The Alfred Jewel is a masterpiece of goldsmith work, with an inscription in old English ‘Alfred ordered me to be made’, connecting the jewel with King Alfred the Great (871-899). Making it amongst the most significant of royal relics. The original can be found at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.
Alfred ruled the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex and is famous for posing the Vikings in Southern England. As a learned man, he would have handled many manuscripts and texts, which would have been accompanied by aestels, or pointers used to follow the text. It is thought that the Alfred Jewel may be one of these aestels.
The original was ploughed up in a field in North Petherton, Somerset, in 1693. Just a few miles from Athelney Abbey, from where Alfred launched his attack of the Vikings. A replica of this work of art, measuring approximately 2.5cm, will appear at auction in Plymouth in October.
Dating from the late 19th or early 20th century, and made in a yellow metal, the jewel is a very good copy of the original, created with a portrait of Alfred in enamel and a dragon-like head with its mouth open. This fascinating collectable could sell for £400 – £600.