The medieval period was a time of knights, castles, kings, and queens, which still fascinate many people. Collector's search for memorabilia that represents this period, such as Saxon coins that have survived many centuries. Collectibles, such as coins, are made from a range of materials and have a variety of styles. Collectors of Saxon coins often look for pieces that belong to specific eras.
Early Saxon Collectibles
Gold Saxon coins, called tremissis, weigh nearly 4 grams. They were highly valued in their time and people often gave them as gifts or wore them as jewellery. Early versions imitated Roman coins and many had misspellings. Hammered designs on the coins include faces, numerals, letters, and borders of vine. The coins frequently feature the name of the contemporary ruler, which helps to identify them. Silver eventually replaced gold as the primary metal for coins. The Eanred of Northumbria coin has a low silver content and commemorates a king from the early ninth century.
Middle Saxon Collectibles
Middle Saxon coins, from 780 to 973, introduced the half penny. The coins are thin, fragile, and made from a variety of metals, including silver, bronze, and brass. These coins typically commemorate the Kings of Wessex, Mercia, and East Anglia, in addition to the Archbishop of Canterbury. In this period, lettering and numbering on the coins became more refined.
Viking Period Saxon Collectibles
During the time of the Viking invasion, new coins had traditional designs mixed with Viking elements. Viking coins were made of silver and had a more elaborate style. The rare Harold I penny was frequently minted in East Anglia and York, and is sought after by collectors. Other Viking coins include the Cnut and Saint Edmund. The Cnut Quatrefoil is a penny cut in half and features one part of a pointed cross. The Cnut short cross has a hammered face on one side with a four-pointed cross on the other. The pointed helmet Cnut has a profile of a man's face with a pointed helmet on the front, with a cross surrounded by lettering on the back.
Late Saxon Collectibles
Coins from the late Saxon period include farthings, which were pennies cut into quarters. Towards the end of this period, over 90 mints manufactured coins. Hammered coins feature an image of the king's head on one side. They were mainly made of silver, and were melted and restruck every six years. Coins honouring Edward the Confessor feature a pointed cross and helmet design.