Irish Coin Daily: Hiberno-Norse Silver Penny (Phase I, Class A – CRUX Type), Sihtric of Dublin (Moneyer: ASCETEL of Dublin)


Date: c. 995-1015

Hiberno-Norse Penny, Phase I, Class A CRUX (Sithric), 21mm, 1.64g, Obv. +ZITIR– DICLIИ MELO, Rev. +ΛZCETEL O– DIFLMC (O'S 1, Hildebrand 11, SCBC 6100)

Description:

An Hiberno-Norse Phase I, Class A Silver Penny. Dublin mint, moneyer: Ascetel. The bust is engraved in, what North describes as, a “Benediction Hand” style. This bust style is encountered on the very earliest coins struck in the Crux issue of Aethelred II, i.e. before the left facing bust was introduced. This beautifully preserved coin might be one of the earliest products of Sihtric’s mint in Dublin.

  • Diameter: 21mm
  • Weight: 1.64 g
  • References:
    • O’S Type 1; SCBI –; Hildebrand 11; SCBC 6100
    • B. Roth, “The Coins of the Danish Kings of Ireland. Hiberno-Norse Series” in BNJ 1909, 13 (same dies)
  • Well-struck on a neat round flan,some light die wear otherwise lightly toned. Choice EF (EF)
  • Extremely rare
    • This coin is, as far as we are aware, the only example of the excessively rare Crux type with a right facing bust in private hands

Obverse:

  • Draped bust right with trefoil-tipped scepter to right
  • Slightly blundered legend:
    • + ZITIR– DICLIИ MELO
      • (translates as “Sihtric, King of Dublin”)

Reverse:

  • Voided short cross; C R V X in quarters
  • Unusually clear legend:
    • + ΛZCETEL O– DIFLMC
      • (translates as Moneyer = “Ascetel of Dublin”)

Country:

  • Ireland

Category:

  • Hiberno-Norse
    • Phase 1
      • Class A (CRUX Issue)
  • Hammered

Additional Information:

During Phase II (c. 1018 to 1035) the coinage became lighter, possibly reflecting the declining fortunes of the Kingdom of Dublin.

  • Early Phase I coins weighed about 1.5 grammes (This is ‘very early’ Phase I @ 1.64g)
    • By Phase II the average weight of the coinage is reduced to 1.2 grammes

The inscriptions (legends) on Phase II coins are, typically, ‘blundered’

  • This is a numismatic term for mis-spelt, or a jumble of letters
    • bits of the name “Sihtric” and “Dyflin” are still often recognizable.
  • On the obverse of Phase II coins, a J-shaped symbol – interpreted as an inverted bishop’s crozier – sometimes appears behind the bust.
  • Small pellets, typically, appear in the angles of the long cross on the reverse.

Other Coins in this Series:

Further Reading:

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