London. June 28, 2012. Today Spink, the world’s premier auction house for collectables, sold the first known coin ever issued in Scotland for the staggering price of £8,400. The penny, discovered near Harrogate in North Yorkshire in 1998, is one of less than only ten known examples ever found and existing today, making it exceptionally rare. The coin was purchased by a private collector in the room, for more than three times its pre-sale low estimate of £2,500 at Spink’s UK headquarters in London.
Speaking after the sale, William Mackay, British Coin Specialist at Spink, said: “This is a truly historic coin, as it is the first ever issued for Scotland, which explains the considerable interest in it. The buyer has acquired a very special piece of Scottish history and I am delighted that its significance has been acknowledged in this way, by achieving a well-deserved price.”
This rare first coin of Scotland was produced in Carlisle, Cumberland. Henry I of England (d.1135) had established a mint there, which is thought to have made silver pennies, using the silver from mines in the North Pennines. In 1136 David I of Scotland (1124-53) took over Cumberland and with it, the Carlisle Mint. He continued to strike silver pennies there, but from that moment on, they were produced in his own name as King of Scotland. In so doing the first Scottish coinage was created. Previous to this, no coins had been issued by the Scots.
This coin was produced by Erebald, the same person as those of Carlisle, for Henry I during his rule and are similar in type as those issued for Henry I, with one difference, that they were produced in the name of David I, King of Scotland.
David I, of Scotland who had lands in England, played a leading part in the early troubled years of the reign of King Stephen of England (1135-54) and invaded the north of England. In the absence of Stephen, who was engaged in the south, the northern barons led by Thurstan, Archbishop of York, gathered an army and defeated David I at the Battle of the Standard near Northallerton in North Yorkshire in August 1138. The loss of this coin, found near Harrogate is believed to be associated with his invasion of the north and subsequent defeat.
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