Rare Ipswich coin to go under the hammer

The Ipswich Penny

The Ipswich Penny - Credit: Archant

ONE of the rarest Ipswich coins ever minted is to be auctioned after being discovered in Germany.

The 1,050-year-old penny - which is believed to be one of only 12 in the world - is back in Suffolk waiting to go under the hammer.

It is particularly special as this is the first currency to have the name of Ipswich on it.

The reading on the coin is Leofric (which means Moneyer) M-O (which means Moneta) and Gipes (the name at the time for Ipswich).

On the other side of the penny is a bust of King Eadgar.

It is believed that the coin was part of a payment sent to the Vikings to hopefully stop them launching further raids on Ipswich.

Seven of the existing pennies are in museums and the rest are with various European collectors.

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John Sadler, the founder and life president of the Ipswich Numismatic Society, is elated about the return of this remarkable piece of Suffolk history.

He is also the coin expert for Martlesham auctioneers Lockdales, where the Ipswich penny will go under the hammer over the weekend July 11 and 12.

There is a catalogue guide price of £2,000.

Mr Sadler said: “This really is quite a find. I’m so excited about it.

“Eadgar, King of England from 959 to 975, reformed the coinage with the opening of some 90 mints.

“Ipswich had one of these mints, and it is thought that most of them were within one days walking distance of each other within Lowland England.”

Mr Sadler believes the coin was part of a Danegold payment.

He said: “In Anglo-Saxon times, our country had to pay this Danegold. It was a payment made in the hope of stopping the Vikings from raiding our shores.

“This is probably the reason why so many of the Ipswich pennies are in European museums such as the Royal Coin Cabinet in Stockholm and the Royal Coin Cabinet in Copenhagen.

“Indeed, they are also known well into Russia as the Vikings took them down the rivers into the heart of that territory.”

The mint business was a very serious one in England a thousand years or more ago.

A moneyer, or coin worker, had to be very respectful of his trade.

Mr Sadler revealed: “A moneyer who de-based coins could face a most gruesome punishment. He could have a hand cut off and placed above the workshop door as a reminder to others that all products must be good quality silver.”

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