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COIN (NEW CONCEPTS)
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Yes, barbarous radiates are a bit like sand.

What is sand?

It's basically very small stuff. A mental catch-all for small stuff, found on beaches or in deserts, comes in different colours at different locations, white, golden, black, pink, green.... looks stationary but in fact moving around......so turns up in unusual places. No one except Ishmael can figure out sand, we simply know it as sand, err, not to be confused with gravel.....
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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No one except Ishmael can figure out sand

And M J Harper who taught him how to figure it out.
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Hatty
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The historian Rory Naismith tweeted about a one-offf Offa coin that had been owned by Cotton, the famous Cotton Library chap. But it wasn't always an 'Offa' coin

This gold coin was made in England under Offa of Mercia (757-96) by the moneyer Pendræd, but that was not how it was read around 1600. Its then owner, Sir Robert Cotton, saw it as a coin of Uther Pendragon; it was published as such by John Speed in 1611.




It seems that 'Pendraed' only made this one coin. He is said to be one of two Offa moneyers. Perhaps Rory Naismith has more information so I asked,
    "Why is it presumed to be an Offa coin if it carries the legend 'Pendraed'? It might not even be an eighth century piece since it's not clear how anyone dates these objects apart from stylistic pointers (based on what?)."

Rory replied
Because this moneyer (with a rare name) is only otherwise known for coins of Offa, and there are precedents at this time for the manufacture of larger gold coins (such as the Offa dinar). But it is not a coin OF Offa; as I wrote, it was probably made in his time, not in his name.

'Probably' is disappointingly vague. But I thought it worth slipping in the Big Question anyway,
    "Sounds a bit circular, are you saying Pendraed is 'known' as Offa's moneyer but the coin itself hasn't been dated? Excuse my asking but do any extant coins exist with Anglo-Saxon writing i.e. not transliterated into Latin?"

Rory:
Virtually all Anglo-Saxon coins have Latin on, as in this case (a few have runes). There are also other, albeit general, pointers to the late 8th century, such as the style of the epigraphy. In the scholarship the coin is generally accepted as being of this date.

'General pointers' doesn't sound very scientific. It echoes the 'stylistic' response that historians use to authenticate a manuscript.

Does 'virtually all' mean 'all'? If there were exceptions, he would presumably have mentioned them.
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Mick Harper
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Well, you've got to ask him directly but by pretending you have slightly misunderstood him so he doesn't give you a careful ignoral. Plus you have to add an ingenuous rider to ensure he answers the question. Try something like this

So it would be fair to say that you know of no Anglo-Saxon coins with Anglo-Saxon writing on them? That's definitely worth knowing.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Err..... where was it found?
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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The Cotton coin collection was somewhat jumbled.

While he owned coins of the Celtic, Roman and other series, it was his choice Anglo-Saxon cabinet which then as now was regarded as the most significant. .... The public authorities did not immediately ensure their proper curation and after several moves, and some depredation in all areas, including the particularly vulnerable coins, it was decided in 1753 that they should be incorporated with those of Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753) and others to form the foundation collection of the British Museum.

When the Cotton material was inspected prior to its removal to the museum in 1756 the coins were found to be 'in a most confused state'.7 The surviving English coins were not counted separately on that occasion but along with others from unspecified series (probably Roman issues for the most part) numbered 352 pieces in a grand total, including seals and other numismatic material, of 549 items.

No provenance is given for any of the Anglo-Saxon coins. Only one coin is 'likely' to have a findspot (in France) and it's not the Pendraed coin.

All that can be surmised is the majority of the collection were acquired before 1606 but remarkably little is known about their 'pedigree'.

Relatively little is known about English collections in the sixteenth century, and even less about the detail of their content, so it is not possible at the moment to establish any earlier pedigree for Cotton's Anglo-Saxon coins


Two separate inventories were undertaken but don't seem to have dealt with Offa

The six coins of Offa present in the Peiresc inventory may also have been owned by Cotton when Tate was compiling his list and broke off before he had reached the letter 'O'... Thus the number of coins added to the collection between the Tate list and the Peiresc inventory is reduced to ten, or possibly just four. The reason why seven coins in Tate were not recorded by Peiresc is unknown, but five of them do not appear again in Cotton's collection. Apart from the possibility of coins having been stolen, misplaced or out on loan, it is possible that some had been disposed of as duplicates in line with Cotton's collecting practice

https://www.britnumsoc.org/publications/Digital%20BNJ/pdfs/2006_BNJ_76_1_7.pdf

That may be standard procedure, obtaining two examples of the same object, but if so what happened to the 'twin'?

Anyway, some coins in the British Museum collection are not listed in the inventories of Cotton's coins; conversely there are coins belonging to Cotton that seem to have got lost/misplaced.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Hatty wrote:

No provenance is given for any of the Anglo-Saxon coins. Only one coin is 'likely' to have a findspot (in France) and it's not the Pendraed coin.



That is a bit problematic around here. Wiley does like a bit of provenance.
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