Mercia

Kings of Mercia

Silver Penny of Offa

757-880 AD


Monetary System

The monetary system employed by the Kings of Mercia was that of the silver penny. This relatively new denominations was first introduced to Europe as the silver “denier” in France by Pepin in 755 AD (house ofCharlemagne). We find that this new restoration of the old Romandenarius quickly spread throughout Europe and England was no exception. The English translation for “denier” was “penny” and this new silver coin was most likely first issued in England by Offa, King of Mercia (757-796). Offa was a very powerful king and quite wealthy at that. He is also noted for introducing a Gold penny with his portrait facing right (unique).

Offa’s contribution to the monetary system of England is significant. His introduction of the silver penny into England led to its acceptance and spread to other regions. Within a few years, silver pennies were being struck by the Kings of Kent and the Archbishops of Canterbury. This new denomination would become the cornerstone of the English monetary system for the next 500 years and remain as the base unit of account even into modern times. The silver half-pence appears around 871 AD in southern England.

Kings of Mercia

Offa (757-796)

AU Denier(imitation of Arabic gold)
AU Penny
AR Penny

Cynethryth (wife of Offa)

AE Penny

Eadberht (787/789)

AR Penny

Coenwulf(796-821)

AR Penny

Ceolwulf I (821-823)

AR Penny

Beornwulf (823-825)

AR Penny

Wiglaf (827-829)

AR Penny

Berhtwulf (840-852)

AR Penny

Burgred (852-874)

AR Penny

Ceolwulf II (874-880)

AR Penny


Monetary History of the World

by Martin A. Armstrong

© Princeton Economic Institute