Auction 290  21 Feb 2024
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Lot 1045

Estimate: 5000 GBP
Price realized: 24 000 GBP
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Harold II

Harold II (1066), PAX type with Sceptre [BMC I; N 836; S 1186], Penny, Hastings, Dunning, Gp B, +harold rex ang, rev. +dvnning on hæ, 1.26g/12h (Bt 55, this coin; Pagan, NM p.190 [two examples noted]; HHK 143; Montagu 164, same dies). Minute scratch on reverse, otherwise good very fine with mottled hoard patina; extremely rare and evocative £5,000-£6,000


Coin production at Hastings is first recorded in Æthelstan's Grately code (c. 926-30). This wide-ranging administrative document stipulated (amongst other things) the number of moneyers who were to be employed at each mint-place; Hastings was afforded one moneyer. It is quite surprising, then, that no coins of Æthelstan, or his immediate successors, can be attributed to the town. Instead, Hastings is first named on Æthelred II's Second Hand type, some sixty years later. Thereafter, the mint appears to have been fairly active, producing a steady flow of coinage down to the Anarchy in the mid twelfth century. The exception to this rule is found within the reign of Harold II, when output appears to have been greatly reduced. Pagan, in his survey of Harold II's coinage, notes only 8 specimens of Hastings, compared to 15, 41 and 30 at the nearby Sussex mints of Chichester, Lewes and Steyning respectively. This pattern is also borne out by the recent Chew Valley hoard: of the 1,238 coins of Harold II contained within, only 3 carry a Hastings mint signature. This compares to 244 from Chichester, 22 from Lewes, and 97 from Steyning. Hastings, then, is demonstrably an extremely rare mint in this type.

The Braintree specimen is only the second Harold II penny of Hastings to be offered for sale by public auction in the last forty years. The other, sold through these rooms, achieved a hammer price of £20,000.
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