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Research Coins: Feature Auction


Silver Ingot From The Pimprez Hoard

CNG 106, Lot: 1112. Estimate $1000.
Sold for $2100. This amount does not include the buyer’s fee.

NORMAN, temp. Civil War. 1135-1154. Cast AR Puddle Ingot. Dimensions of ingot: 65x58 mm; thickness; 12 mm. Weight: 134.68 grams. A cast puddle ingot with slightly convex and pitted face containing traces of the gray-green sediment matrix. The convex top of the pour shows large bubble-produced cavity, revealing shiny silver content. The additional whorling suggests that the metal was poured slowly while cooling. Traces of black slag from the smelting process present.. Pimprez 574 (this ingot). As made. An excellent example of medieval precious metal smelting.

Ex Spink 170 (6 October 2004), lot 487 and back cover; 2002 Pimprez (Oise) Hoard.

Made by pouring molten silver into a scooped-out hollow of clay or sand (Pimprez, p. 277), individual ingots of this type have been found in hoards in Belgium (Courcelles 1965) and Germany (Fulda 1897). Where such ingots appear in quantity, however, are the large twelfth-century and later bracteate hoards from Saxony. Although our ingot does not conform to the weight standard of any of the aforementioned ingots, its similarity to these examples suggests that our ingot may be of an origin in Lower Saxony. While it is likely that this ingot was part of the earlier German portion of the Pimprez Hoard, it is quite possible that it was part of an English royal treasury. William of Malmesbury (Historiae Novellae I.14), noted that the treasury of Stephen’s predecessor, Henry I, consisted of silver (and gold) vessels, as well as coins – though other form, like ingots, may have been included. Furthermore, royal castles in Normandy generally served as continental treasure repositories for the English kings (Marjorie Chibnall, “Orderic Vitalis on castles,” in R. Liddiard, ed., Anglo-Norman Castles [Woodbridge, 2003], p. 123). It would not be extraordinary for the King’s treasuries in his overseas possessions to include foreign bullion brought into his realm as feudal payments or gifts, and thus account for the presence of this ingot.