WEB DNW edward martyr coin_2.jpg
Silver penny of the boy king Edward the Martyr estimated at £5000-7000 in the Dix Noonan Webb online auction on April 22.

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His perseverance paid off: he uncovered a silver penny of the boy king Edward the Martyr - the teenager who ruled Saxon Britain in the 10th century.

Now, that penny is up at auction in the Dix Noonan Webb live online-only sale on April 22 estimated at £5000-7000.

It was discovered in March 2018 when the detectorist - a 68-year-old retired council worker who wishes to remain anonymous - was searching a ploughed field on the Isle of Wight with his local detecting club.

Fine portrait

DNW states that the coin is in “remarkable condition and has a fine portrait of the boy king wearing a diadem and facing left”. Around is the legend EDPEARD REX ANGLORX (Edward king of the English). On the reverse is a small cross pattee (one with triangular arms widening outwards) in the centre with the legend around reading AELSTAN M’O CANT (Aelfstan moneyer of Canterbury). 

Thirty-nine mints were in operation around the country at this time with three moneyers working at Canterbury. Edward ruled briefly, between the years 975-978AD, and was only 13 years old when he was crowned king after the death of his father Eadgar. Edward was assassinated on March 18 at the Saxon hall where Corfe Castle in Dorset, now stands, by supporters of his half brother Aethelred.

Saint and martyr

Edward became venerated as a saint and martyr and his bones were exhumed and taken to a shrine at Shaftesbury Abbey in 1001. The shrine was lost during the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century, but his bones were rediscovered in 1931 and now reside at a shrine in the Russian Orthodox Church in Brookwood, Surrey.

Due to the coronavirus alert this is a live online-only auction. DNW is donating 5% of all buyer’s premium at this time to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Appeal.