Norman Kings in England

William the Bastard (later called 'the Conqueror') continued to produce silver pennies to the same standard and fineness as his Anglo-Saxon predecessors, circa 1.3 gm (22-24 grains). However, the internal stresses of the Norman state with land-holdings in Normandy and England, and military undertakings in the Mediterranean, were unmanageable for a military aristocracy riven by internal jealousies and competition. By the end of the Norman period, the turbulence of Stephen's reign meant that coin quality declined dramatically.

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William the Conqueror 'Eadwig of London' PAXS Anglo-Saxon Penny 024450

Very Rare William the Conqueror 'Eadwig of London Mint' PAXS Anglo-Saxon Penny
Silver, 1.36 grams, 19.28 mm. BMC 8, PAXS type, circa 1083-1086 AD. Obverse: +PILLELM REX, crowned bust facing holding sceptre. Reverse: long cross with P A X S within circles, in angles within inner circle, +[ED]PI ON LII[-], for the moneyer Eadwig at London mint. Five of the thirteen coin types in the name of 'William' have been assigned to the reign of William II, although it remains uncertain whether the Paxs type of William I [The Conqueror] continued into his reign so it is possible that this is in fact a coin of William II. N. 848; S. 1257. Only two coins of this moneyer, and no PAXS types listed on the Early Medieval Coin Corpus [EMC] at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge University. Slightly not struck up to one edge, otherwise very fine.

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William the Conqueror 'Eadwig of London' PAXS Anglo-Saxon Penny 024450


William II 'Rufus' (1087-1100 AD)

William Rufus (the red) was the third son of William, Duke of Normandy. The Norman hold on England was still strong in his day, although the king had to resort to ruthless measures to suppress both the nobles and the church. William scorned the English, but was himself held in low regard by his subjects on both sides of the Channel: there are reports of irregular and scandalous behaviour at his court. A Norman rebellion led by Odo, William's uncle, left the king with a stronger hold on England than on Normandy and marked the beginning of the dissolution of the Anglo-Norman state, which lasted less than a century. During William's reign, the Norman crown's involvement in the Crusades began - his brother, Robert Curthose, being among the leaders of the First Crusade, paid for by a ruinous tax levied in England. William was killed while hunting in the New Forest in circumstances which have struck generations of commentators as suspicious: he was pierced by a 'stray' arrow in the lung. The spot is marked by the 'Rufus stone' to this day.



Henry I
Henry I (1100 - 1135 AD)

Henry I was nicknamed beauclerc 'fine scholar' by contemporaries, presumably because he was able to read and write well. He succeded his brother, William II, while Robert Curthose was campaigning in the Holy Land. Henry's early reign was spent in securing Normandy from the designs of his other brother, Duke Robert of Normandy. He began the suppression of the Welsh and the construction of fortified strongholds across the western border of England. Never perturbed by public ill-will, Henry ruled effectively for 35 years and was the most successful sovereign of the Norman line. In 1120, his only legitimate son, William, was killed in a naval accident ("The White Ship") which left the succession open; Henry's solution was to force the Norman barons to support his daughter, Matilda. This led ultimately to the Anglo-Norman civil war.

Henry I 'Exeter / Grimr' Type XV Penny 026242

Extremely Rare Henry I 'Exeter / Grimr' Type XV Penny
Silver, 1.30 grams. 1125-1135 AD. Quadrilateral on cross fleury type. Obverse: facing bust with sceptre and +HENRICVS REX legend. Reverse: quadrilateral on cross with +[ ]R:ON:EXCES legend for the moneyer Grim(r) at Exeter mint. S. 1276; N. 871. See EMC 1200.0926 for the other recorded example. About as struck with good bust. Second recorded example for this moneyer at this mint.

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Henry I 'Exeter / Grimr' Type XV Penny 026242
Henry I 'York? / Osbern' Smaller Profile Penny 022254

Rare Henry I 'York? / Othbern?' Smaller Profile Penny
Silver, 0.84 grams, 15.90 mm. 1119 AD; BMC XII. Obverse: profile bust with rosette before and HENR[ ] legend. Reverse: short cross and pellet-in-annulet with [+OS]BERN:ON:S[ ] legend for the moneyer Osbern at a mint with initial letter 'S'. There are several possible mints but a moneyer Osbern is not previously recorded for any of these. S. 1273; N. 868; EMC 2007.0033 (this coin). Recorded with Early Medieval Corpus and on the UKDFD website (reference 5600), found Quidenham, Norfolk. Fine for issue, flatly struck as usual; rare, previously unrecorded.
£650.00

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Henry I 'York? / Osbern' Smaller Profile Penny 022254


Stephen
Stephen (1135-1154 AD)

Stephen of Blois was raised at the court of his uncle, Henry I, and was among a number of contenders for the crown. Henry having arranged for his daughter, Matilda, to succeed, Stephen's claim was not universally supported and a period of civil war ensued in which Stephen and the 'Empress Maude' contended for the throne, in the period known as 'The Anarchy'. The fortunes of each side varied from time to time, but the balance was tipped against Stephen when Matilda's son, Henry, raised an army of mercenaries; Stephen's support began to melt away but he still managed to hold the crown against all comers until his death in 1154.

Stephen 'Uncertain Mint/Unrecorded Moneyer' Awbridge Penny 024995

Excessively Rare Stephen 'Uncertain Mint/Unrecorded Moneyer' Awbridge Penny
Silver, 1.35 grams, 19.11 mm. 1154-1158 AD; BMC VII. Obverse: three-quarter bust with sceptre and [+STI]EFNE legend. Reverse: voided cross in quatrefoil with [+]R[I]CARD:[-]:ON[: ]C?[ ] legend for an unrecorded moneyer with a suffix initial at an uncertain mint. Ricard is not a common moneyer name for the Stephen coinages, recorded as occurring only at London and Shaftsbury, but without the suffix letter that is clearly present to this coin; the supposition must be that this is a new moneyer reading for Stephen but, until a better struck example appears, the full details are likely to remain uncertain, worthy of research. S. 1282; N. 881. Near as struck, part flat as usual; unrecorded, possibly unique.
£750.00

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Stephen 'Uncertain Mint/Unrecorded Moneyer' Awbridge Penny 024995


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