880 Penny – Alfred the Great


The 880 Penny - Alfred the Great

Silver Penny of Alfred the Great, minted between 880-899 by the moneyer Wulfræd, mint location not known. Diameter 20mm and weighs 1.62g. SCBC 1067, North 639.

Obverse shows a small cross in the centre with legend 'AEL FRE D REX' (King Aelfred) around.

Reverse is the moneyer's name 'VVLF RED' (Wulfræd) in two rows separated with pellets.

Read more about King Alfred below.

Images used by permission of CNGCoins.


Mintage: Not known
Minted at Provincial mints.
Alfred the Great (0847-0899)
Classification: ANGLO-SAXON, Kings of Wessex; Kings of the Anglo-Saxons; Hammered.

Alfred the Great (Aelfred) was King of Wessex 871-886 and King of the Anglo-Saxons 886-899. He was known as a well educated, fair-minded person, Christian and excellent King.

Born around 847–849 to King Æthelwulf of Wessex, Alfred's three elder brothers, Æthelbald, Æthelberht and Æthelred, ruled in turn before him. Alfred took the throne in 871 and spend much of his time fighting Viking invaders. After a victory in the Battle of Edington (878), Alfred agreed the Danelaw with the Vikings, splitting the country and allowing the North of England to use the laws of the Danes. Eventually the Vikings reneged on the deal and Alfred went back into battle, ultimately becoming the dominant ruler of England.

Alfred died on 26 October 899, aged 50-51.
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.
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