Irish Coin Daily: Hiberno-Norse Silver Penny, Phase IV (’scratched die’) coinage, Facing Bust type


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Date: c. 1055/60-1065/7

Hiberno-Norse. temp. Murchad mac Diarmata. 1052-1070. AR Penny (18mm, 0.50 g, 9h). Phase IV coinage, Facing bust/Long Cross type. Uncertain mint signature and moneyer. Struck circa 1055/60-1065/70. IIIIIIIIIII•III[...] II•I[...]IIII, schematized facing bearded head: pellet-in-annulet eyes, annulet cheeks, curvilinear mouth and mustache with one pellet at end, and linear beard; annulet above / IIIIII III, voided long cross, with triple crescent ends; in first and fourth angles, retrograde S with triple pellets at each end, “hand” symbol in second, and annulet-with-tail symbol in third. Blackburn 4, –; O’S 46 var. (symbol in third quarter); SCBI 8 (BM), –; cf. SCBI 32 (Belfast), 309; SCBI 22 (Copenhagen), 235; D&F 27; SCBC 6176. VF, toned, area of weak strike. Very rare.

Description:

Hiberno-Norse. temp. Murchad mac Diarmata. 1052-1070. Silver Penny (18mm, 0.50 g, 9h). Phase IV coinage, Facing bust/Long Cross type, thought to have been imitative of contemporary English coins of Edward the Confessor.

  • Uncertain mint signature and moneyer.
  • Struck circa 1055/60-1065/70.

Blackburn 4, –; O’S 46 var. (symbol in third quarter); SCBI 8 (BM), –; cf. SCBI 32 (Belfast), 309; SCBI 22 (Copenhagen), 235; D&F 27; SCBC 6176.

  • Very Fine (VF)
  • Toned, area of weak strike
  • Very rare.

Obverse:

  • IIIIIIIIIII•III[…] II•I[…]IIII,
  • Schematized facing bearded head: pellet-in-annulet eyes, annulet cheeks, curvi-linear mouth and mustache with one pellet at end, and linear beard; annulet above.

Reverse:

  • IIIIII III
  • Voided long cross, with triple crescent ends; in first and fourth angles, retrograde S with triple pellets at each end, “hand” symbol in second, and annulet-with-tail symbol in third.

Country:

  • Ireland

Category:

  • Hiberno-Norse
    • Phase 4
      • Class C
      • Facing Bust / Long Cross type
  • Hammered

 


Additional Information:

The brief Phase IV (c. 1055 – 1065) saw further deterioration in the weight and workmanship of the coins. It was a chaotic period in Ireland’s Late Medieval history, with various minor kingdoms and clans competing for control of the coastal towns.

  • Hiberno-Norse rulers lost control of Dublin in 1052, and some of these Phase IV coins may have been struck at other locations, but we cannot be certain of where.
  • Phase IV coins are described as ‘scratched die’ types, because the design seems to have been crudely scratched into the dies, rather than carefully engraved.

Known examples of this very rare Phase IV, Class C type all appear to come from a hoard discovered in northern Italy (along a traditional pilgrim route to Rome) in the late 19th C which was subsequently handled by the famous dealer Adolph Hess of Frankfurt.

  • See M. Dolley and S. N. Lane, “A Parcel of late Eleventh-Century Hiberno-Norse Coins Found in North Italy,” BNJ XXXVII (1968).

Further Reading:

 

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