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|The Kingdom of Mercia - Cynethryth, wife of Offa (757-796)|
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H4421 - The Kingdom of Mercia, Cynethryth, wife of Offa (757-796), Silver Penny, 0.98g., Canterbury mint, moneyer Eoba, struck c.780-784, diademed and draped bust right, EOBA in front, rev., +CYNERY REGINA around letter M in central circle, (Blunt 120; Chick 147; N.339; S.909), toned, very fine, small edge nick at 5 o'clock and slightly creased across face otherwise a full round coin, good metal, sound fabric, extremely rare and of the highest historical importance. $22,995 NOW $18,995 SOLD
This issue is the only Anglo-Saxon coinage struck in the name of a Queen, a status also unparalleled in contemporary Western Europe. It is therefore the first coinage struck in the name of a female ruler from the British Isles and the only one where the consort of a living ruler appears in her own right. We know from the historical record that Cynethryth was a powerful figure with some considerable political gravitas of her own, signing charters jointly with her husband and even named jointly with her husband in a privilege of Pope Hadrian I. Alcuin of York, advisor to Charlemagne, referred to her as dispensatrix domus regiae ('controller of the royal household'). Inspiration for the issue would have undoubtedly come from Roman Imperial practice and was perhaps also done in emulation of the contemporary named issues of the Byzantine empress Irene.