Coin (Obverse), a penny of Ethelstan

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From Storr Rock, Skye

Postcard of Coin (Obverse), a penny of Ethelstan.
© National Museums Scotland

Coin (Obverse), a penny of Ethelstan

This silver coin is part of a hoard of hacksilver and Anglo-Saxon and Arabic coins buried at Storr Rock in Skye around 935 to 940. The mixture of coins from far-flung areas and silver bullion indicates that the hoard belonged to a Viking trader or settler.

The coin was minted for the Anglo-Saxon king Ethelstan in London. This side shows a portrait of the king, with an inscription in Latin which translates as 'King Ethelstan'. Coins of this type were minted between 933 and 938.

In the Viking world, silver and, to a lesser extent, gold were used as a medium of exchange, weighed on balances. Any type of silver, complete objects, coins or hacksilver, was valid tender. Much of the silver was nicked and bent to test its purity.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-081-431-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.C18586
Date: 925 - 939
Coin minted 933-938; hoard buried around 935 to 940
Material: Silver; both sides very slightly off-centre; slight flattening; slight to moderate wear. Inscription: Obv. Cross AEDELSTAN REX; AE ligatured; cross-bar on back of D; crowned bust to right / Rev. Cross LIOFHELM MO LOND CI; small cross in centre
Dimensions: 22.00 mm D / Die Axis: 12.5
What: Coin Type: BMC vii; Blunt 276
Coin, penny
Subject: Queen Street Coin Collection
Who: Aethelstan
Liofhelm (Maker)
Skye Hoard, 1891
Where: England
England, London
Scotland, Inverness-shire, Skye, Trotternish
Description: Silver penny of Aethelstan, England, minted at London by Liofhelm, 925 - 939
  • Metcalf, D.M. The monetary significance of Scottish Viking-age coin hoards, with a short commentary. In: Graham-Campbell, James. The Viking-age gold and silver of Scotland (AD 850-1100). Edinburgh: National Museums of Scotland, 1995, pp 16-25. 
  • Stevenson, Robert B.K. Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles. National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland. Part I. Anglo-Saxon coins (with associated foreign coins). London: British Academy, 1966, no. 186. 
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