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A Parcel of Coins from the Cuerdale Hoard

A group of 22 coins from the Cuerdale Hoard, Lancashire, 1840, with accompanying documents, a rare and important group with a superb provenance (for sale as a lot). $29,995  NOW $27,995

The Cuerdale Hoard was discovered by workmen on the banks of the river Ribble near Preston, Lancashire on May 15th, 1840.  Consisting of around a 1,000 ozs of silver ingots and over 7,000 coins, it is still today the largest hoard of Viking silver ever found in the British Isles, and the largest in Europe outside of Russia (more information below).

Mr. Gareth Williams of the British Museum has confirmed  from its records that this group of coins and several small silver ingots (now missing) was awarded to Sir John Campbell by the Duchy of Lancaster when the hoard was dispersed.

 

 

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A letter from Sir David Dundas, 2nd Baronet (1803-1877) to the Honorable Mary Scarlett Campbell (1827 - after 1901), dated April 8th, 1862, written shortly after the death of her father Sir John Campbell:
"Inner Temple ..
8 April 1862
Dear Miss Campbell,
About 20 years ago, a great quantity of coins and of silver were found at Cuerdale, in Lancashire, 10,000 coins. Most of them like you entrusted me with last Saturday.
Strange to say, it is uncertain when they were struck, or how they came there. King Kenneth of Scotland is thought to be the monarch whose name is upon many of them - upon yours for instance - but I am not satisfied that this is the case.
For more safety I placed the coins in your brothers hands last night and whom it be for at Stratheden House.
Farewell.
Yours Sincerely,
 D. Dundas "

The Honorable Mary Scarlett Campbell, of Stratheden House, Knightsbridge, London was the daughter of Sir John Campbell, 1st Baron Campbell of St. Andrews (1779-1861) who it can be assumed she inherited the coins from, he having died the previous June. The letter and accompanying descriptions of the coins, in which they were wrapped are the work of Sir David Dundas, a family friend asked to indentify the coins. Dundas was a solicitor (QC) and politician. By 1862 he was in retirement and served as a Trustee of the British Museum, perhaps explaining his knowledge of the Cuerdale Hoard and the coins. The coins came into the possession of Sir John Campbell because of his connections with the Duchy of Lancaster, he held the office of Chancellor of the Duchy (1846-1850) and it was the Duchy that distributed the coins to over 170 recipients. The British Museum have confirmed  from its records that this group of coins and several small silver ingots (now missing) was awarded to Sir John Campbell by the Duchy of Lancaster when the hoard was dispersed.

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A letter from Miss Helen Farquhar (1859-1953) to George C. Brooke at the British Museum, dated March 14th, the year not given but very early 1900's as her friend Miss Campbell is still alive:

"11 Belgrave Square
SW
March 14th

Dear Mr. Brooke,
My friend Miss Campbell brought me some coins to identify. I think they are Cnut are they not?
She is a great friend and I should be grateful if you would help her as much as you can.
I was much disappointed not to be able to come in again but the weather and my cold conspired against me.
You will be glad to hear I have had a fairly good accounts of Mr. Gauchard from Paris - [...........]
Yours Sincerely,
Helen Farquhar."
 

Helen Farquhar was a famous collector of Charles I coins and medallions and clearly a friend of of Miss Campbell. George Cyril Brooke of the British Museums Department of Coins and Medals was a respect author and authority on British coins.

As is evident from the images below and in common with hoard coins some of the coins have a slight wave in the flan.
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Folder paper wrapper in the hand of Sir David Dundas,  describing the 12 coins it contained.

Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.11g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 1st and 4th angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck.

Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.36g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 1st and 4th angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck.

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Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.51g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 1st and 4th angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), slightly doublestruck on obverse otherwise attractive hoard toning, practically as struck.

Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.39g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 1st and 4th angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck.

Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.27g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 1st and 4th angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck.

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Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.34g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 2nd and 3rd angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck.

Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.38g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 1st and 4th angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck.

Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.46g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 2nd and 3rd angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck.

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Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.46g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 1st and 4th angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck.

Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.22g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 1st and 4th angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck.

Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.33g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 1st and 4th angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck.

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Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.30g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 1st and 4th angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck.

