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Home > Auctions > 19th June 2013 > World Frisian - Pseudo Carolingian Gold Mancus

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LOT 0121

Sold for (Inc. bp): £70,180

(4.09 grams.).

8th-9th century AD; copying a Carolingian monogram type denier. Obv: KAROLVS monogram around cross with lozenge centre. Rev: AVR ODI[S?] inscription divided by horizontal line with extensions with trefoil of pellets below. Good very fine; edge perhaps slightly smoothed. Unique.

Ex UK collection; formerly in a Belgian private collection (1950s) and M. Sabatier of Bordeaux, France (acquired before 1906 from a jeweller in Brive-la-Gaillarde); presumed found France, before circa 1900; with a copy of the Le sou d'or d'Uzes paper.

M. Sabatier, Revue Numismatique, 4th series, volume x, pages LXXIV-LXXXII, 1906 (this coin); Grierson, P. Le sou d'or d'Uzes, in Le Moyen Age, 1954, pages 293-309 (particularly pages 306-309), with plate, coin number 3 (this coin) and reprinted D A N, number XXIV; MEC 1, page 328 (this coin).

The date range for post-reform Carolingian monogram deniers is around 794-884 AD and the obverse of this piece is clearly copied from the general type and Grierson discusses similar pieces. The two line inscriptional reverse type, with centre line, is more reminiscient of pre-reform styles and it is also during this general period that the gold 'dinar' and 'penny' of Offa and the mancus of Coenwulf were produced in England. The significance of the reverse inscription may possibly relate to Orleans (AVR[VM] from Aurelianum or Aureliana Civitas) although no surviving pre-reform Orleans coin is known. The lower line is ODI with a possible end letter S (a curved element with pellet at each end resembles some elongated forms of this letter) and could represent a moneyer name or abbreviation. Although generally of quite good style, it is not believed that this is likely to be an official Carolingian issue and, although the English parallel for unique gold coins exists, it is felt that a Frisian origin is more likely; possibly intended for jewellery rather than coinage use and the evidence of slight rounding to the flan that might have been associated with mounting might bear this suggestion out.