780-792 Penny – Cynethryth, wife of Offa

780-792 Penny Cynethryth, wife of Offa

The 780-792 Penny - Cynethryth, wife of Offa

A rare penny, showing Cynethryth, Queen of the Mercians and wife of King Offa. Cynethryth is the only Anglo-Saxon queen known to have an image on a coin. Struck between 780 and 792 at the Canterbury mint of moneyer Eoba. SCBC: 909. North: 339.

Very little is know of the early life of Cynethryth, but her name was on charters as a witness in 770. By 780 she had the title Cyneðryð Dei gratia regina Merciorum (Cynethryth, by the Grace of God, Queen of the Mercians).

Offa and Cynethryth were known as a devoted couple. When Offa died in 796, Cynethryth became abbess at the monastery at Cookham (Berkshire, England). She died some time after 798.

The Obverse shows a draped bust facing right with trefoil at sides and above.

The Reverse is a barred m, with five pellets around and within. Legend is "CFNE?.R.F?. R.EGIN.Λ".

The coin was graded as EF and sold in 2008 for $42,500.

Image credit: CNG Coins


Mintage: Rare
Minted at Provincial mints.
Offa (0757-0796)
Classification: ANGLO-SAXON, Kings of Mercia.

Offa, or Offa of Mercia, was an Anglo-Saxon King of Mercia 757-796. He was the son of Thingfrith and came to power after a civil war, which saw the assassination of his cousin Æthelbald. Offa then defeated his rival Beornred to win the throne.

Offa is famous for building a Dyke (Offa's Dyke) as a defence against the Welsh armies. Offa was a Christian King, but after a disagreement with the Church, Offa split the archdiocese of Canterbury into two, thus creating the archdiocese of Lichfield.

The coins of King Offa are of high quality and as such can demand high prices. Some coins show his wife Cynethryth and are the only Anglo-Saxon coins to show a queen. There is little information about the location of Mints or the Moneyers that were around at the time.

It is thought that there are three gold coins that survive from Offa's reign. These may have a price tag of £250,000-£750,000 and maybe even more.

Offa died on 29 July 796.
General Description: Penny
The Penny is one of the most famous British coins. The coin itself has been around since 600AD and at various times has been struck in silver, copper and bronze. Originally split into halfpennies and farthing, it is now itself the least denomination coin currently in circulation. Made from copper (actually copper plated steel).

Originally there were 12 pennies in one shilling and 240 pennies in £1; since decimalisation in 1973 there are 100 new pence in one pound.

Specifications of the Penny

  • Diameter: (Bronze) 31 mm (since 1860)
  • Edge: Plain
  • Composition:
    • (1707–1796) Silver
    • (1797–1859) Copper
    • (1860–1970) Bronze
  • Years: 1707–1970
Which Mint: Provincial mints
Not all mints are located in a single place. From the Roman days through to the middle ages it was easier to have local moneyers (trusted people who were allowed to mint coins) rather than make the coins centrally and then have the security and logistics problem of distribution.

There were often dozens of mints, sometimes all making the same coin. The variations and mintmarks are exciting for numismatists, although sometimes it takes an expert to analyse them.

Most English Provincial Mints began to close after 1279 when the Royal Mint opened The Tower Mint (called so as it was housed at the Tower of London), although some continued working for much longer. The central mint gave the King and the Master of the Royal Mint much more control over the production and quality of English coinage.
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
The United Kingdom (UK) is the Union of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It is often refered to as Great Britain (GBR). It has a long, rich history.

The orignal coinage was Pounds, Shillings and Pence but since decimalisation on 15 February 1971, it is £1 = 100p, that is One Pound = 100 pence. The coinage of the UK is also a long history, the Royal Mint being established as long ago as 886AD when coins were hammered. Today there is perhaps 30 billion coins in circulation, and many (numismatic) collectors coins and sets are issued frequently in gold, silver and other metals.
If you don't see a coin in the list below try the Penny page on eBay UK

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