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8. Early Medieval Lincoln Coin Die and Seal Matrix

11th Century seal matrix for sealing documents with wax

Viking Lincoln was a vibrant place, and it became one of the most important towns in England.

Only important towns were allowed to have ‘mints’, places where coins were made. Lincoln and Stamford had mints for over 300 years, and Lincoln’s was the biggest in the country outside London. This iron die would have been used to stamp a design on to a silver penny. The die was used by a moneyer called Colgrim to strike coins in the reign of the Saxon king Aethelred, just over a thousand years ago.

This rare 11th Century seal matrix for sealing documents with wax, was excavated at Hungate, Lincoln in 1985. The matrix is of walrus ivory, and depicts a monk praying, with the hands of God blessing him from the clouds. The matrix is one of only six known of this date, and bears the unique legend ‘SIGNO SIGILLATUR LEGATIO’, indicating the seal was owned by a Papal Legate, an important Catholic, presumably in Lincoln on church work. It shows the importance of the City at this time as an ecclesiastical centre.

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Last updated: 22 February 2011

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