UK Metal Detector, 64, Finds Rare 900-Year-Old Coin, Cashes $7,700 at Auction

November 3, 2020 Updated: November 3, 2020

A UK metal-detector family discovered a rare 900-year-old silver coin during their treasure-hunting trip on a farm and cashed in approximately US$7,700.

John Denham, 64, along with his sons, Simon, 39, and Steven, 36, unearthed the coin, which dates back to 1139.

The metal-detecting family discovered the coin under almost 4 inches of soil in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, reported Daily Mail.

Denham said they knew it was “something special.”

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(L – R): Steven Denham, 36, their dad John, 64, and Simon, 39. (Caters News)

The rare penny, which was issued in the twelfth century, sold for US$7,700 (6,000 pounds) on Oct. 26 at London-based Hansons Auctioneers.

“The field where I found it had recently been ploughed and planted. Many ancient coins get damaged by farming machinery,” Denham told Daily Mail.

“We thought this penny might be something special. But once it had been identified and recorded, we were still surprised to learn how valuable it was,” the elderly metal detector said.

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The rare coin discovered by the Denham family is almost 900 years old. (Caters News)

According to the auction house, the coin was issued by Henry of Anjou between 1139 and 1148, the Daily Mail said. The 900-year-old penny was minted during “the Anarchy”—a period of civil war during which Henry and his mother, Empress Matilda, tried to gain control of South-Western England from King Stephen. In December 1154, after Stephen’s death, he was eventually crowned Henry II of England, the report said.

Adam Staples, an expert with Hansons’ Historica, told the outlet that the Denham family’s find is “the only complete example recorded where both the mint town and name of the moneyer can be read.”

“The reverse of the penny tells us that it was made by Robertus at the Wallingford mint, a moneyer who was not previously known to have minted coins there,” Staples said.

“This makes it excessively rare,” Staples added.

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John Denham, 64, metal detectorist. (Caters News)

Simon, who is also a landscaper, told Caters News that they had been metal detecting for most of their lives.

Simon said as metal detectors, they had made “an array of lovely finds but never made four figures before.”

He said the money will be shared with the farm owner.

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