By Nick Huxsted – Arrowfile …….
One of the largest ever UK discoveries of Anglo Saxon coins has been unearthed by a metal detector enthusiast in a field in Buckinghamshire. Paul Coleman is a member of the Weekend Wanderers Detecting Club and was out with his club and son when he made the discovery on the 21st Dec 2014.
The coins were found buried beneath two feet of dirt in a farmers field in Aylesbury. Uncovered in a lead box the coins are in a remarkable condition. A local archeologist suggested that it looks as if only two people has ever touched them, the person who made them and the person who buried the. They have no scratches and have been remarkably well preserved.
Initial estimates are that each coin could fetch around £250, giving the total value of the collection at around £1.3m.
Local experts have suggested that the coins may have been buried after the Battle of Hastings to protect them from Norman Invaders. The excellent condition of the coins could also be due to their close proximity to the historic Buckingham Mint, only a days walk away from the find.
Currently being examined by the British Museum who may eventually purchase the coin, any deal in accordance with British law will split the proceeds 50-50 between the finder and the landowner.
So far only half of the coins have been cleaned but the initial signs are that many of the coins contain the head of King Ethelred the Unready (978-1016).
Given the nickname ‘Un-raed’ or ‘Unready’ (meaning ‘no counsel’, or that he was unwise), Ethelred failed to win or retain the allegiance of many of his subjects.
In 1013, Ethelred fled to Normandy when the powerful Viking Sweyn of Denmark dispossessed him. Ethelred returned to rule after Sweyn’s death in 1014, but died in 1016.
The coins reflect a remarkable period of English history when the Vikings were invading the country. A time that pioneered the mass production of the solid silver currency.
Silver had replaced Roman gold and early Anglo Saxon copper in the 8th century, and by the time Ethelred took the throne England had more than 70 mints including in London, Winchester, Lincoln, York and of course Buckingham, near the recent discovery.
The early ‘pennies’ weighed around one and a half grams each and were struck with a die at royal mints by skilled workmen who could stamp more than 2,000 blanks a day.
This post was written by Arrowfile. A collectable storage specialist helping coin collectors look after and protect their valuable collections.