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25 July 2014
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Anglo Saxon Coins

A gold shilling from the reign of Eadbald, King of Kent 616-40. Minted in London around 630
A gold shilling from the reign of Eadbald, King of Kent 616-40. Minted in London around 630. Obverse (left) and reverse (right).
The coin's inscription

This reads AVDV[ARL<ETH> RE]GES ('Of King Eadbald') on one side, and on the other IIPNNHWL IENVS (a corruption of '...nbal Londenus', for [Ea]nbald, London' which perhaps is an indication of the moneyer - the person who authorised the minting of the coin).

You can't always be sure of these inscriptions as they are often worn away with use and age.

Kent - a Christian region?

Eadbald's father, King Æthelberht, had recieved Saint Augustine and accepted Christianity but, after his death, Kent had at first reverted to paganism. The crosses on this coin show that Eadbald had accepted Christianity by the end of his reign.

Conversion involved a political as well as religious decision, and the designs on the coins would have been intended to impress Kent's neighbours as well as its own people. Eadbald was the first English king to be portrayed on a coin.

Revival of the coinage

In England, money had gone out of use at the end of the Roman period. During the 6th century, gold coins from the Continent arrived and began to circulate in England.

Soon after this, the Anglo-Saxons started making their own coins, like this one, partly for prestige reasons and partly for economic purposes - it was profitable to run a mint.

A rich man's coin

Gold coins were worth a lot because gold was even more valuable than it is now. This gold shilling would be equivalent to more than £100 today.

It wouldn't have been used for ordinary household transactions; for these they would have used barter or credit. The shillings were used for making gifts between rich people, buying land, paying fines or used by merchants in long distance trade.

Coins timeline
First Viking attack on Holy Isle of Lindisfarne
Renewed Viking attacks
Harold II defeated by William the Conqueror - beginning of Norman Conquest

Click on each of these coins to find the tales they tell...

coin 1 -  A gold shilling from the reign of Eadbald, King of Kent 616-40. Minted in London around 630Silver penny minted in Kent (c 720)A silver penny from the reign of Offa, King of Mercia 757-796. Minted in London around 785A silver penny from the reign of Alfred, King of Wessex 871-899. Minted in London around 880A silver penny from the reign of Cnut, Viking King of York c.900-905. Minted at YorkA silver penny from the reign of Athelstan, King of England 924-939. Minted at Winchester around 930A silver penny from the reign of Cnut, King of Denmark and England 1016-1035. Minted at Exeter around 1023-29

Then play the Coins game
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Conquest of Wessex Kings
Viking Conquest
After Viking Conquest
Norman Conquest
After Norman Conquest
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