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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Medieval, Islamic and Crusader Coins (Moderators: AlexB, quadrans)  |  Topic: Northumbrian stycas 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Nap
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« on: October 16, 2014, 06:56:59 am »

I've added some coins to my collection of Northumbrian stycas, which I've cataloged here at ForumAncientCoins:

http://www.forumancientcoins.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=5403

For those that are not familiar with it, Northumbria was one of the petty kingdoms of England in Anglo-Saxon times.  It was the northernmost English kingdom, stretching from the north of Mercia to the southern border of Scotland.  If was part of the "Heptarchy" of Anglo-Saxon England, along with the other petty kingdoms: Mercia, Essex, Wessex, Sussex, Kent, and East Anglia.

Coinage in Anglo-Saxon England began as thrymsas, gold imitations of late Roman and Frankish coinage, and later developed into 'sceats' or 'sceattas', small silver coins with depictions of faces and animals, descended from Celtic and Roman coins but of significantly degenerated quality.

In the southern English kingdoms, King Offa of Mercia, the most powerful of the petty kings, began issuing a penny in the mid 8th century.  This became the standard of currency in all of England except for Northumbria.  For whatever reason, geographic isolation, commercial ties to the Franks, or lack of materials, Northumbria kept the sceats and developed its own unique coinage.  For over a century, Northumbrian kings issued silver sceats and later copper stycas.  These were fairly uninspired designs, depicting a king's name around a central cross, with the reverse depicting the moneyer's name around a cross.  They were produced in great numbers, and have survived in great numbers, with hoards of thousands of them having been found.  They are certainly evidence of a sophisticated society with a robust coinage, presumably for internal trade (as it is unlikely that foreigners would have been interested in copper coins).  Some of Northumbria's heroes of the church, St. Cuthbert, Venerable Bede, and Alcuin, are still remembered today.  Sadly, almost no other information about Northumbria survives.  They were attacked by Vikings starting with the raid on Lindisfarne, and continuing to the sack of York in the mid 9th century.  Northumbria's culture, and coinage, is snuffed out.  Stycas disappear after this time, and are later replaced with silver Viking pennies, imitating the style of southern England.

I am trying to assemble a collection of all Northumbrian sceats and stycas, including each king and each moneyer.  Some combinations are extremely rare.  I probably will fall short, especially since I am located in the United States and have more limited access to coins.  But in about 2 years time I have made some decent progress.

Have a look!
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*Alex
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2014, 07:27:53 am »

That's a very nice collection Nap. I am impressed.

*Alex.
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« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2014, 05:14:37 am »

I agree wit Alex* absolutely... Thumbs Up Smiley

Best regards
 Q.
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« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2014, 09:01:12 am »

Nap:

Excellent write-up and a lovely collection. Many of your coins also have interesting pedigrees. You've done very well in only two years!

Is there a particular reason why you focus on Northumbria? I'm always interested in collector's motivations to collect a particular specialty.

I developed a passing interest in Anglo-Saxon sceats and stycas after a genealogical DNA test revealed that I had Anglo-Saxon DNA on my father's side, despite my Greek heritage (I'm convinced that I must be descended from Anglo-Saxon members of the Varangian guard)!  So, I have acquired one or two pieces, but your collection is an inspiration. Thanks for sharing it.

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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2014, 03:35:23 pm »

Thank you for the kind remarks!

Carausius, I do not have any particular personal connection to Northumbria.  My wife actually has some family in the region, but that wasn't really my motivation.  I've spent time in England, studying, and like the country and its history.  I have a particular fondness for Anglo-Saxon coins.  I would collect pennies of Mercia and Kent if they were not so rare and expensive.

I decided to focus on Northumbrian coins because they are old, unusual, and less expensive per coin than other Anglo-Saxon issues.  You can still find unidentified stycas on eBay and other venues.  They are fairly plentiful compared to other contemporary issues, and metal detectorists not uncommonly pluck them out of the ground.  The coins themselves are not spectacular looking.  Most of them have fairly basic designs, the name of a king on one side, the name of a moneyer on the other.  There are not a ton of collectors, certainly not in the United States.  Demand is relatively soft.  I feel like a complete set of every styca (king and moneyer) is possible to put together without being a millionaire.  My collection has grown by a decent amount recently, partly because of the sale of the Peter Moffat collection via CNG.  I don't know anything about Mr. Moffat, but he put together what is probably the largest collection of Northumbrian coins outside of museum collections.  I was fortunate to obtain several items out of these sales.  There must have been over 1000 coins that were sold over the course of a couple of years.  It was a scale of collecting reminiscent of Lockett or Lord Grantley, which is unlikely to be duplicated nowadays.

