York & North Yorkshire

Anglo-Saxon coin find near York is 'jaw dropping'

BBC
Image caption The small coin was found at Fulford on the the outskirts of York

A rare coin found in York by a man who took up metal detecting a week before has been described as "jaw dropping".

Experts at Yorkshire Museum said the coin was 1,400 years old and is one of only 19 ever found.

The Anglo-Saxon gold shilling was one of the first coins minted in York and is believed to be worth between £5,000 and £7,000.

It was found at Fulford, near York, by Ian Greig who had only bought a metal detector a week previously.

Mr Greig said he was initially unaware of its importance.

Image caption The coin dates from the mid 7th century and was struck in York

"It was not until a friend of ours, who I had emailed, came back with some pictures of very similar coins that we realised what we had found and its historical significance."

Andy Woods, curator of money and medals at Yorkshire Museum, said the coin, which is smaller than a five pence piece, was a "one-in-a-million" find.

"When Ian first brought it in to me my jaw absolutely hit the floor. It is the first coin ever made in York."

He said: "It was made sometime around 620 to 650 AD and they are incredibly rare. This is only the 19th example of this type of coin ever found."

Mr Woods said the coin had a human figure holding two crosses on one side which might represent Paulinus, the first Bishop of York.

"We cannot say that for certain but it is the right time and the right place."

As the coin was found on its own it is not classed as treasure under the Treasure Act so ownership rests with the finder and the landowner, Fulford Parish Council.

Mr Greig said despite an offer from a private collector he would prefer it to be on public display and is in discussions with Yorkshire Museum about them acquiring the coin.

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