Rare 'Crispus' gold shilling fetches £18,600


02 April 2022
A gold shilling or thrymsa dating from 650-70 AD was recently sold for £18,600 by Dix Noonan Webb.

Measuring just 13 millimetres in diameter and weighing 1.3 grams, the coin had been expected to fetch £8,000-10,000 and was bought in the saleroom by a member of the trade for a client.

The coin was discovered in Haslingfield in South Cambridgeshire in January by 55-year-old drainage engineer, Mark Pallett from Brentwood in Essex, who decided to search a stubble field with his Minelab Equinox 800.

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It is one of only eight examples of this ‘Crispus’ type to have been recorded on the Early Medieval Coins database at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, and dates from 650-700AD.

The gold shilling was in extremely fine condition and centrally struck with all the inscriptions visible.

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Nigel Mills, Consultant (Artefacts and Antiquities) at Dix Noonan Webb said:

'The design is based on an obsolete Roman coin of the emperor Crispus from the 4th century AD. The legend includes Runic text which translated into Latin is Delaiona (of Laiona) which may refer to the moneyer who struck the coin.

'Early Anglo Saxon Runes or Futhark (named after the first six letters) originate from Germanic peoples and were sometimes included alongside Latin text on coins  in Britain during the 7th century. The most famous discovery of thrymsas was at Sutton Hoo in the ship burial when 37 were found in 1939. Also the Crondall hoard found in 1828 contained 100 gold coins.

'The gold shilling is in extremely fine condition and centrally struck so you can read all the inscriptions. Only eight examples of this ‘Crispus’ type have been recorded on the Early Medieval Coins database at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge.'

Following the sale, father-of-three Mark, who has been detecting for almost forty years said:

‘I am truly overwhelmed by the price that the coin achieved and am pleased for myself and the farmer who will get half of the proceeds. I did think about buying a new detector with the money but I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with my current one as it helped me find this wonderful coin!’