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Gold tremissis (shilling) of Eadbald of Kent


Diameter: 12.000 mm
Weight: 1.280 g

Purchased with the assistance of The British Museum Friends

CM 1999-1-5-1

    Gold tremissis (shilling) of Eadbald of Kent

    Anglo-Saxon, AD 616-40
    Minted in London, Kingdom of Kent, England

    The earliest coin with the name of an English king

    After the Romans withdrew from Britain in the early fifth century AD, no coins were struck in Britain for nearly 200 years. Roman coins and coins of various Germanic kingdoms apparently circulated to some extent. Around AD 600, or a few years earlier, coins began to be issued in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Kent. Kent had close ties across the English Channel with the kingdom of the Franks, and the earliest Anglo-Saxon coins mostly imitate Roman or Frankish gold coins.

    The earliest Anglo-Saxon coins do not carry the name of a ruler, and it was only in the eighth century that the use of a ruler's name became common on Anglo-Saxon coins. However, a handful of coins are known in the name of Eadbald of Kent (reigned AD 616-40). Eadbald was converted to Christianity in the middle of his reign, and the Christian symbol of the cross and globe on both sides of the coins probably indicates that they date from the latter part of the reign. The legend on the front reads AVDVARLD [or AVDVABLD] REGES ('Of King Eadbald'), while the back appears to have a blundered version of a moneyer's name and the name of the mint of London.

    G. Williams, 'The gold coinage of Eadbald, king of Kent, AD 616-40', British Numismatic Journal-5, 68 (1998)

    D.M. Metcalf, Thrymsas and sceattas in the A (London, Royal Numismatic Society and Oxford, Ashmolean Museum, 1993-94)


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