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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Extremely Rare Torksey Penny

CNG 109, Lot: 880. Estimate $3000.
Sold for $2500. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

ANGLO-SAXON, Kings of All England. Cnut. 1016-1035. AR Penny (18.5mm, 1.01 g, 9h). Pointed Helmet type (BMC xiv; Hild. G). Torksey mint; Thorketill, moneyer. Struck 1024-1030. + ·CNVT R EX ΛN, bust left, wearing pointed helmet; trefoil-tipped scepter before / + ÐORCETL ON TOR, voided short cross, limbs united at base by two concentric circles with pellet in center; in each angle, broken annulet enclosing pellet. SCBI 15 (Copenhagen), 3879 (same dies); North 787; SCBC 1158. VF, toned. Extremely rare mint.

The small village of Torksey is situated on the eastern bank of the River Trent at the entrance to the Roman canal system, known in later times as the Foss Dyke, that connects the river to the city of Lincoln some ten miles to the southeast. The strategic importance of Torksey was recognized by the leaders of the Great Heathen Army who chose it as their winter quarters in 872/3. A mint was opened there during the reign of Edward the Martyr but output was very limited and sporadic. The vast flow of coin from nearby Lincoln would have more than satisfied any local demand. Staffed by moneyers usually found striking at Lincoln, Torksey only seems to have been brought into use when the need to raise the massive Danegelds, required to pay off marauding Viking armies, necessitated a huge increase in production across the country. The helmet type of Cnut was the last issue at Torksey.