Continental imitation sterling penny, Fressingfield

Front and reverse of coin

A Continental imitation sterling penny of Gaucher of Chatillon was found by a local metal detector user near Fressingfield earlier this year.

The obverse of the coin features a crowned bust and the legend reads GALChs COMES [P]Orc, which means Gaucher, Count of Porcien. The reverse of the coin features a long cross dividing the legend, with four pellets in each quarter. The legend reads MON/ETA/OVA [YVE], which means the coin was minted in Ypes, then in the County of Flanders, in the Kingdom of France. The coin was issued between 1313 and 1322.

Guacher of Chatilllon lived between circa 1249 and 1329. In addition to being the Count of Porcien, he was constable of Champagne in 1284 and then was Constable of France from 1302 until his death. The Constable of France was the most senior of the five major Offices of the Crown of France.

The eagle-eyed among you will note that the style of the bust on the obverse and the design of the long cross on the back is similar to that of the long cross English sterling penny. The long cross penny was introduced in England in 1279 under the reign of Edward I (AD 1279-1307). Increased trade between England and the Continent led to the circulation of English coinage abroad in the 13th and 14th centuries. The high standard of Edwardian pennies resulted in the design being utilised in Europe, particularly in north-west Germany and the Low Countries. Consequently, Continental pennies came into circulation alongside Edwardian pennies in England. Most Continental imitation pennies date to before 1300, as a recoinage in 1300 to 1301 attempted to eradicate them from circulation. This example, however, shows that the recoinage was not entirely successful.  

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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