It is now being reported that over the weekend of 7th January there had been a break-in at the St Albans Museum in Hatfield Road. The thieves got away with finds from excavations in St Albans Abbey and the 1969 Abbey Orchard excavations by the St Albans and Hertfordshire Architectural and Archaeological Society prior to the construction of Abbey Primary School.
The finds taken were a sixth or seventh century silver hand pin, and, from the same case a group of 30 Anglo-Saxon coins "with an insurance value of £12000". They were part of the Abbey Orchard hoard which had been buried towards the end of the ninth century and contained 29 pence and one half-pence coins. The latter is a coin of Alfred the Great of the Londonia monogram reverse type. The council says the pence coins are all of the Lunette type (so-called because the moneyer's name appears on and between the two half moon shaped ornaments on the reverse). Another source however gives the information that there had been "46 coins in the collection and four of those were stolen in 1977".
"The council has closed the upstairs gallery athttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gif the museum while police investigate the thefts. The council has also commissioned a security review of its museums".
Manisha Mistry, 'Saxon coins and silver pin worth £12,000 taken', St Albans Review, Tuesday 24th January 2012.
The coins are illustrated in Syllogue of Coins of the British Isles, vol 42 (South-Eastern Museums) p. 13 under numbers 650-655, 657, 659, 661, 663, 665-672, 674-678, 733, 753 and 758. The previously stolen four coins are 657, 675, 738 and 750. The illustrations are reproduced in the Abbey Orchard hoard photos folder on the Yahoo hammered Coins collectors' discussion list. Nice to see some coin collectors taking a responsible line over stolen artefacts.