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Obverse - Draped bust left Latin legend and beaded outer border surrounding both sides, legend commences lower left, +ÆÐELRÆD REX ANGLOI

Reverse - Long voided cross with tri-crescent ends, +ED PINE MΩO L VND, the NE ligatured

Weight 1.71g

Though Aethelred enjoyed such a long reign, he was known as "The Unready" (literally meaning "ill-counselled", from a history of bad advice and decision making). Born circa 967, and having ascended to the throne at no more than 12 years of age after the murder of his Half-Brother Edwards at Corfe, Aethelred was supported by his mother and partisans that were led by Earl Aelfhere of Mercia. The influential Aelfhere having died in 983 meant Aethelred became more vulnerable, and the Vikings began to start their raids once again. Aethelred chose to pay off the raiders rather than resist, becoming known for giving such ransom payments willingly. This meant many hundreds of thousands of coins ended up being taken to Scandinavia where they were hoarded and why much of the coinage that survives today often exhibits "peck marks" where the Viking bankers have inserted a knife point to make sure the metal quality was good. The harrying continued until 1013, by which time Swein Forkebeard held a great swathe of England and Aethelred was under threat in London, retreating to the Isle of Wight. England submitted to Swein, but he died suddenly on 2nd February 1014 at Gainsborough, giving Aethelred the advantage and driving the Vikings out.

Canute, the second son of Swein, returned to attack in 1015 and, by early 1016, was marching on Mercia. However, Aethelred passed away on 23rd April 1016 in London, at around the age of 52, just as his second son, Edmund, was moving south to link up with the army. Edmund was elected King but the army was his priority and, after winning a few battles, suffered a defeat at Ashingdon on 18th October 1016. He retreated, possibly wounded, to West Mercia and negotiated a treaty giving him rule of Wessex. However, Edmund died in Oxford on 30th November 1016, giving control to Canute.

Following Roman occupation, the capital city of London minted some of the earliest Saxon coins, with gold Thrymsas and silver denarii with a "Londuniu" signature. Beginning with Offa, Mercian Kings minted coins there, but the first coin to actually say City of London upon it is the unique Ludica portrait Penny that was found in 2016, followed by subsequent coins of Ecgberht. In 871, the Danes wintered in London for the first time, but it was King Alfred of Wessex who settled and fortified the capital circa 880 to resist further invasions. Edward the Elder incorporated the City into Wessex in 911 and it resisted a major attack in the reign of Aethelred II in 1009. However, London submitted to the Danish Swein in 1013 but, three years, later the citizens accepted Eadmund Ironside as King and resisted a siege by Canute.


Specification Value
Weight 1.71 g
Quality Circulating
Pure Metal Type Silver
Specification Value
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