NORFOLK Museums Service
Ship Penny of Athelstan - Front View

Ship Penny of Athelstan

This coin dates from the Middle Anglo-Saxon period. It was issued by the East Anglian king Æthelstan, who reigned between about 830-845AD. The coin was found at Harling in Norfolk.

On one side of the coin we can see the outline of a ship. During Æthelstan’s reign trade with continental Europe was bringing wealth to the region. The ship design is a celebration of that trade. It also copies the design of other Continental coins. By using a ship on his coins Æthelstan was showing his importance as a European ruler.

The coin is made of silver, measures about 2cm in diameter and was found in fairly good condition. Unfortunately it was broken in two after it was found, you can see clearly where it’s been mended.

This is the only type of this coin to have been found so far.