Ipswich: 1,000 year-old silver penny made in town is set for auction

IPSWICH: A silver penny made in the town 1,000 years ago is set to fetch up to �400 at an auction next week.

The coin was produced by a so-called moneyer named Waltferth at the Ipswich Mint during the reign of King Aethelred II – or Ethelred The Unready as he is sometimes known – which was between 978 and 1016.

It was a particularly violent and volatile time in Ipswich’s history.

The coin is one of only around 300 made at the Ipswich Mint between 973 and 1066 (the final years of the Anglo-Saxon Age) which are known to have survived.

The letters ‘IP’ on the edge of the coin confirm that it is from Ipswich.

And because of its tell-tale dark colouring, it is possible that this penny – coming up for sale at Spink in Bloomsbury, London, on Wednesday, March 23 – was also part of the similarly-coloured Ipswich Hoard of coins discovered in 1863.

Ipswich was a prosperous place in the late 900s and for that for reason the town had its own Mint from about 970.

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But its prosperity regularly attracted the unwelcome attention of marauding Vikings, who sacked the town in 991 and then again in 1010.

There is a possibility the penny coming up for sale at Spink next week is one of the coins found by chance in Ipswich nearly 150 years ago. However, this is not confirmed.

Those coins were in an earthenware pot buried about 10ft beneath the doorstep of a house on the corner of Old Buttermarket and White Hart Lane, in Ipswich.

They were only discovered when the house – which had once belonged to numismatist (someone who studies and/or collects coins) James Conder – was demolished during road widening work in 1863.

The hoard comprised of 150 silver pennies also from the reign of Aethelred II, minted in London and Ipswich.

Despite its age, the Ipswich penny coming up for sale next week is in, what auctioneers Spink describe as, “very fine” condition.

n Can you cast any more light on the penny? Call The Evening Star news desk on 01473 324788

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