The earliest Anglo-Saxon gold Shillings

The Gold Coinage c. 600–70
Britain was unusual among the former provinces of the Western Roman Empire in not maintaining a substantial coinage after the end of central imperial rule in the early fifth century. A small trickle of coins issued by the Franks, Visigoths and the Eastern Roman Empire still made their way to Britain across the fifth and sixth centuries. That trickle became a stronger flow late in the sixth century, and from some point in the early seventh century the Anglo-Saxons started to issue their own gold pieces, modelled in format on those of the Merovingian Franks. These coins, usually referred to as shillings (from the Old English scilling, scillingas), circulated in eastern and southern England for about fifty or sixty years, and gradually declined in fineness over time. The last specimens contain hardly any gold and are effectively silver.”
Rory Naismith in the foreword to Spink THE TONY ABRAMSON COLLECTION
OF DARK AGE COINAGE – PART I, March 18th 2021

Anglo-Saxon England, Crondall Types (620-645), Gold Shilling, ‘Substantive Gold’ Phase, ‘Crondall Cross’ type, cross ancrée on step with annulets in lower quarters, rev. cross moline, annulets between limbs, 1.30g (ASGC 15-16, Crondall 39-43; T&S 18-22, pp. 30; CMM 13184; Spink 759), some striking flatness and evidently struck with rusty dies, otherwise about very fine, very rare

Acquired privately from finder, June 2019
~ Found by Ray Garside, Thrapston (Northamptonshire), 23 February 2015 ~[UKDFD 47568]

Five specimens of this anepigraphic type were found in the Crondall hoard (Hants, 1828). Only two have been added to the corpus since, both in the last decade as isolated finds at Birch, Essex (EMC 2011.0044 = PAS ESS-3263B5), and the present coin.

This coin for sale Spink: The Tony Abramson Collection of Dark Age Coinage – Part I
Live auction starts: Mar 18, 2021 @ 10 AM GMT

Sold £4,500

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Crondall type, Gold Shilling

Anglo-Saxon England, Crondall Types (c. 630-650), Gold Shilling, ‘Substantive Gold’ Phase, London derived, crude bust right, with large features and hair swept back, striated halo forms border, rev. +ZUOONUUPLUV^. blundered legends, cross in beaded circle, 1.26g, 270° (SCBI 69, 1 this coin; T&S 22-31, pp. 41 and 59-60; A&W xi; Gannon 30, Figs. 2.9a and c, and 5.5g; North 22; Spink 754), a most attractive and provocative example of Anglo-Saxon portraiture, a small scuff on cheek and trace double-striking to reverse, otherwise good very fine, extremely rare, a truly superb centrepiece and the finest to appear in public commerce

M Vosper, March 2012
~ Found by Mike O’Bee ‘north of Horncastle’ (Essex), 28 November 2011 ~

[EMC 2011.0275]
Sutherland has discussed the derivation of this type from the forward-facing portrait type with a clear reverse inscription of LONDVNIV. The influence of this type on the subsequent ‘London-derived’ group ‘is to be seen most clearly in their conspicuously linear technique, in the adoption of a cross-hatching border for the obverse in the use of a plain cross as the central reverse type, and in the employment of a reverse legend which, enclosing the cross, strongly suggests by its blundered lettering that some form of the name ‘Londinium’ or ‘Lundonia’ served as a basis for imitation.’ (ASGC, no. 43)

Academic debate as to further attribution and dating has raged for more than a century. In 1915, Baldwin Brown opined: ‘if struck in London with [its] ecclesiastical significance, the piece might conceivably be the work of Mellitus during his tenure of the See [604-c.617], and the head [depicts] that of an Archbishop’. More recently Anna Gannon has regarded this attribution as anachronistic as she reopened the discussion at the Cambridge Symposium (March 2015). It was suggested that this Shilling, if of Bishop Mellitus (d. 624), could be twinned with those shillings of York, possibly by Edwin (d. 633) or Paulinus. In the context of the celebrated issue of Eadbald of Kent (616-640) imply a date earlier than c. 630 for the reintroduction of this native coinage to England, and possibly as far back as the Kentish kingdoms conversion to Christianity in AD 619.

This coin for sale Spink: The Tony Abramson Collection of Dark Age Coinage – Part I
Live auction starts: Mar 18, 2021 @ 10 AM GMT

Sold for £29,000

Thank you Spink for text and image – view auction lot here

Gold Shilling of Eadbald

“The first coin in the name of an English King

Anglo-Saxon England, Kent, Eadbald (616-640), Gold Shilling (73% AV), ‘Substantive Gold’ Phase, struck AD 620-635, London, AVDV[ARLD RE]GES, the S inverted, diademed and draped bust right, cross before, rev. crucifix on globe within beaded border, 1.28g (SCBI 69 -; Dies A/c; Sutherland VI.1, no. 78; Metcalf 50; A&W xv; BNJ 89, North 29; Spink 758), obverse double-struck on a mildly concave and oversized flan and a slight contact mark to reverse at 6 o’clock, nevertheless a most attractive specimen, virtually as struck, the eighth presently known, extremely rare, and a coin of the utmost historical importance to British numismatics and probably initiated under the first Bishop of London

Spink 248, 25 September 2017, lot 688
~ Found at Billericay (Essex), 1 May 2017 ~
[EMC 2017.0175]

The Historical Context
According to Bede, Eadbald succeeded his father, Æthelberht, to ascend the throne of Kent in AD 616. Æthelberht was acclaimed for welcoming Augustine to his court in AD 597 and for his subsequent conversion to the Roman form of Christianity. However, Bede relates that soon after his accession, Eadbald apostatized, ejecting his Bishops – Mellitus was exiled to France – and incurring the Church’s wrath by committing ‘such fornication as the Apostle Paul mentioned as being unheard of even among the heathen, in that he took his father’s [second] wife as his own.’
Ultimately, Eadbald relented, rejected his wife and was duly baptized, thereafter favouring the Church within his kingdom.
The subsequent spread of Christianity was facilitated by the use of a repertoire of Christian symbols on the coinage, though the later silver coinage evinces syncretic use of some Pagan motifs.

Read the extensive Spink Article on this historic type The entire Corpus of 8 coins is listed

This coin for sale Spink: The Tony Abramson Collection of Dark Age Coinage – Part I
Live auction starts: Mar 18, 2021 @ 10 AM GMT

Sold for £34,000

Thank you Spink for text and image – view auction lot here