01 November 2023
The English hammered coins in the Noonans sale of 19–20 September included a Harold II penny struck at the extremely rare mint at Hastings (lot 124).
With coin production first recorded at Hastings in the 10th century, the mint was fairly active until the mid-12th century, but during Harold II’s short reign output seems to have been severely reduced.
This extremely fine coin was of the ‘PAX’ type and showed the king holding a sceptre. Not since 1986 has a penny of Harold struck at Hastings been offered for sale on the open market, making this a rare opportunity to acquire this iconic coin.
When Harold II was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 6 January 1066, he was not the only claimant to the throne. After defeating Harald Hardrada, the king of Norway, at Stamford Bridge on 25 September, Harold then had to hurry south because William ‘The Bastard’ had arrived from Normandy to assert his claim to the English throne.
Having landed at Pevensy, the Normans had established a defensive position at Hastings in preparation to fighting Harold’s forces. On 14 October, the two sides met on the battlefield, with the English defeated after King Harold had been struck down.
From an estimate of £6000, the coin reached £20,000.
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