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Research Coins: Feature Auction

CNG 109, Lot: 781. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $600. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

MEROVINGIANS, Uncertain. temp. Charles Martel – Pépin le Bréf (as Mayor of the Palace), circa 718-750. AR Denier (10mm, 0.57 g, 2h). Large + R[I]; long bar above / Large :AS; long bar above. NM p. 170, 13; Belfort 6636; MEC 1, –; Cf. Chwartz Collection (Crinon-Alde), lot 48 (for type attributed to time of Charles Martel). VF.

Ex Pegasi Inventory 10951616.

One of the difficulties in attributing issues of this period to specific mints or reigns is because well-recognized types were copied or adapted by other local mints and later issuers. This particular denier type demonstrates this problem, since it appears late in the Merovingian period and is echoed stylistically in the early issues of Pépin le Bref (see Triton XVIII, lot 1369 for obverse). The reverse appears in at least four different forms, either forward, or retrograde, and the normal K in the legend, sometimes appears, as in this case, as two pellets, or with nothing at all (see M. Dhénin, BSFN (March 1980), pp. 663-666 [where the coin is firmly attributed to Metz]). Once attributed to the abbey at Chelles (KAS) during the reign of Pépin le Bref (based on the similarity of the obverse), since the time of Prou, who was the first to make note, type has been assigned to the Merovingians (see Chevalier et al., BSFN (June 1988), 6) with two examples of this particular type (with the K reoplaced by two pellets) being found in the vicinity of Aube. The reading of the obverse is more problematic: Crinon, in his note for the Chwartz coin, argues that the macron on the obverse (which he says is the mint) should be taken with the RI to read (TR)I, rather than RI alone. Only further study may find a more agreeable attribution. Owing to the period in which this denier was struck, a time in which the Merovingian kings divested themselves of their powers to rule, this denier would then fall under the time of Charles Martel or Pépin le Bréf, while the latter as Mayor of the Palace, though there is no firm evidence to conclude that they were the actual issuer.