img_5-3.jpg
Silver penny of Edward the Martyr c.975-978, £9000 at DNW.

You have 2 more free articles remaining

It had been found in a ploughed field on the Isle of Wight by a metal detectorist who was ready to give up for the day after finding only three lead bullets. He received a signal in the same area and dug down about five inches deeper.

The coin, offered in the online-only auction on April 22 with an estimate of £5000- 7000, was described by DNW as being in “remarkable condition with 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 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 was just 13 years old when he was crowned king after the death of his father Eadgar but ruled only briefly, from 975-978. He was assassinated at the Saxon hall where Corfe Castle in Dorset now stands, by supporters of his half-brother Aethelred.

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.

The DNW auction comprised 695 lots, with only four items left unsold.