Coin (Obverse), penny, of Olav Kyrre

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From Brough of Birsay, Orkney

Postcard of Coin (Obverse), penny, of Olav Kyrre.
© National Museums Scotland

Coin (Obverse), penny, of Olav Kyrre

This silver coin, minted by Olav Kyrre, king of Norway between 1067 and 1093, was found on the Brough of Birsay in Orkney. It is one of the earliest minted Norwegian coins to be found in the British Isles, and was probably lost between 1080 and 1100.

The coin is worn and chipped. The design is a stylised right-facing bust with a small cross near the brow. The original model for the design was an Anglo-Saxon coin minted over half a century earlier, much copied in Ireland and Scandinavia.

The Vikings colonised the Northern and Western Isles from around 800. The Northern Isles remained under Scandinavian control until the 15th century, ruled by Norwegian jarls or nobles for the Norwegian king.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-060-079-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.C9631
Date: c. 1080
Minted between 1067 and 1093; deposited probably between 1080 and 1100.
Material: Silver; edge chipped; slightly bent; rather corroded; moderate wear. Inscription: Obv. Highly stylised bust to right; small cross before brow / Rev. Short voided cross
Dimensions: 16.00 mm D
What: Coin Type: Stenersen Y14
Coin, penny
Subject: Queen Street Coin Collection
Who: Olav Kyrre of Norway
Where: Scotland, Shetland, Jarlshof Graveyard
Description: Olav Kyrre silver penny, Norway, c. 1080
  • Dolley, M., PSAS 100 (1967 - 1968), P 193 - 195, Pl 23b 
  • Dolley, Michael. A Viking-age coin of Norway discovered in Shetland. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 100 (1967-1968), pp 193-5. 
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