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The British Museum

CAM-F1FA15: Early-Medieval coin : Silver penny of Aethelred II - possible incomplete coin brooch.

Rights Holder: Cambridgeshire County Council
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Unique ID: CAM-F1FA15

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A silver penny of Aethelred II, AD 978-1016. First hand type dating to c. AD 979-985. The obverse field is illegible, the surface having been obscured from view either by the removal of a thin surface of the flan or alternatively by a thin applied layer of solder. The obverse legend reads: + A[ET]HELRED REX A[N]G LOX. Reverse shows the hand of Providence issuing from clouds; at side A.W. (as North p.158, nos.766 & 767, fig.1). Reverse legend reads: + LIVING[ M - O] LINDCOL. Die axis is 12 o'clock. North number 766 or 767. Mint is Lincoln. The moneyer is, normalised to, Leofing. 

National Finds Advisor John Naylor comments "The moneyer is Leofing but the spelling is not one I've found so far but that said I have found LEVIG and LEOFINC so the use of the V is known. I've not found one using LIV... however" pers. comm.

It is not uncommon for coins of this approximate later Early-Medieval date to be altered so as to transform them into coin brooches or badges. It is possible that the obverse field has been damaged due to the application of a soldered on separate component, that has since become detached, thus resulting in the illegible area - a scarred shadow of the now missing brooch attachment part. If it is the case that this coin was reused as an artefact, this object would need to be considered as potential treasure under the definition of treasure according to the Treasure Act 1996.

Repurposed later Early-Medieval coins include the following examples: KENT-1012A8 & NMS-B43881 (which shows a shadow probably related to the presence of now missing solder), CAM-CE2AB5, CAM-1FB9C5, SUSS-E28AA4, PAS-795917, HAMP-0F4407, HAMP-5958CE, IOW-217104, IOW-A6DB92, SOM-4BC86B, ESS-ACD93C, WILT-C94353, ESS-05217E, BERK-39FCC8, BM-838B95, HAMP-251EC5, HAMP-94D5C6, SUR-8F4A0C & DENO-8F4358. It should be noted that where evidence allows a favoured side to be determined on these coin brooches, it is common for the reverse to be favoured and any applied component to be fixed to the obverse surface of the coin. The coin described here does not have any evidence of gilding, however it is the obverse field of the coin that has damage and this may support the interpretation of this being a damaged coin brooch rather than simply being a damaged coin.

Images of this coin have been shown to Dr John Naylor (Ashmolean Museum & National Finds Advisor), Dr Gareth Williams (British Museum) and Drs Martin Allen & Richard Kelleher (Fitzwilliam Museum). Additionally Dr Allen & Dr Kelleher have examined the coin in person along with Susie Pancaldo. Dr Allen confirmed that the reverse can be die matched to Mossop, H.R. plate III, No.9. After consideration Dr Kelleher and Dr Allen do not believe, on balance of probability, that this coin was ever altered into a brooch or badge. Dr Kelleher stated that at this time c.98% of adaptations involved the riveting of additional parts to the coin. The absence of any sign of riveting, nor trace of gilt on a coin of this date and size makes the potential adaptation extremely unlikely (pers.comm.). Susie Pancaldo studied the coin under a microscope. She could not rule out that the substance was solder but the possible adhesion of corrosion from another artefact in contact with the coin before discovery was also suggested as an equal possibility. Further scientific testing may possibly conclude the uncertainty but to date there seems low likelihood of this being a coin altered into an artefact and high probability that the obverse of a coin is fortuitously damaged.


Williams, G. 2001 COIN-BROOCHES OF EDWARD THE CONFESSOR AND WILLIAM I. In British Numismatic Society Journal (

After much consideration the Finds Liaison Officer was advised by the Treasure Team to process this item as a coin and not as an altered coin artefact. Therefore, the coin has not been processed as potential Treasure as defined by the Treasure ACt 1996.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 979
Date to: Circa AD 985

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Thickness: 0.5 mm
Weight: 1.55 g
Diameter: 21.7 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Tuesday 1st August 2017 - Thursday 31st August 2017

Personal details

This information is restricted for your access level.

Other reference numbers

Other reference: EMC 2020.0056

Materials and construction

Primary material: Silver
Manufacture method: Struck or hammered
Completeness: Complete

Coin data (numismatics)

Denomination: Penny
Ruler/issuer: Æthelred the Unready
Mint or issue place: Lincoln
Category: Coin of the kings of All England 924/5-1066

Type: Æthelred, Hand type (no further details)
Obverse description: Illegible.
Obverse inscription: + A[ET]HELRED REX A[N]G LOX
Reverse description: The hand of Providence issuing from clouds; at side A.W.
Reverse inscription: + LIVING[ M - O] LINDCOL
Die axis measurement: 12 o'clock

Coin references

No coin references available.

Spatial metadata

Region: Eastern (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Cambridgeshire (County)
District: South Cambridgeshire (District)
Parish or ward: Babraham (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TL5150
Four figure Latitude: 52.12768442
Four figure longitude: 0.20448011
1:25K map: TL5150
1:10K map: TL55SW
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

References cited

Author Publication Year Title Publication Place Publisher Pages Reference
Mossop, H.R. 1970 The Lincoln Mint c.890-1279 pl.III no.9.
North, J.J. 1963 English Hammered Coinage: Vol I. Early Anglo Saxon-Henry III, c650-1272 London Spink and Son Ltd pp.158-167, nos.766-767.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: CAM
Created: 2 years ago
Updated: 7 months ago

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