800-Year-Old Gold Coin Found on British Farm Sells for $720,000

At one point or another, most of us have seen someone with a metal detector on a beach, presumably looking for hidden loot. Well, we might scoff at those odd folks, but sometimes, that dedication pays off. And you find a $500,000 coin that’s been there for hundreds of years. Thanks to CNN (via Design Taxi), we’ve learned about such a case. An amateur metal detector enthusiast happened upon what many believe is one of England’s first gold coins. And they found it on unearthed farmland in Devon, in the country’s southwest region.

The Henry III gold penny, minted in or about the year 1257, shows the English king sitting on a gilded throne. And holding an orb and scepter of course. Henry III ruled England from 1216 until his death in 1272. Which is still one of the longest reigns in British history. Apparently, only eights coins like this one exist. At least that we know of. And most of the rest currently reside in a museum.

A rare gold coin discovered in England from 1257, worth some $500,000.
Spink & Son

The person who discovered the coin, who wished to remain anonymous, didn’t realize exactly what it was (or just how old) until they posted a picture of their unique find on Facebook. From there, someone at auction house Spink & Son, just happened to see the post in question. He let the metal detector enthusiast know they had truly discovered hidden treasure. It’s worth an estimated  £400,000, or $546,000. And sold for a bit more. On January 23, the penny went to auction, selling for £540,000—or about $727,796.

Under the United Kingdom’s Treasure Act of 1996, the person who found the coin can legally keep and sell it, because it’s not considered as being part of wider discovery. In short, they’re about to make a nice chunk of change off of this one find. Just remember that next time you’re jogging early in the morning and see an old man with a metal detector. It’s one hobby that potentially pays off.

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