Penny made in ‘Haesting’ makes £700

Silver penny coined in Hastings in Edward the Confessor's reign
Silver penny coined in Hastings in Edward the Confessor's reign

A SILVER penny made in Hastings more than nine hundred years ago - before the Battle of Hastings - has fetched £700at auction.

It was bought by a mystery bidder for more than double the expected sale price at Spink auction rooms in London on Wednesday.The penny features the word ‘Haesting’ and was made in the town by a so-called moneyer named Brid during the 24-year reign (June 8, 1042 to January 5, 1066) of King Edward The Confessor, who was succeeded in 1066 by King Harold.

Despite its age it is in “good very fine” condition,say auctioneers Spink.

Apparently there was a mint in Hastings during the reign (924-940) of King Athlestan one hundred years before King Edward The Confessor came to the throne.

Coins expert Caroline Dudley said, in her essay Saxon and Medieval Mints and Moneyers in Sussex: “No coins from the reign of Athelstan are known from Hastings, although there is always the possibility that they were operating without using a mint name.

Coins of King Ethelread’s ‘second hand’ issue are also the first recognised from Hastings (Ethelred The Unready reigned between 978 and 1016)......once it opened sometime between 985 and 991, its progress is extremely steady and its output in terms of issues struck and moneyers in business is remarkably regular.

“Chichester, Lewes, Hastings and Steyning minted steadily throughout the Confessor’s reign until 1065, when we have no example of the last type of the reign from Hastings.

“Between 1017 and 1023 five moneyers worked at Hastings as opposed to a normal quota of two or three.”

Moneyers - such as Brid of Hastings - needed to be very careful. For they were personally responsible for ensuring that the weight and silver-fineness of the coins they produced were correct. If they got it wrong, they were severely punished.

Some erring moneyers were mutilated and, in some cases, executed.