Kings of Wessex Alfred the Great Silver Penny 871-899AD Lulla, London


Code: FS292

Kings of Wessex Alfred the Great Silver Penny 871-899AD Lulla, London

20mm, 1.29g, S1058

An extremely rare coin, only the third we’ve been able to offer for sale in nearly twenty years. A small edge chip and attempted piercing (by R of REX), otherwise a good example of this extremely rare issue for king Alfred the Great.

Provenance – The Kent Collection. This coin comes with a hand written collector’s ticket and is recorded with the Early Medieval Coinage Database held at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. This record can be viewed here: The coin was originally found near Semington, Wiltshire in the area where Alfred is said to have fought many battles and had many feasts, perhaps this was lost during one or the other!

Alfred (871-899)– Fifth and youngest son of Æthelwulf, Alfred ascended to the throne of Wessex at an unenviable time. The kingdom had just suffered several crippling defeats at the hands of the Vikings, standing virtually alone against the invaders following the subjugation of both Northumbria and East Anglia. Initially forced to pay them off to gain the vital breathing space he needed, the defining moment in Alfred’s reign came in 878 – when he was driven from his royal vill at Chippenham. Fleeing to the Somerset marshes, he proceeded to wage a desperate guerrilla war. Emerging later that year to rally his forces and defeat the Vikings at the Battle of Edington, Alfred was able to stalemate them into accepting grants of territory in exchange for leaving his own holdings alone. Perhaps the most famous Anglo-Saxon king to ever have lived, Alfred’s reign is well known in popular history – although it is likely he never ‘burned the cakes’. His later rule was a time of reform, not just militarily (he is arguably the founder of the Royal Navy) – but also economically and in the fields of both law and education. Styling himself as ruling over the entire Anglo-Saxon peoples, Alfred’s reign marks the beginnings of England becoming a united realm instead of a broader geographical entity populated by small kingdoms.

1 in stock

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