Irish Coin Daily: Hiberno-Norse Silver Penny, Phase I, Class B – Long Cross type (OGSEN)

Irish coin cabinet 7

Date: c. 1000-1010

Hiberno-Norse Phase 1, Class B – Long Cross type (OGSEN) +OGSEN HEA MELNEM. The Old Currency Exchange, Dublin, Ireland.

Hiberno-Norse, Phase I Silver Penny in the name of ‘Ogsen’, Silver Penny in imitation of the English, Aethelred II Long Cross type.

  • Blemish free and choice mint state / no peck marks
    • Otherwise practically as struck
  • Superb grey and gold tones
  • Good extremely fine (gEF)
    • Extremely rare


  • O’Sullivan 11, S.6110.


  • Bare headed draped bust left
  • Legend:
    • Translates as Ogsen of ?


  • Voided long cross, no pellets in quadrants
  • Legend:
      • Uncertain moneyer, with blundered Dublin mint signature


  • Ireland


  • Hiberno-Norse
    • Phase I
    • Class B (Long Cross issue)
      • Mint = Dublin
      • Moneyer = Uncertain
  • Hammered


Additional Information:

A variety of hypotheses have been put forward to the explain the sudden appearance of the name Ogsen on the Dublin coinage sometime just after the year 1000. The legend is clearly engraved and interrupts the legible series of issues in the name of Sihtric Silkenbeard and their imitative counterparts in the name of Aethelred.

In 1872 a small hoard of silver coins was found at Derrymore, Co. Westmeath which comprised:

  • 2 x Anglo-Saxon Long Cross pennies of Aethelred II
  • 4 x Hiberno-Norse, Phase I imitations still in the name of Aethelred
  • 1 x Hiberno-Norse, Phase I imitation in the name of Sihtric
  • 1 x Hiberno-Norse, Phase I imitation in the name of ‘Ogsen’
  • 3 x Hiberno-Norse, Phase I imitation in the name of ‘Thymn’

All of the coins were described as being in splendid condition, and obviously they were deposited within at most a few years of the introduction of the English prototype represented in the hoard. A date of deposit was recorded as c. 1000-2

  • It therefore seems most likely then that ‘Ogsen’ and ‘Thymn’ both refer to an individual at the very beginning of the Hiberno-Norse, Phase I series.
  • Unfortunately, apart from his coins, the enigmatic ‘Ogsen’ is absent from the historical record
    • One theory is that Sihtric’s defeat by Brian Boru at the battle of Glen Mama in AD 999 may have led to an interim governor of Dublin during the negotiations surrounding the re-instatement of Sihtric as king of Dublin in AD 1000
      • This event and consequent ‘interregnum’ may provide a context for these issues
      • Michael Dolley suggested the name ‘Ogsen’ might be of Old Irish origin


Further Reading:



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