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Research Coins: Feature Auction

 
89001946

Enigmatic Issue in the Name of Thymn

Triton XV, Lot: 1946. Estimate $4000.
Sold for $4250. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

IRELAND, Hiberno-Norse. temp. Sihtric III Olafsson. 995-1036. AR Penny (19mm, 1.27 g, 6h). Phase I coinage, Long Cross type, in the name of Thymn. Difelin (Dublin) mint signature; ‘Fienemin,’ moneyer. Struck circa 1010-1020. + ÐУMN RΘEX MNEÐI, draped bust right; pellet behind neck / + FIE NEMI N M'Θ ÐУMI, voided long cross, with triple crescent ends. SCBI 22 (Copenhagen), 19 (same dies); SCBI 32 (Belfast), 26 (same dies); SCBC 6108. Choice EF, attractively toned, small peck mark on the reverse. Very rare.


Ex Baldwin’s 57 (23 September 2008), lot 382.

These coins in the name of Thymn are quite enigmatic. Although it is tempting to ascribe them to one of the many issues with blundered inscriptions, the consistency of this legend across many dies assures us that the inscription is intentional. Earlier numismatists attributed them to a ‘Donald, king of Monaghan,’ but as there is no evidence of any such historical king, this identification has been dropped. Some have also ascribed the coins to a Norse rival of Sihtrics, but this is also unsupported by other evidence (E. Colgan, For Want of Good Money, the story of Ireland’s coinage (Wordwell, 2003), p. 5). Nonetheless, hoard evidence (esp. Igelösa and List) place these issues in the later part of Phase I (see M. Blackburn, ‘Presidential Address. Currency under the Vikings. Part 4. The Dublin Coinage c. 995-c. 1050,” BNJ 78 [2008], pp. 131-2).