Exceptional Anglo-Saxon gold coin acquired with help from The Art Fund

  • 3 April 2004

The Art Fund has helped the British Museum to acquire an exceptionally rare and beautiful Anglo-Saxon coin.

The Art Fund has given a £60,000 grant to the British Museum towards the acquisition of an exceptionally rare and beautiful Anglo-Saxon coin.

 

Discovered in 2001 by a metal detectorist near the River Ivel in Bedfordshire, the coin dates from the 9th century. It depicts Coenwulf King of Mercia (796-821).

 

Of unusually high workmanship and very well preserved, it is one of only 8 mid-late Anglo-Saxon gold coins, and is possibly the first gold currency coin in the name of an English king.

 

The coin was export-stopped by Culture Minister, David Lammy, in August 2005 and awarded a starred rating, meaning that every possible effort should be made to keep it in the country.

 

Acquired by the British Museum for a total cost of £357,832, the Coenwulf coin is the most expensive British coin ever purchased.

 

Additional funding was received from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (£225,000) and the Goldsmiths’ Company (£5,000).

 

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