Description

A piedfort is an unusually thick coin, often exactly twice the normal weight and thickness of other coins of the same diameter and pattern. Piedforts are not normally circulated, and are only struck for presentation purposes by mint officials (such as patterns), or for collectors, dignitaries, and other VIPs.

Known for his military successes and far-sighted cultural reforms, Alfred the Great is one of the most influential monarchs in British history. For 2021, The Royal Mint has struck a new UK coin to pay tribute to this visionary monarch who built the foundations for Britain’s future. 2021 is the 1150th anniversary of the accession of Alfred the Great to the throne. This is the oldest anniversary to ever be celebrated on a UK coin.

Alfred the Great (848/49 – 899) was king of the West Saxons from 871 to c. 886 and king of the Anglo-Saxons from c. 886 to 899. He was the youngest son of King Æthelwulf, who died when Alfred was young. Three of Alfred's brothers, Æthelbald, Æthelberht and Æthelred, reigned in turn before him.

After ascending the throne, Alfred spent several years fighting Viking invasions. He won a decisive victory in the Battle of Edington in 878 and made an agreement with the Vikings, creating what was known as the Danelaw in the North of England. Alfred also oversaw the conversion of Viking leader Guthrum to Christianity. He defended his kingdom against the Viking attempt at conquest, becoming the dominant ruler in England.

Alfred had a reputation as a learned and merciful man of a gracious and level-headed nature who encouraged education, proposing that primary education be conducted in Old English rather than Latin and improving the legal system and military structure and his people's quality of life. He was given the epithet "the Great" in the 16th century. Alfred is the only King to be referred to as 'the Great'.

Obverse

The fifth crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the George IV State Diadem and drop earrings.

The George IV State Diadem, officially the Diamond Diadem, is a type of crown that was made in 1820 for King George IV. The diadem is worn by queens and queens consort in procession to coronations and State Openings of Parliament. The piece of jewelry has been featured in paintings and on stamps and currency. It can be seen in the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace.

ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FIDEI DEFENSATRIX means Elizabeth II, by the grace of God, Queen and Defender of the Faith.

ELIZABETH II·D·G·REG·F·D·5 POUNDS·
J.C

Reverse

Depicts Alfred the Great, his name and date of the accession above, date below.

The design was inspired by the Alfred Jewel, a piece of Anglo-Saxon goldsmithing work made of enamel and quartz enclosed in gold. It was discovered in 1693, in North Petherton, Somerset, England and is now one of the most popular exhibits at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. It has been dated to the late 9th century, in the reign of Alfred the Great and is inscribed "aelfred mec heht gewyrcan", meaning "Alfred ordered me made". The jewel was once attached to a rod, probably of wood, at its base. After decades of scholarly discussion, it is now "generally accepted" that the jewel's function was to be the handle for a pointer stick for following words when reading a book. It is an exceptional and unusual example of Anglo-Saxon jewellery.

Engraver: John Bergdahl

· ALFRED THE GREAT 871 ·
JB
2021

Edge

The edge inscription is from the Alfred Jewel meaning "Alfred ordered me made".

AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN

Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Non-circulating)
Material Silver
Fineness 0.925
Weight 56.56 g
Diameter 38.61 mm
Thickness -
Shape round
Alignment Medal
Mint
Royal Mint

Related coins

5th portrait, Silver Proof Coin

1150th Anniversary of the Accession of Alfred the Great to the Throne

Silver, 28.28 g, ⌀ 38.61 mm
5th portrait, Gold Proof Coin

1150th Anniversary of the Accession of Alfred the Great to the Throne

Gold, 39.94 g, ⌀ 38.61 mm