I will say that Northumbrian sceats and stycas are not the most inviting series of coin to start collecting.  Some of the major references are out of print and difficult to obtain, and even then are quite difficult to understand.  The die link chart/table in Pirie's "Coins of the Kingdom of Northumbria" is overly complex reminds me of vector calculus or some other unpleasant college level mathematics.

For anyone who is interested in learning more about these coins, I recommend starting with BNJ 28: A reappraisal of the sceatta and styca coinage of Northumbria.  It's available (free!) at the digital BNJ archive.
http://www.britnumsoc.org/publications/Digital%20BNJ/pdfs/1955_BNJ_28_16.pdf

Other references that are useful are:
"Sceatta List + Stycas Simplified" by Tony Abramson
"Coins of the Kingdom of Northumbria" by E.J. Pirie (the standard work, but quite difficult to follow and much of her categorizing of these coins has been rejected by other numismatic scholars)
"Coinage in Ninth Century Northumbria, BAR:180 (British series)" ed D.M. Metcalf (lots of good info, slightly dated, very difficult to find a copy of this work.  If you can't find it Mr. Abramson summarizes the major articles in his Stycas Simplified book)
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« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2014, 01:01:03 pm »


For anyone who is interested in learning more about these coins, I recommend starting with BNJ 28: A reappraisal of the sceatta and styca coinage of Northumbria.  It's available (free!) at the digital BNJ archive.
http://www.britnumsoc.org/publications/Digital%20BNJ/pdfs/1955_BNJ_28_16.pdf

Other references that are useful are:
"Sceatta List + Stycas Simplified" by Tony Abramson
"Coins of the Kingdom of Northumbria" by E.J. Pirie (the standard work, but quite difficult to follow and much of her categorizing of these coins has been rejected by other numismatic scholars)
"Coinage in Ninth Century Northumbria, BAR:180 (British series)" ed D.M. Metcalf (lots of good info, slightly dated, very difficult to find a copy of this work.  If you can't find it Mr. Abramson summarizes the major articles in his Stycas Simplified book)


Hi Nap,

 Nice Article and books.. very useful.. Thumbs Up

 Best regards
 Q.
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AlexB
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2014, 01:44:54 am »

Hi

A nice collection of an under-collected area of AS coins.

Its a great series to obtain due to the availability of coins on ebay at good prices - some of these are pretty common but every now and then something unusual pops up which makes your day no doubt.

I wish you luck with your collection and will keep my eye out for special coins.

Brgds

AlexB
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2014, 09:12:34 pm »

Thanks!

I have added a few more and re-imaged several. 

As far as availability, they are certainly among the most available of hammered Anglo-Saxon coins, and many are quite common.  However, there seems to be more competition for the rarer moneyers lately, and not a lot of them fall through the cracks.
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2015, 05:38:31 am »

Added a few more, including some of the rarer early silver issues of Aethelred I and an unusual "double reverse" coin of the moneyer Herreth

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« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2015, 02:36:17 pm »

A few more new coins:

[PHOTO BUCKET LINKS REMOVED BY ADMIN - SEE IMAGES IN GALLERY]
Archbishop Wigmund, by Coenred
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« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2015, 11:17:45 am »

I realize this is an older thread but this is a really NICE collection.   Thanks for sharing. 
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« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2015, 09:11:46 am »

I realize this is an older thread but this is a really NICE collection.   Thanks for sharing. 


Thanks!
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« Reply #12 on: July 19, 2016, 07:15:15 pm »

I have now finished a set of every moneyer of the Northumbrian stycas:

There are 40 known moneyers:
Aethelheah, Aethelhelm, Aethelweard, Aldates, Alghere, Badigils, Brother, Ceolbald, Coenred, Cuthberht, Cutheard, Cuthgils, Cynemund, Cynwulf, Daegberct, Eadwine, Eadwulf, Eanred, Eanwulf, Eardwulf, Forthred, Fulcnoth, Gadutels, Herreth, Hnifula, Hunlaf, Hwaetnoth, Hwaetred, Leofthegn, Monne, Odilo, Tidwulf, Tidwine, Wendelberht, Wihtred, Wilheah, Winiberht, Wulfheard, Wulfred, Wulfsige

There are also 2 "possible" moneyers (which might just be variations of the others):
Alfheard, Erwinne

As would be expected, some are very common and others are extremely rare.

