A metal detector enthusiast in England has had the find of a lifetime.
Michael Leigh-Mallory was lucky enough to find a medieval gold coin dating back to 1257 during the reign of Henry the Third, one of only 8 known examples with most of the others in museums.
The gold penny sold for a staggering £648,000 including auction buyers fees.
Mr Leigh-Mallory only resumed his metal detecting after his children persuaded him, and found this incredible gold coin on one of his first detecting trip in 10 years.
Found on farmland in Hemyock, Devon, it has been described as the most important gold coin found in the UK in the last 20 years.
measuring just 20mm (under 1 inch) in diameter, the coin is the most valuable single coin ever found in British history.
The price the coin reached (prior to fees) was £540,000, it was sold to a private buyer who intends to loan the coin for public display.
One side of the coin depicts the portrait of the bearded and crowned Henry III on his thrown on the Great Pavement in Westminster Abbey, the other side a long cross with roses and pellets.
Amazingly while only 8 of the coins exist today, originally 52,000 were minted.
The coins specifications were twice the weight of a silver penny, and the value was 20 pence (a lot of money in medieval times).
However, as with many coins made from precious metals the value of the gold soon surpassed the face value of the coin, and so people would melt them down or “clip” them (cut pieces off the edges) since this was worth more than the 20 pence the coin could legally be traded for.
It is quite surprising that many great metal detecting finds are often made by people on their first, or within their first few detecting trips, and as in this case the first few forays for a very long time.
The usual way that detectorists get permission to detect on a farmers land is that they have an agreement, verbal or written, that anything that is found will be split 50:50 between the land owner and the metal detectorist.
If this is the case in this situation then the land owner and Mr Leigh-Mallory will have pocketed a cool £270,000 each.
Not a bad return for a Sunday wandering around a field!
[All image credits: Credits Spink & SonBNPS]