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The E-Sylum: Volume 25, Number 4, January 23, 2022, Article 32

FINDING THE HENRY III GOLD PENNY

Howard Berlin passed along this article about the finder of that Henry III gold penny. Thanks. -Editor

  Gold Penny of Henry III obverse Gold Penny of Henry III reverse

An amateur metal detectorist who discovered what is thought to be one of England's first gold coins could soon see a payday of nearly half a million dollars.

The "Henry III gold penny," which was unearthed on farmland in Devon, in the country's southwest, was minted in about 1257 and depicts the former English king sitting on an ornate throne, holding an orb and scepter. It is one of only eight such coins known to exist, many of which are in museums.

The finder, who wishes to remain anonymous, didn't realize how valuable the coin was until he posted a photograph of the penny on Facebook. That's where Gregory Edmund, a numismatist with auctioneer Spink & Son, spotted it. "This was one of his first prospecting days in many, many years, so he obviously couldn't quite believe what he discovered," Edmund told CNN, referring to the detectorist.

Under the United Kingdom's Treasure Act of 1996, the hobbyist who found the coin is able to keep and sell it, as it's not considered to be part of a wider discovery.

The discoverer said that the coin could have quite easily never been found, and that its value came second to the information it had offered about England's first gold coinage. "How it has survived three-quarters of a millennium relatively unscathed is truly miraculous," he said in a statement. "Like every hobbyist who continues to dream, my wish that day came true, and I just happened to be the very fortunate one."

King Henry III ruled England from 1216 until his death in 1272 -- one of the longest reigns in the country's history.

In 1257, he used treasure he had personally accumulated to mint his gold coinage, according to David Carpenter, professor of medieval history at King's College London, who wrote the foreword to Spink & Son's auction catalog. Henry's coinage was the first to be cast in gold since the Norman Conquest, with the economy relying on silver coins since then.

Edmund added that the discovery of the coin, and what it offers to existing knowledge about Henry's going coinage was hugely significant: "It is very, very rare for a chance discovery to add so much to a preexisting known corpus or database of coins."

To read the complete article, see:
An amateur metal detectorist found one of England's earliest gold coins in a field. It'll sell for a pretty penny (https://www.cnn.com/style/article/henry-iii-gold-penny-first-coin-intl-scli/index.html)

To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
A NEW GOLD PENNY OF HENRY III (https://www.coinbooks.org/v25/esylum_v25n03a24.html)



Wayne Homren, Editor

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor at this address: whomren@gmail.com

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