British Coins (26 September 2011)

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Date of Auction: 26th September 2011

Sold for £17,500

Estimate: £4,000 - £6,000

Kings of All England, Edward the Elder (899-924), Penny, Bust Crowned type, East Anglian, draped and diademed bust right, eadvveard rex, rev. neioir oiieici retrograde, three crosslets between, trefoil of pellets above and below, 1.54g/6h (Vatican Hoard 469; CTCE –; cf. SCBI East Anglia 855/803ff; N 653; S 1086). Extremely fine or better, lightly toned, extremely rare £4,000-6,000


Provenance: ‘Vatican’ Hoard, Glendining Auction, 13 November 1930, lot 25; R.C. Lockett Collection, Part IV, Glendining Auction, 26-7 April 1960, lot 3651.

These exact dies were not present in the Morley St Peter Hoard.

The so-called Vatican Hoard was discovered in Rome around 1928, perhaps on the site of the Vatican Wireless Station. It consisted of 517 Anglo-Saxon pennies (the majority of Edward the Elder) as well as six Continental coins and some silver ingots. The chronological composition of the hoard suggests that it had lain undisturbed for almost exactly 1,000 years, having been deposited perhaps during disturbances in the city which culminated in the murder of Pope John X in May 928. It seems to be an early example of a group of ‘Peter’s Pence’, an annual tax or tithe paid to the Church to ensure the continued spiritual well-being of the kingdom and its inhabitants. If not public alms, it may have been a private bequest, seeking the salvation of the soul of a wealthy and important individual, or payment for (or connected with) the transfer of a bishop or archbishop to a new see. Under the year 927, the
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle notes that the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Wulfhelm, went to Rome to receive his pallium, although to associate the hoard with such an event would be purely conjectural