied by applying a coin within each. Williams points out that the fact that the coins were issued by Anglo-Saxon kings was irrelevant, as the vast majority of the Vikings were illiterate.