Thursday, March 12, 2015

'Eboracum' (Ryedale) hoard in Spink UK Auction

A remarkable 'Eboracum' (Ryedale) hoard of 65 Viking and Anglo-Saxon coins and hack silver, dating from the early 10th century in Spink UK Ancient, British and Foreign Coins and Commemorative Medals two day coin sale (Wednesday and Thursday 25-26 March).

This remarkable hoard of 65 coins and 4 ingots is a fascinating insight into the power struggles of the northern Danelaw and King Aethelstan's subsequent recapturing of York from the Vikings in a.d. 927. We see on the coins a fascinating mix of the different cultures and religions prevalent in 10th century England. The hoard includes examples of the rare 'church' type Pennies of Athelstan (AD 924-939) as well as examples of all four varieties of the rare 'sword' type Pennies of the Viking Danelaw. Some of these are in the name of Sihtric Caoch 'the 'one eyed', the great Viking leader who set himself up as King in Dublin and later in Jorvik (AD 921-927) the viking kingdom of York.

Viking penny

Lot 479, Estimated: £7,000 - 9,000

The catalogue cover coin, lot 479, is a particularly good example to illustrate this point. This Viking piece shows both the Christian cross and Thor's hammer on the same coin. Other coins in the hoard, such as lots 481-92 juxtapose the name of Saint Peter 'Sancti Petri Moneta' with a large Viking war sword. Here on the coins is the fusing of cultures which helped shape British history and formed our national identity.

Sancti Petri Moneta

Lot 482, Estimated: £3,500 - 4,500

In July 927 Aethelstan took the kingdom of Northumbria and styled himself Rex Totius Britanniae; King of all England. Coins with this title, the first occurrence in British history, are represented by lots 455-66 and 473-78. At York a significant effort was made to remove all trace of Viking coinage and replace it with Aethelstan's own. The 'Church' type is the first to be struck at the northern stronghold of York and is represented by lots 442-53 and lots 467-72. It is generally accepted that this type depicts an Anglo-Saxon church but some believe that it may even be the earliest depiction of York minster itself. It is these impressive 'Church' type coins which give the name of York in its Latin form;'Eboracac' rather than using the Saxon name 'Eoferwic'. This played a large part in the naming of The Eboracum hoard.

Totius Britanniae

Lot 456, Estimated: £1,700 - 2,200

Church type

Lot 468, Estimated: £5,000 - 7,000

Eboracum, as a reference tool will give both numismatists and historians a valuable snapshot into this rich and turbulent period of English history. The composition of the hoard is such that both Viking and Anglo-Saxon identities are juxtaposed and presented in their rawest form. Dispersal of such an important historic article as the Eboracum hoard should not be taken lightly and Spink are proud to undertake this task.

Source: Spink