Insight & Analysis

Rare gold coin find worth over half a million pounds!

Published: Jan 2022

A gold coin which was found on a farm in Devon, United Kingdom has raised £540,000 at auction.

A load of gold coins - most curious

The rare King Henry III coin, which measures just under one inch in diameter, recently sold at auction for £540,000. It was minted in approximately 1257 by William of Gloucester with gold imported from North Africa.

The coin was found by a gold detectorist on his first work outing in ten years in Hemyock, Devon, United Kingdom last September.

The finder was completely unaware of how rare the coin was until he posted a picture on Facebook and it was spotted by a specialist. Because the coin is not part of a larger discovery, in theory, the finder is entitled to keep it.

Numismatists say the coin features the first portrait of a king upon the English throne since the time of William the Conqueror, who ruled from 1066 to 1087 and there are only eight other coins known to be in existence, most of which are in museums.

Michael-Leigh Mallory said: “The coin was found in an unappealing field and could quite easily never have been recovered. I feel I have to apologise to all those other detectorists who search and dream.”

The coin was auctioned by the Spink & Son auction house in London and the auctioneers said the UK-based buyer wants the coin to be shown at a museum.

Gregory Edmund, an auctioneer and senior numismatist with the auction house, said: “Not only was the advent of a brand new gold coinage seismic in the domestic medieval landscape, but it also shows the direct influence on daily life of the international trade routes from the gold and spice rich Middle East and North Africa.”

He added that the coin, which shows Henry as Edward the Confessor, demonstrates a “ground-breaking shift from the depictions of a king restrained by the stipulations of Magna Carta to his own personification as England’s original patron saint”.

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