Viking Coins

Viking coin stamp, with a dedication to St Peter and a Viking sword and hammer - Yorkshire Museum, York

York’s coin-mint, the only one in the region, confirmed the economic importance of the city.  Before the invasion Northumbria’s coins were somewhat shoddy but from about 900 the Vikings were producing silver currency of a quality equal to the rest of England.

There are no detailed written accounts from the time, so this hard currency grants us vital insights into York’s politics.  Some coins demonstrate how Viking rulers worked with the Christian church.  By contrast Jorvik king Olaf Sihtricsson proclaimed his militant independence with coins bearing his title in the Old Norse language.  Later Eric Bloodaxe, York’s last Viking king, used a Viking sword design.  After he left the city it was never used again.

At the end of the 10th century Edgar, king of the Anglo-Saxons, introduced a regularised system of minting.  Coins had to carry both the name of the person who minted them, and the place of origin.  Up to three-quarters of the York coins from the 10th and 11th centuries bear Scandinavian names.


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