Silver penny of David I of Scotland

Scotland, AD 1124-53

The first Scottish coinage

Ironically, the earliest Scottish coins were struck in England. When Henry I of England died in 1135, the throne of England was contested between Henry's daughter Matilda, and his nephew Stephen. David I of Scotland was Matilda's uncle on her mother's side, and in 1136 David moved south into England to support his niece's claim. Among other places in the north of England, he took control of the town of Carlisle. Coins had been struck in Carlisle in the last years of Henry's reign, using local silver, and once David took over the town, he began issuing his own coins.

David's first coins, like the one shown here, imitate the late coins of Henry I. He also seems to have issued coins from Carlisle in the name of Stephen. The son of David I, Henry of Northumberland, also issued his own coins there.

Although David's coinage began in Carlisle, it quickly spread to towns within Scotland itself. These included Aberdeen, Berwick, Edinburgh, Perth, Roxburgh and St Andrews. The Scottish coinage developed under David's sons Malcolm I (1153-65) and William I (1165-1214) and a separate Scottish coinage continued until the Act of Union with England in 1707.

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More information


I.H. Stewart, The Scottish coinage (London, Spink, 1955)

J.D. Bateson, Coinage in Scotland (London, Spink, 1997)


Diameter: 21.000 mm
Weight: 1.160 g

Museum number

CM 1970-4-23-1 (E 4944)


Gift of Miss M. Bimson


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