Stolen coin makes return to Cambs museum after 40 years

Coenwulf silver penny

Coenwulf silver penny - Credit: Archant

A COIN stolen from the Norris Museum in St Ives in 1964 is back on display in the town after turning up in a sale Down Under.

Found in Monkswood, north of Huntingdon, in 1936, it dated from the time of Coenwulf of Mercia (796-821), the Anglo-Saxon King of Mercia, East Anglia and Kent. Known as the Coenwulf coin, it had been minted at Canterbury.

It was given to the Huntingdon Literary and Scientific Institute and passed to the museum, in The Broadway, when the institute closed in 1959.

Following the theft, which involved a number of coins, all but two were discovered at an auction in London in 1993. The Coenwulf, pictured, was one of those still missing.

In 2002, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge was informed that a coin bought in a sale in Australia had been recognised as the missing Coenwulf. The purchaser contacted the Fitzwilliam to arrange for its return. An agreement was made between the Fitzwilliam and Norris museums that it would go first to Cambridge for research.


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In December, the coin was returned to St Ives and is now on display with other items from the same period.

? The Norris Museum is taking part in Museums at Night and is inviting people to view its collection on an evening visit.

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Entertainment will be provided by the town’s Phoenix Players, and refreshments will be served.

Assistant curator Gilly Vose said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to put on a different kind of museum event, creating a relaxed evening mood with mellow live music to entertain visitors as they explore the displays.”

The museum will be open from 6pm to 8pm on Thursday, May 16.

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