Rare Dutch Dark Ages coin discovered

The newly discovered sceatta coin, photo by William Posthouwer

Does this newly discovered Dutch early medieval silver coin depict a curlew on one side? This sceatta coin type often depicted curlews.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In the neighbourhood of Born town in Limburg province, a coin that was more than a thousand years old was taken out of the ground. It is a so-called sceatta coin from the early Middle Ages. Sceatta is an old Germanic word for ‘treasure’.

William Posthouwer from Born discovered the coin with his metal detector. Where exactly he does not want to say, because he first wants to thoroughly search the area himself. Posthouwer is more often looking for treasures. “But this is my most extraordinary find so far”, Posthouwer tells 1Limburg regional broadcasting organisation.


The coin is very special for Limburg, says Paul Beliën. Belïen ​​works at De Nederlandsche Bank and is a specialist in the field of historical coins. “This sceatta is of the continental runic type and was struck around 700 AD.”

The time of Frisian King Redbad.

“3000 sceattas have been found in the Netherlands”, says Beliën. “A few hundred of them are of this runic type.” Of those thousands of sceattas, 24 were found in Limburg, according to the specialist. “Only four of them are of the rarely found continental runic type.”

Frisian coin

According to Beliën, the fact that the sceatta is hardly found in Limburg is because the coin was mainly used by the Frisians. They used to live along the North Sea coast, from Zeeland to Denmark. “That is why the coin is seldom found in Limburg.”

Limburg then was not Frisian, but part of the Frankish kingdom.

According to Beliën, little can be said about the current value of the currency. Historical sources show that in the Middle Ages [about 800 AD] you needed 36 sceattas to buy a cow.

And 84 for a sword; and 144 for a horse.


1 thought on “Rare Dutch Dark Ages coin discovered

  1. Pingback: Dutch museum buys ancient Viking ring | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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