King Alfred ('The Great')

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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King Alfred ('The Great')

by Unknown artist
silver penny, circa 887
3/4 in. (19 mm) diameter
Purchased, 1962
Primary Collection
NPG 4269

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  • Unknown artist, Artist. Artist or producer associated with 6578 portraits.

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In the Anglo-Saxon era, portraits on coins were intended as emblems of kingship rather than individual likenesses. However, they demonstrate how leaders could reinforce their claim to rule by disseminating their own image on objects that were used and exchanged on a daily basis. The ruler’s portrait also provided confidence in the legitimacy of the coinage.

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