Irish Coin Daily: Hiberno-Norse Silver Penny, Phase I, Class B – Long Cross type (BYRHTMAER of Winchester) – Old Norse CUNUNC issue

The Irish Coin Cabinet, The Old Currency Exchange, Coin Dealer, Dublin, Ireland

Date: c. 1000-1010

Hiberno-Norse Phase 1, Class B – Silver Penny Long Cross Type. Sihtric king of Dublin, BYRHTMAER of Winchester (rare CONUNC issue). The Old Currency Exchange, Dublin, Ireland.


Hiberno-Norse Phase 1, Class B – Silver Penny Long Cross Type, imitating long cross type of Æthelred II, in the name of ‘Sihtric’ (King of Dublin. Moneyer: BYRHTMAER (of Winchester).

  • Weight: 1.70 g
  • Very Fine (VF)
  • Very rare


  • SCBI British Museum -; SCBI Copenhagen 7; DF 7; S 6105


  • Bare headed draped bust left, pellet behind head
    • Slightly blundered legend.
    • Translates as: Sihtric, King of Dublin
    • Note the use of the Old Norse term ‘CUNUNC’ (king) instead of REX (Latin)


  • Voided long cross, no pellets in quadrants, with triple crescent ends
    • Slightly blundered legend
    • Translates as: Byrhimer, Moneyer of Winchester


  • Ireland


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


Additional Information:

The British numismatist Michael Dolley classified Hiberno-Norse coins into seven distinct “phases”, covering a period of over 150 years.

About the year 995, Sihtric III “Silkbeard”, (also spelled Sitrick, Sigtrygg, Sitriuc and many other variants) King of Dublin, issued silver pennies that closely imitated the contemporary Anglo-Saxon coins of English King Aethelred II.

  • Some of Sihtric’s coins bear his own name, and spell out the name of Dublin (“DYFLIN,”); others simply copy the names of Aethelred and various English mints and moneyers.
  • These were the first coins struck in Ireland
    • The reason for issuing them was probably both
      • practical (to pay mercenaries)
      • symbolic (to enhance the king’s prestige by displaying his wealth and power)

Phase I coinage lasted 20-25 years, and went through several design changes.

  • The most common type imitates Aethelred’s “Long Cross” issue, bearing an obverse image of a bare-headed king draped in a cloak. The “voided cross” reverse could serve as a guide for cutting the coin into halves or quarters, since no smaller denominations were struck.
    • Class A          996-1001         Crux issue (King Aethelred II)
    • Class B        1002-1008         Long Cross issue (King Aethelred II)
    • Class C        1009-1011          Helmet issue (King Aethelred II)
    • Class D        1011-1016          Small Cross issue (King Aethelred II)
    • Class E        1016-1018          Quatrefoil issue (King Cnut)
    • Class F        1024-1030          Pointed Helmet issue (King Cnut) in the name of Sihtric – none known
    • Class ?        1024-1030          Pointed Helmet issue (King Cnut) in the name of Anlaf Sihtricsson – one ‘unique’ piece recently found


Other Coins in this Series:

Further Reading:






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