One of Preston’s rarest and most valuable coins is set to fetch around £16,500 at an auction later this month.
The silver cross and lozenge type penny was part of the so-called Cuerdale Hoard found by workmen repairing the south bank of the river Ribble, near Preston on May 15,1840.
The hoard, of more than 8,600 items including silver coins, ingots and jewellery, was the largest Viking silver hoard ever found outside Russia.
The British Museum regards it as one of the top ten British archeological finds of all time.
It is thought that the treasure was buried between 903 and 910, soon after the Vikings were expelled from Dublin in 902.
At this time the Ribble Valley was an important Viking route between the Irish Sea and York. The presence of large numbers of newly minted Norse coins from York and large amounts of Irish Norse bullion suggests that the Cuerdale Hoard may have been a war chest belonging to Irish Norse exiles hoping to re-occupy Dublin from the Ribble Estuary.
In 1963, only nine coins from the reign of Ceolwulf II – including the Preston penny – were known to have survived, although a few others have emerged since then thanks to the introduction of metal detectors.
In recent years, the Preston penny, struck or made by a moneyer named Liofvald has been languishing in America.
It was sold for £2,860 by New York coin dealer, Lawrence R Stack, at Sotheby’s in London on April 22,1999 when it was described as “extremely rare.”
Then it was acquired by wealthy Beverly Hills pathologist, Jacob Y Terner.
Now it is up for sale again but this time it is expected to sell for between £15,000 and £18,000 in London on September 22. Auctioneers Spink say that the Preston penny is “of great interest and rarity.”
They say: “In 1963,surviving specimens of Ceolwulf amounted to nine and of these nine, five were in museums (four in the British Museum and one in the Hunterian). Since the onset of metal detecting other pieces have surfaced but in very low numbers.
“The current piece is, without doubt, one of the finest specimens,as well as having a superb 174 year old provenance.”