Duchy of Beneventum. -
Duchy of Beneventum, Arichis II (764-774), AV Solidus, DNS VI | CTORIA, crowned, draped, facing bust, globus cruciger left, rev. VICTIR | GVSTI, cross potent on steps, pellet cross above, chevron A in left field, CONOB in exergue, N retrograde, 3.79g, 180° (SCBI 69, 1071 this coin; SNC CXIX [March 2011], pp. 3-4, no. 1; cf. BMC 4-5, pl. XXII, nos. 10-11; cf. MEC I, class II, nos. 1094- 95; CNI, XVIII, pp. 151-52, nos. 7-13; Lafaurie and Morrisson, 1987, pp. 47),
Of historic importance, being the first example recorded in the archaeological context of Anglo-Saxon England.
Images and selected text reproduced by kind permission of Spink and Son Ltd, London, auction 21000, The Tony Abramson Collection of Dark Age Coinage - Part I, March 18th 2021, lot # 2. Provenance: Spink 207, 23-24 March 2011, lot 1112 ~ Found Alnwick (Northumberland), c. 1960 ~ 'Said to have been found by a council gardener-cum-farmhand', whose finds were reported to the Portable Antiquities Scheme after his death [PAS: NCL-F02EB5].
Tony Abramson comments.... This solidus of Duke Arichis II of Beneventum (764-774.), unearthed around 1960 at Alnwick, Northumbria, is an unusual find. Arichis, of Lombardic descent, was a notable patron of culture so such a handsome coin is no surprise. The Franks, under Charlemagne, had invaded northern Italy and brought Beneventum under considerable pressure. It is conceivable that the location of this find evidences Arichis’ emissaries reaching out to forge an alliance to resist Charlemagne’s expansionism.
One can surmise that the recipient, being unfamiliar with the type, needed to test the metal. Fortunately, this does not disfigure the motifs.