Rare Anglo-Saxon coin fetches $2,960

One of just eight known examples of a silver penny made during the 10-month reign of Anglo-Saxon King Harold II – who would lose the pivotal Battle of Hastings in 1066 along with his life – was sold Thursday for nearly $3,000.

Made in Oxford, the coin was expected to fetch up to $2,400 during the Dec. 2 sale by London auction house Spink. The final sale price in British currency was £1,900, or about $2,960.

The 944-year-old coin was made by a so-called moneyer named Aelfwig during the 10-month reign (Jan. 5, 1066- Oct. 14 1066) of King Harold II, according to the Oxford Mail.

Harold, also known as Harold Godwinson, was killed after being shot in the eye with an arrow at the Battle of Hastings, won by William the Conqueror on Oct. 14,1066.

The victory and Harold’s death – which were memorialized in the famed Bayeux Tapestry – ushered in the Norman Conquest. Harold was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England.

Richard Bishop, head of the coins department at Spink, says the Oxford penny is “super rare.”

In fact, it is so rare that only seven other Harold II pennies from Oxford are known to have survived. Some of these are now owned by museums – including three at the Ashmolean, in Oxford, the Mail reported.

“Harold II pennies are very collectible because of the shortness of the reign,” Bishop told the publication.

The coin in question was found in the ground, but where, how and by whom is not known.

But even though it was buried for nearly a 1,000 years, the coin is described as being in “good, very fine condition.” The coin features the tell-tale letters “OXEN” and also features an image of King Harold, with a sceptre.

(Above: The death of Harold II, second from left, at the Battle of Hastings, as shown in the Bayeux Tapestry.)

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