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English Harold I penny (North 802 variety)

Entry posted by rmw · - 320 views

For those armies of Anglo Saxon coin enthusaists out there, here is an example available for sale to me of a Harold I of England (1035-1040) penny, from Lincoln Mint.

the moneyer, whose name is on the reverse, Im told is known to have produced coins for Harolds predecessor, Canute bit not for this king.

Any comments as to what to do? Are there better ones out there? Is this moneyer (Mathan Balluc) rare for this king?

As no response, maybe some explanation is in order. 

We are used to taking coins in change for transactions not because of the value of the metal in the coin was equal to the denomination (a nickels worth for a 5 cent piece for example) but because the government told us so and we have accepted it. This was not the case for over two thousand years where if you were to get. say, a penny in change, you wanted to make damn sure you  got a pennys worth of silver or other metal for it, otherwise you would be prone to rejecting it.

This however created many problems of its own. Rulers as well as people making the money (moneyers) could profit by cutting the silver in a penny with another cheaper metal and take the difference in profit for themselves. It got so bad during the reign of Henry VIII in England for example that the pennies produced later in his reign were so cut with other metal that he was called "old copper nose". Not to his face of course. Your head would be removed from the rest of you in short order if you did. Moneyers could be tempted to do the same thing on their own. So during this period in England they were required to stamp their name on the coin as a kind of certificate attesting to its value. If there was consistent shortchanging of silver in the coin it theoretically would be easy to spot the culprit. This step did not put a stop to the pracrice if the king got  cut of the difference or if a coin were counterfeited using the name of the moneyer.

All coinage could also be rendered obsolete overnight if there was inflation or deflation in the price of silver. And there were many other issues as well I wont get into here.

Harold I Penny.jpg


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