Silver Penny of Harold I, Essex

front and back of a silver penny coin

A silver penny issued by the 11th century monarch Harold I, also often known as Harold Harefoot (he is said to have received the name for his speed and skill as a hunter).

The penny survives in remarkably good condition. On the obverse we can see a classical style diademed bust of Harold facing left surrounded by the legend ‘HARO-LD REX’. The reverse legend ‘P.VLF.PINE ON HUNT’ tells us that it was minted by Wulfwine of Huntingdon. Based on the style of the cross on the reverse we can date when the coin was minted to between Spring AD 1036 and Autumn AD 1037.

Harold was the son of Cnut the Great and Ælfgifu of Northampton, born around AD 1016. Cnut originally left the throne to Harold’s half-brother Harthacnut, but because he was in Denmark at the time of his father’s death, Harold took the throne instead.

Harold reigned for only a short period, between AD 1035 and 1040, dying from a mystery illness around the age of only 24. Upon his death Harthacnut ascended to the throne and ordered Harold’s body, buried in Westminster Abby, to be exhumed and thrown into the river Thames. The body was later found by fishermen and reburied.

View the full record on the Portable Antiquities Scheme database

Thank you to the finder for allowing this object to be featured.

This find was recorded by the Suffolk Finds Recording Team, supported by the Portable Antiquities Scheme.

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