Tony Abramson
Research Associate



I read economics at the University of Lancaster, 1967-70, where I was involved with student administration throughout. I was articled to Cooper Brothers (now PWC) and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1973, then entered commerce where I designed and implemented major computerization projects. I have spent the last thirty years launching new technology enterprises, mainly in nanotechnology, with my business partner who is a professor of physics.  The main company was awarded the Queen’s Award for Technological Achievement in 1995. We have recently disposed of our final commercial enterprise.

My collection of early Anglo-Saxon coins, now housed at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, has facilitated several publications. Sceattas: An Illustrated Guide was runner up for the North Book Prize. Sceatta List is the standard reference for classification of early pennies. I compiled the Early Anglo-Saxon section of Spink’s Standard Catalogue of British Coins, based on this collection. A British Academy Sylloge of the collection and a second edition of Sceatta List are imminent. I initiated the biennial symposia in Early Medieval Coinage in 2006 and am editor of the occasional journal based on these proceedings.



Full publications list


2006, 'Sceattas: An Illustrated Guide, Anglo-Saxon Coins and Icons', (Heritage, King's Lynn).

2012: 'Anglo-Saxon Counterfeits, 600-1066’, (Charlesworth).

2012: 'Sceatta List & Stycas Simplified', (Charlesworth).


Forthcoming 2017

‘Sylloge of Coins of the British Isles, 69: The Abramson Collection: coins of Early Anglo-Saxon England and the North Sea area' (British Academy/Spink)

‘Sceatta List, second edition’ (Spink)


As Editor

1997, 'The Yorkshire Numismatist, vol. 3', (Yorkshire Numismatic Society, Leeds)

2008, 'Studies in Early Medieval Coinage, vol. 1', Proceedings of the International Sceatta Symposium and additional material, The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, April 2006 (Boydell and Brewer, Suffolk, ISBN 978-1-84383-371-0). Abbreviated to 'SiEMC1'.

2011, 'Studies in Early Medieval Coinage, vol. 2', Proceedings of the Early Medieval Coinage Symposium and additional material, Leeds International Medieval Congress, 8th July 2008 (Boydell and Brewer, Suffolk). Abbreviated to 'SiEMC2'.

2012, The Yorkshire Numismatist, volume 4, (Yorkshire Numismatic Society, Leeds)



1997, 'The Yorkshire Coiners, The Yorkshire Numismatist, vol. 3, pp. 85-96.

1999, 'White's Black Museum', YNS Coin Fair Brochure.

2002, 'A second Wolf Head/Running Fledgling sceat', SNC 110, p. 335.

2008, 'Some New Types', SiEMC1, pp. 31-44.

2008, 'The Beowulf Collection', SiEMC1, pp. 125-154.

2008, 'The Patrick Finn Sceatta Index and Analysis: A Collector's Perspective', SiEMC1, pp. 155-196.

2011, 'The Wim de Wit collection of sceattas in the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge', SiEMC2, p47-60.

2011, 'BNJ Coin Register Sceatta Index', SiEMC2, 217-61.

2012, 'The Roman influence on early Anglo-Saxon Coinage', Yorkshire Numismatist, vol. 4, p. 73-104.

2012, 'Sceats: how do we assess their success?', Yorkshire Numismatist, vol. 4, 105-34.

2012, Preface 'The Lorin Kay Collection of Northumbrian Stycas', Yorkshire Numismatist, vol. 4, 305-10.


Forthcoming 2018, ‘Two New Early Anglo-Saxon Gold Shillings’, British Numismatic Journal 88, 2018


Popular magazine articles

Coins & Antiquities:

  July 1999, with Mike Bonser, 'Sceatta Series P, The Saltire Standard, A Preliminary Survey.

  September 1999, 'The Khazars'.


Stamp & Coin Mart:

  May 2008, 'Searching for Sceattas'.

  October 2008, 'Art in the Round'.


The Searcher, The World of Sceats:

  June 2005, 'The World of Sceats, Part 1'.

  July 2005, 'The World of Sceats, Part 2'.

  August 2005, 'Monsters'.

  September 2005, 'Serpents'.

  October 2005, 'Faces'.

  November 2005, 'Figures - Part 1'.

  December 2005, 'Figures - Part 2'.

  January 2006, 'Twin Figures’

  February 2006, 'Quilled Figures, Part 1 - The Early Types'.

  March 2006, 'Quilled Figures, Part 2 - The Main Types'.

  April 2006, 'Quilled Figures, Part 3 - The Trackless Wastes'.

  May 2006, 'The Diademed Bust - Part 1'.

  June 2006, The Diademed Bust - Part 2'.

  July 2006, 'Radiate Busts'.

  August 2006, 'Varieties, Ancient Imitations, and Forgeries, Modern Replicas and Fakes'.

  May 2013, 'Justice Online: The Case of Mr. Goodwill Jester’.


Celator, Nov 2011, 'The neglected silver coinage of early Anglo-Saxon England’.


Coin News:

 Dec 2011, 'Justice Online'.

 March 2012, ‘Sceats on a Budget’.


Book Reviews

Rory Naismith, "Money and Power in Anglo-Saxon England" in Journal of British Studies, 2013

Elizabeth Cottam & Chris Rudd, ‘Britain's First Coins’ in Stamp & Coin Mart, March 2014

Gannon, A., 2013, ‘British Museum, Anglo Saxon Coins I, SCBI 63’ in British Numismatic Journal 85, 2015, p. 321-2.


Online Resource

Website: Anglo-Saxon Coinage:



My 2016 PhD in the Department of Archaeology, University of York, was based on my digitization of Pirie’s major corpus in her Coins of the Kingdom of Northumbria, which had remained impenetrable since its creation in the 1980s due to her intransigence in recognising classification priorities. I combined this with extracts from the department’s VASLE database to assess the co-occurrence of coins and portable artefacts at the parish level in the early Anglo-Saxon period as a proxy for the advance of monetization. A clear, and perhaps unexpected, pattern is evident.

An incidental finding of my doctoral research was an interpretation of one of the two inscriptions on the group of rare gold shillings attributed to York. The first published attempt at an interpretation dates to 1773. I show the variety to have been issued by Paulinus, first Bishop of York, an historically documented figure. Dating this coin to c.627-33, makes it a candidate for the earliest English coin and has led to a re-assessment of the initiation, chronology and significance of early Anglo-Saxon gold coinage, especially that of York.


External activities


President, Yorkshire Numismatic Society, 2011-present