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Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.31g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 1st and 4th angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck, with folder paper wrapper with description in the hand of Sir David Dundas.

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Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.23g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 2nd and 3rd angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck, with folder paper wrapper with description in the hand of Sir David Dundas.

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Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.27g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 2nd and 3rd angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, cracked to centre of coin but intact, with folder paper wrapper with description in the hand of Sir David Dundas.

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Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.36g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 1st and 4th angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning and dirt, practically as struck, with folder paper wrapper with description in the hand of Sir David Dundas.

Click on image to enlarge.

Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.36g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 1st and 4th angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning and dirt, practically as struck, with folder paper wrapper with description in the hand of Sir David Dundas.

Click on image to enlarge.

Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.09g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 2nd and 3rd angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck, with folder paper wrapper with description in the hand of Sir David Dundas.

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Viking Kingdom of York, "Hunedeus and Cnut", 'Cunetti' Group (c.895-902), Penny, 1.38g., York mint, small cross with pellet in 1st and 4th angle, +CVNNETTI around, rev., CR T EN (Cnut Rex) around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angle of the smaller cross, (N.501; S.993), attractive hoard toning, practically as struck, with folder paper wrapper with description in the hand of Sir David Dundas.

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Folder paper wrapper in the hand of Sir David Dundas, describing the 3 coins it contained.

Carolingian Empire, Charles the Bald (840-877), Silver Denier, Melle Mint (Deux-Sèvres, France), 1.44g., Posthumous Immobilized types (late 9th century), +CAROLVS REX, around small cross within a circle, rev., the Karolus monogram, +METxVLO, (Depeyrot 626; MEC pl.42, cf 940-946), toned, very fine.

Carolingian Empire, Charles the Bald (840-877), Silver Denier, Melle Mint (Deux-Sèvres, France), 1.40g., Posthumous Immobilized types (late 9th century), +CAROLVS REX, around small cross within a circle, rev., the Karolus monogram, +METxVLO, (Depeyrot 626; MEC pl.42, cf 940-946), toned, very fine.

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Carolingian Empire, Charles the Bald (840-877), Silver Denier, Melle Mint (Deux-Sèvres, France), 1.31g., Posthumous Immobilized types (late 9th century), +CAROLVS REX, around small cross within a circle, rev., the Karolus monogram, +METxVLO, (Depeyrot 626; MEC pl.42, cf 940-946), toned, cracked, very fine.

The Cuerdale Hoard

The Cuerdale Hoard was discovered by workmen on the banks of the river Ribble near Preston, Lancashire on May 15th, 1840.  Consisting of around a 1,000 ozs of silver ingots and over 7,000 coins, it is still today the largest hoard of Viking silver ever found in the British Isles, and the largest in Europe outside of Russia. The majority of the hoard was seized by the landowner's bailiff; the laborers were allowed to retain one coin each for themselves. It was declared Treasure Trove at an inquest on 15 August 1840, the property of Queen Victoria in right of her Duchy of Lancaster; the Duchy then passed it to the British Museum for examination prior to its distribution to over 170 recipients. The lion's share, however, was allocated to the British Museum. The coinage of the Viking kingdom of York during this period is almost unknown outside of this find.

Buried in a lead chest around A.D. 905 - 910, the coins reflected the trading and cultural contacts of the Vikings who once owned the treasure. In addition to c.5000 newly minted coins of the Viking Kingdoms of York and East Anglia, there were c.1000 Anglo-Saxon issues, c.1000 Carolingian issues and a handful of Kufic, early Scandinavian and 1 Byzantine one.

The reasons for it's burial and moreover it's non-recovery will never be exactly known. However, its find spot may provide the best clue. Cuerdale is located at the start of an overland route from York to the Irish Sea and from there on to Dublin. We know from historical sources that the Vikings were expelled from Dublin A.D. 902 and it has been speculated that was deposited during their flight and subsequently not recovered. Whatever the exact reason there is a strong Irish dimension to the hoard from both its location and from some of the silver jewelry in the hoard.

Lyon and Stewart have suggested that the enigmatic legend 'CVNNETTI" maybe a Latinized rendering of Hunedeus, an historically attested Viking leader, who held power at York with the otherwise unknown Cnut (BAR 180, p.348).