Irish Coin Daily: Hiberno-Norse Silver Penny, Phase IV (’scratched die’) coinage, Class C, Type 1, Facing Bust / triple-strand mustache


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Date: c. 1055/60-1065/7

Hiberno-Norse, phase IV, 'scratched-die' coins, c.1060-65, Penny, 0.77g, bearded, helmeted bust facing, retrograde blundered legend, rev. blundered legned, voided long cross, symbols in angles (cf SCBI 8, 155-156; D.F. 27; S.6136), small chip, edge cracks, crease, a good example of this issue, very fine, rare

Hiberno-Norse, phase IV, ‘scratched-die’ Class C, Type 1 Penny, 0.77g, helmeted bust facing, with triple-strand mustache and three pellets on chin

Description:

Hiberno-Norse. temp. Murchad mac Diarmata. 1052-1070. Silver Penny (0.77 g). Phase IV coinage, Class C, Type 1 Facing bust with triple-stranded mustache and three pellets on chin, thought to have been imitative of contemporary English coins of Edward the Confessor.

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

cf. SCBI 8, 155-156; DF 27; S.6136

  • Very Fine (VF)
  • Small chip, edge cracks and a crease but (nevertheless) a good example of a rare coin type
  • Rare

Obverse:

  • I,I D II O V V III V I
  • Schematized facing helmeted head: pellet-in-annulet eyes, annulet cheeks, curvi-linear mouth and triple-stranded, annulated mustache; three pellets on chin.

Reverse:

  • IIrI  VIII VIV  IDCI
  • Voided long cross, with triple crescent ends; with symbols in angles
    • in first; stylised “hand” symbol with two pellets on either side
    • in second; trefoil
    • in third; cross, with one pellet in each angle
    • in fourth; cinquefoil

Country:

  • Ireland

Category:

  • Hiberno-Norse
    • Phase 4
      • Class C
      • Type 1
      • Facing Bust with triple-stranded mustache / 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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