The Academic Collection of English coins assembled by Lord Stewartby over a long and very active lifetime will be dispersed by Spink in a series of auctions over the coming months.
The first part containing Anglo-Saxon and Norman coins (March 22, 2016) will give collectors the opportunity to acquire some extremely rare pieces at affordable prices. Many of the coins were also acquired from some of the great collections of the past so they come with impressive provenances.
In his own words, Lord Stewartby said:
“The only sad thing about a collection such as this is that it would be impossible for an interested amateur, as I was, to put it together today“.
An interest in coinage was developed at a young age when, as a small boy clinging to his mother’s hand in war-torn Barnet, he noticed a copper coin in a jar on the counter of a grocer’s shop with two heads on it and recognised it as being from the reign of William & Mary. Thus began his lifelong interest in–and contributions to–numismatics.
The sale immediately kicks off with a superb gold Thrymsa of Eadbald of Kent – the first gold coin issued in the name of an English king – extremely fine and extremely rare, one of only seven examples. In 1998, new finds enabled the obverse inscription on the coin to be confirmed as AVDVARLD REGES, and translated as ‘of King Audvarld’. The name ‘auduarldus’ appears in Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica completed in 731 in which he wrote about king Eadbald of Kent.
Eadbald succeeded Aethelberht as king of Kent in 616. According to Bede, after his accession Eadbald fell afoul of the young Christian Church, ejecting its Bishops and incurring the wrath of the Church for ‘. . . he took his father’s (second) wife as his own.’ Whatever Eadbald did, this situation did not last for he repented and was duly baptized, rejecting his wife and thereafter favouring the Church within his kingdom. These events reflect the conflict and confusion amongst the Anglo-Saxon elite at this time as Christianity sought to assert itself over the pagan religion. This struggle is best known from the mix of pagan and Christian artifacts in the Sutton Hoo ship burial, which is contemporaneous to Eadbald and this coin.
As to the date of these named Thrymsas or Shillings of Eadbald, the presence of Christian iconography dates them to after his conversion and a date to between 620 and 635 is thought appropriate.
Lot 1, estimated: £12,000 – 15,000 (US$17,040 – $21,300)
From such a hectic relationship with Christianity, there are also truly stunning coins that show the later harmony and acceptance in the country. Lot 72 is an excellent example of such as a Penny commissioned by the Archbishops of Canterbury, Jaenberht (766-92), with King Offa as overlord, a good example of this rare issue and extremely rare.
Lot 72, estimated: £3,000 – 4,000 (US$4,260 – $5,680)
From the Norman section is a fantastic William I Penny, Lot 321, a Two sceptres type bearing a very stern-faced resemblance of the conquering King. An extremely rare coin.
Lot 321, estimated: £2,500 – 3,000 (US$3,550 – $4,260)
For collectors of early English hammered coins, here truly is a sale that has ‘something for everyone’.
Contact Phil Skingley at +44 (0)20 7563 4045 or [email protected] for more information.
Spink London | 69 Southampton Row | Bloomsbury | London | WC1B 4ET
Spink is the world’s leading auctioneer of stamps, coins, banknotes, medals, bonds & shares, autographs, books and wine. Since its foundation in 1666, the Spink name has become synonymous with tradition, experience and integrity. Holder of royal warrants and numerous records for prices achieved at auction, Spink offers an unparalleled range of services to collectors worldwide. Headquartered in London, with offices in New York, Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland, Spink holds over 70 auctions a year. Catalogues can be accessed through the Spink website (www.spink.com) or via the Spink App for iPhone and iPad.