This press release from Noonan's describes a metal detectorist's find of a rare Portuguese gold coin.
It was 6am on the 5th of July, a bright summer's morning that 62-year-old Mick Edwards went out with his newly-acquired Deus II metal detector, his only companions were rabbits and a herd of deer in the pasture field.
Mick, who lives in Peterlee in County Durham, works as a Civil Servant and has been metal detecting for ten years. He found it has helped him overcome his illness by being more mobile. As he explained:
I was staying on the farm near Etchilhampton in Wiltshire with my wife after celebrating 35 years of marriage from the day before. So far I had only found some broken crotal bells, so I walked to the top of the field for a final effort before breakfast, taking just three more steps I received a clear signal which sounded like a large copper coin.
After digging five inches, then a further five inches and still nothing, he used his pin-pointer probe to locate the signal and saw the edge of a coin at the bottom of the hole. To his astonishment it was a huge gold coin 36 millimetres in diameter and weighing over 35 grams.
I was dumbstruck and just sat looking at the coin unable even to breathe. I could see the cross on the coin and thought it was probably Spanish but later found out it was Portuguese from the Kings name Manuel.
The massive coin is a 10 Cruzados piece from the reign of Manuel I (1495-1521) and struck at Lisbon with gold recovered by Vasco de Gama from his voyages to Africa and India. It is the first to ever be found in Britain. This was at Etchilhampton in Wiltshire, on land which belonged to the Ernle family from 1489 until 1928. The coin that is estimated at £20,000-30,000 will be sold by Mayfair auctioneers Noonans on Thursday, September 29, 2022 on the second day of a two-day sale of Coins and Historical Medals. Mick will be sharing the proceeds from the sale with the landowner and his wife is compiling a list of how she would like to spend the money!
As Nigel Mills, Consultant (Artefacts and Antiquities) at Noonans explains:
The coin features the crowned royal arms of Portugal on the obverse with the cross of the order of Christ on the reverse with the latin legend translated ‘In this sign shall we conquer,' with a test punch on the reverse. In England at this time the largest gold coin was a Sovereign which weighed 15.3 grams so this coin is more than double that in weight, so would have had a value greater than two pounds.
The coin sold Thursday for a hammer price of £16,000. It attracted bidders in the USA and Canada but was purchased by a buyer in Japan.
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