British, Ancient and World Coins (16 September 2020)

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Date of Auction: 16th September 2020

Sold for £8,500

Estimate: £5,000 - £10,000

Stephen (1135-1154), Penny, Phase 6, Two Figure type, York, st[–]fn[–], standing figures of Stephen and Matilda supporting sceptre, King with distinctive open mouth, rev. cross fleurée over saltire pommée, ornaments in place of legend, 1.06g/1h (Allen, NC 2016, dies unlisted; Mack 220; cf. BMC 261-3; N 922; S 1315). Small chip at 6 o’clock and flan slightly wavy, otherwise very fine for issue, very rare £5,000-£10,000

Footnote

Provenance: Found at Market Rasen (Lincolnshire), September 2018 (EMC 2018.0320).

On his second visit to the site, a freshly ploughed field, the finder, Graeme Rushton, received a signal from his metal detector and, digging down about 6 inches, uncovered the penny. At first Mr Rushton did not recognise the coin and it was only a year later, when he contacted the Fitzwilliam Museum, that he was alerted to the significance of his discovery.

Following the battle of Lincoln on 2 February 1141 Stephen was captured and imprisoned for six months in Bristol Castle, before an exchange with Robert, Earl of Gloucester enabled him to be released. In 1142 Stephen and Matilda travelled to York and the coin may have been struck to celebrate this. There are an estimated 25 examples in existence (Allen recorded 17 in his study), many of which are damaged or fragmentary. It was minted in York in a very continental style, so likely by an engraver from Ghent (Allen, NC 2016, p.285), or by a local artisan copying Flemish characteristics