Took me a few years to find them all, was fortunate in the sale of a few comprehensive collections in the last few years.

I am still missing a few of the earlier monarchs though
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« Reply #13 on: August 09, 2017, 07:07:59 am »

Impressive collection!
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« Reply #14 on: August 09, 2017, 09:08:06 am »

Wow, what an accomplishment. Congrats on having the discipline to track down all of these coins.
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« Reply #15 on: August 09, 2017, 11:41:59 am »

HI Nap,

Great collection,

I congratulate again  Thumbs Up Thumbs Up

Regards

Q.
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« Reply #16 on: August 10, 2017, 09:34:50 am »

I have now finished a set of every moneyer of the Northumbrian stycas:

There are 40 known moneyers:
Aethelheah, Aethelhelm, Aethelweard, Aldates, Alghere, Badigils, Brother, Ceolbald, Coenred, Cuthberht, Cutheard, Cuthgils, Cynemund, Cynwulf, Daegberct, Eadwine, Eadwulf, Eanred, Eanwulf, Eardwulf, Forthred, Fulcnoth, Gadutels, Herreth, Hnifula, Hunlaf, Hwaetnoth, Hwaetred, Leofthegn, Monne, Odilo, Tidwulf, Tidwine, Wendelberht, Wihtred, Wilheah, Winiberht, Wulfheard, Wulfred, Wulfsige

I once dabbled with completing a set of rulers for this series a while ago, along
with those of the Archbishops of York, but whilst I added nearly all of the ones I
wanted, I was always distracted by my other main collecting areas, and I think
there is still a gap or two.
I don't think I ever considered collecting these by moneyer.
Is there a listing somewhere of which moneyers struck for which rulers?
A great idea, and an impressive group.
Well done,
Walter
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« Reply #17 on: August 27, 2017, 08:42:25 pm »

SCBC has the moneyers listed but might be missing a few.  "Stycas Simplified" by Tony Abramson has a list as well.

I can tell you what I know for the moneyers:

Aethelheah - Eanred
Aethelhelm - Osberht, Abp. Wigmund
Aethelweard - Abp. Eanbald II, Abp. Wigmund
Aldates - Eanred
Alghere - Aethelred II, Redwulf
Badigils - Eanred
Brother - Eanred, Aethelred II, Redwulf
Ceolbald - Aethelred I, (?Coenwulf of Mercia, ?Ceolwulf I of Mercia)
Coenred - Aethelred II, Redwulf, Abp. Wigmund
Cuthberht - Redwulf
Cutheard - Aethelred I, Eardwulf, Aelfwald II, Eanred
Cuthgils - Aethelred I, Aelfwald II
Cynemund - Aethelred II
Cynwulf - Eanred, Abp. Eanbald II
Daegberct - Eanred
Eadwine - Eanred
Eadwulf - Abp. Eanbald II
Eanred - Aethelred II, Redwulf
Eanwulf - Aethelred II, Osberht
Eardwulf - Aethelred II
Folcnoth - Eanred
Fordred - Eanred, Aethelred II, Redwulf
Gadutels - Eanred
Herreth - Eanred
Hnifula - Aethelred I
Hunlaf - Aethelred II, Redwulf, Abp. Wigmund
Hwaetnoth - Redwulf
Hwaetred - Eanred
Leofthegn - Aethelred II
Monne - Eanred, Aethelred II, Redwulf, Osberht
Odilo - Eanred, Aethelred II
Tidwine - Eanred
Tidwulf - Aethelred I
Wendelberht - Aethelred II, Redwulf
Wihtred - Eanred, Aethelred II
Wilheah - Eanred
Winiberht - Osberht
Wulfheard - Eanred
Wulfred - Eanred, Aethelred II, Osberht, Abp. Wulfhere
Wulfsige - Aethelred II, Osberht
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