Silver coin; Denomination, Penny
London Mint
Aethelred II, (978-1016)
Moneyer: Wulfmaer; Type: Second Hand (985-991)

Aethelred II ascended the throne after the murder of his half-brother, Edward the Martyr, by Aethelred's retainers when the king had come to visit him on the evening of 18 March 978. His reign saw increasing raids from Denmark both in number and strength, culminating in the Danish conquest of England under Cnut.

During the reign Aethelred a variety of different reverse designs were produced. These were part of a deliberate policy to raise revenue by periodic demonetization of the old designs. When new coins were struck the king would take a share of the silver used and the Exchequer would charge the mints for the new dies. In addition, the removal of old coins would help keep the coins in circulation at correct weight.

Aethelred died in London on 23 April 1016 and was succeeded by his son Eadmund.

Aethelred became known to history as the Unready. Unready is a mistranslation of the Old English - Æþelræd Unræd which translates to 'noble counsel no counsel'. His name meant 'noble counsel' and the epitaph suggested he received poor advice. However, the later victory of Cnut marking a successful Danish conquest of England has meant Aethelred the Unready has been adopted.

Obverse Description

A diademed bust of the King bearing sceptre with trefoil head facing right within a line circle, around, + AEDELRED REX ANGLOX

Reverse Description

The Hand of Providence with curves at sides of sleeve (representing clouds); at sides of hand A W (alpha and omega) all within a line circle; around, + PVLFMAER M-O LVN

Edge Description


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