Anglo-Saxon gold shilling

The Anglo-Saxon gold shilling or thrymsa – £15,000 at Dix Noonan Webb.

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The coin, discovered by a metal detectorist in a stubble field near Haslingfield in Cambridgeshire in January, had been guided at £8000-10,000 in the March 8 auction.

The thrymsa was a gold coin minted from the 630s until the 670s which originated as copies of Merovingian and earlier Roman coins. They had a value of four silver pennies, although continued debasement across this period reduced the gold content in newly minted coins to less than 35%.

The design for this coin, measuring just 13mm across and weighing 1.3 grams, is based on a Roman coin of the emperor Crispus from the 4th century. The legend includes Runic text which translated into Latin as Delaiona (‘of Laiona’) which may refer to the moneyer who struck the coin. Thrymsa were created at mints in Canterbury, London, and perhaps also Winchester.

Most coins from the series are known from hoards (the Crondall Hoard found in 1828 contained 100 similar gold thrymsa) although this is one of only eight examples of the ‘Crispus’ type recorded.

It was also in extremely fine condition and centrally struck with all the inscriptions visible. DNW said it was bought in the room by a member of the trade for a client.